Gerald Leitner, IFLA Secretary general, about the case of the municipal public library of Todi:
Thank you for your letter of 20 June concerning the situation in the public library in Todi. On the basis of the facts shared, this appears to be a clear case of interference in the collections policy of a library.
You cite, in your letter, the UNESCO-IFLA Public Library Manifesto. You will also be aware of IFLA’s own statement on Intellectual Freedom, which turns 20 next year. This underlines that ‘Libraries shall ensure that the selection and availability of library materials and services is governed by professional considerations and not by political, moral and religious views’.
In other words, libraries have a responsibility to build collections that reflect the needs and interests of their users as far as possible. They do this in order to ensure that their communities can access the information that will open up new worlds, and answer key questions. And in doing do, they should be given as much room as possible to use their professional judgement.
As such, IFLA has a clear stance against the decisions made in the case at hand. It highlights which restrict or overturn the professional judgement of librarians on supposedly moral grounds. I encourage you to draw on the IFLA Statement in order to stress the unity of the global library field behind you.
Similarly, while recognising the prerogative of local governments, where they have it, to change staff in libraries, it is disappointing to see this done in a way that could be seen as harmful to the continuity of high quality library services.
Thanking you once again for drawing this issue to our attention.
AIB Press Office: stampa[at]aib.it