IRRT (International Relations Round Table)

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The mission of the International Relations Round Table is to promote interest in library issues and librarianship worldwide; to help coordinate international activities within ALA, serving as a liaison between the International Relations Committee and those members of the Association interested in international relations; to develop programs and activities which further the international objectives of ALA; and to provide hospitality and information to visitors from abroad.



Learn more about IRRT on the ALA website.

  • 1.  IFLA

    Posted Nov 24, 2022 12:34 PM
    You may find this article about IFLA of interest:

    https://biblioteksbladet.cdn.triggerfish.cloud/uploads/2022/11/bbl-4-2022-engelsk-ed_lag_uppslag.pdf



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    James Neal
    Univ Librarian Emeritus
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  • 2.  RE: IFLA

    Posted Nov 24, 2022 09:23 PM
    Why don't you tell us about it?

    The idea that people at the ALA exist without repercussions is laughable when I am it but we cannot go about propagating this façade and expect to solve problems.

    Quoted:

    One of IFLA's core values is based on Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions without
    repercussions, and seek, receive and disseminate information and ideas with the help of all means of expression and regardless of
    boundaries




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    Alec McFarlane
    President
    New Image Associates - Construction Consultants
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  • 3.  RE: IFLA

    Posted Nov 24, 2022 11:30 PM
    The Challenge

    As you will find in my recent posts on IFRT, this is not some isolated incident. We are truly confused about terms and meanings and more... and it should not be. This is a challenge we did not expect to have but yet here we are: The challenge of terms and meanings starts with our favorite moniker aka "intellectual freedom". My various papers and posts in ALA have challenged the notion of freedom and the idea of intellectualism; what is intellectual and what is free?

    Intellectual freedom is implied as a individual thing where you are right to think and believe whatever you want, and this is true. What is left unsaid is the fact that this individual belief is the sole responsibility of said person making such profession. In other words, freedom of belief is really a responsibility; you are responsible for what you believe.

    Let's consider "religious freedom", what does this mean? Does this mean a religion is free to believe whatever it wants? Yes. Does this mean that the same freedom is something that qualifies denial or exclusion of another? No. So, then, let us extrapolate... if the ideological concepts of race and color are religious beliefs, and if this religion is insistent upon your participation and conformity, is this representative of intellectual freedom?

    I suggest not.



    Quoted from your given link, in full, page 4:
    Empty words about freedom of speech.

    Many expect more from a global library organisation.
    In April, IFLA's Governing Board announced that Secretary General Gerald Leitner had been relieved from his duties. This was at a time when an email from a Board member

    was circulating, testifying to a toxic atmosphere at the Federation's headquarters in The Hague, and that independent investigations into the staff's situation had been carried out. One member of the Board demanded the resignation of the Chair. What was really going on?

    For any journalist, it would have been a mistake not to ask questions. It has taken a great deal of effort to get any answers at all. One of IFLA's core values is based on Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions without repercussions, and seek, receive and disseminate information and ideas with the help of all means of expression and regardless of boundaries.

    IT SHOULD BE easy to have a dialogue with an organisation that has these words ingrained in its identity. But since Biblioteksbladet published the first article on the
    turbulence within IFLA, the support for Article 19 has in practice turned out to be nothing but empty words.

    They are just superficial sentences to which leading IFLA representatives seem to relate with alarming flexibility. The representatives have refrained from answering questions. Instead of dispelling ambiguities, attempts have been made to have the Swedish Library Association's Secretary General Karin Linder intervene and stop articles from being published in Biblioteksbladet, which the Association owns.

    "If I don't do it, the sender is threatening to hire a lawyer," she wrote in her opinion piece in this issue. Many people expect more from the world's leading library organisation.

    IF THE PRINCIPLE of freedom of opinion and expression were taken seriously, current and former IFLA employees would not fear reprisals and not shy away from recounting what they have experienced at work. The owner of an editorially independent newspaper would not face threats of legal action.

    Also, the leadership and Board of the Federation would answer justified questions. This issue of the Biblioteksbladet is devoted to the situation within IFLA. The image of a dysfunctional organisation, in which the removal of a leading person will hardly be enough, comes to the fore. It will probably take significantly more if IFLA is to recover.
    Thord Eriksson | Publisher, editor-in-chief


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    Alec McFarlane
    President
    New Image Associates - Construction Consultants
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  • 4.  RE: IFLA

    Posted Nov 25, 2022 03:25 AM

    Indeed it was extremely interesting.  Thanks for pointing us to these articles, Jim.



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    John DeSantis
    Interim Head of Metadata Services
    Dartmouth College
    Hanover, NH
    he/him/his
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