(fwd) 1st. Social Forum of Information, Documentation, and Libraries
Zapopan Martin Muela-Meza
zapopanmuela at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 4 11:47:57 CET 2004
>From Dana Lubow, Progressive Librarian Guild list.
DECLARATION FROM BUENOS AIRES
On information, documentation and libraries
The attendees at the First Social Forum on Information, Documentation
and Libraries: alternative action programs from Latin America for the
information society, held in Buenos Aires from August 26-28, 2004,
was called by the Social Studies Group on Library Science and
Documentation (Argentina) and the Study Circle on Political and
Social Librarianship (Mexico).
We recognize that:
Information, knowledge, documentation, archives,
and libraries are communal cultural goods and
resources. They are based upon and promoted by
democratic values, such as: freedom, equality,
and social justice, as well as tolerance,
respect, equity, solidarity, communities,
society, and the dignity of individuals.
Every documentation center contributes to
democratic practice in the social and political
spheres. Conscious of this dimension, the
foundation and organization of these cultural
goods and resources must be constructed under the
principal of knowledge and information access
that is free, open, and egalitarian for everybody.
Social and political elements also are present
that librarians, documentalists, and archivists
must take into account in order to contribute to
the formation of cultural and civic identities
sustained by civil and socially responsible values.
We consider that:
Librarians, documentalists, and archivists must
participate in the social and political processes
related to their cultural tasks, work
environment, and professional practice.
These cultural workers are facilitators of social
change, opinion makers, promoters of the
democratization of information and knowledge,
educational coordinators, and actors engaged with
the social and political processes. Therefore,
because the work that they carry out is of
fundamental importance to society and the state,
they must be granted full social recognition, as
well as an equitable and just salary regulated by
legislation in each country.
Professional solidarity and cooperation, like
networking, are valuable tools that encourage the
exchange of successful experiences and broaden
the objectives and challenges in our daily work.
Libraries, archives, and documentation centers
must be places that contribute to the development
of human rights, the preservation of memory, and
the rediscovery of the oral and written
traditions that assure the self-determination and
sovereignty of all peoples.
Librarian and information services, as well as
unrestricted collection development, should be
planned, constructed, and offered by librarians,
documentalists, and archivists with the full
collaboration of individuals, communities, and
organizations, particularly the least socially
and politically favored.
Both the theory and practice of library science,
documentation, and archival studies are
determined by the needs that these fields
generate in the social sphere. Therefore, the
creation and practice of these disciplines and
professions must promote public opinion, critical
judgment, free decision making, and actively
contribute to the struggle against illiteracy in
all its forms with the goal of improving life and
the collective or personal environment of everyone.
Taking into account their neutral or non-neutral
practice, individual thought, labor action, and
citizen participation, librarians, documentalists
and archivists must construct public spaces in
their communities for the exchange of
information, thereby providing an incentive for
the discussion of political, social, ideological,
and cultural themes -- themes inherent in
governmental and societal problems.
Information, knowledge, documentation, and
libraries are a public good that must not be
governed or controlled by market dynamics, but
rather orchestrated by public developmental
policies, well being, and the defense of
society?s cultural heritage, in the interest of
insuring the public domain, diversity, plurality,
and the equality of all sectors of the population.
Grounded in the global professional field of
information, documentation centers, libraries,
and archives, the construction of discourse, out
of the Latin American and Caribbean reality,
implies the use of national languages as a means
of communication. Additionally, an awareness of
indigenous languages as a social and political
reality in numerous Latin American countries and
the Caribbean requires their recognition as
generators of oral and written discourse
important to the preservation of these languages.
Peace is a necessary guarantor of, and condition
for, the preservation and growth of information
and knowledge repositories. In accord with this
idea, we firmly condemn wars and all forms of
violence that devastate the human species and
their cultural heritage. The ongoing promotion of
peace and the processes required must become a
social commitment of librarians, documentalists,
and archivists in their places of work and in the
cultural, social, and political spheres that
concern them as citizens.
In order to offer services to minority and
socially vulnerable groups, it is necessary to
eliminate all forms of discrimination in
information, documents, and library systems: by
sex, race, ethnicity, ideology, economic status,
social class, disabilities, migration, sexual
orientation, religion, and language.
The serious ecological deterioration of our
planet affects life in general and, as a
consequence, the well being and quality of life
of the human species. We consider it essential
that library and information professionals
connect environmental problems to the
development, organization, and diffusion of
information concerning the environment.
We declare that the fair and just distribution of
public documents, goods, and resources is
essential to the achievement of freedom of access
We invite everyone to contribute to the realization of the statements
and propositions in this declaration.
From Latin America and the Caribbean to the information society.
Buenos Aires, August 28, 2004
Translated by Dana Lubow (L.A. Valley College Library) M.L.S.
with help from Larry Oberg, M.L.S.
November 24, 2004
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