The Russian IFAP Committee highlights the complexity of reading in the digital age
The Interregional Centre for Library Cooperation, the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme and the National Library of Kyrgyzstan, with the support of the Intergovernmental Foundation for Humanitarian Cooperation of Commonwealth of Independent States and the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism of Kyrgyzstan, co-organized a regional conference on 16 and 17 May 2019 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on Books and Reading in the Digital Age.
More than 150 participants from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan attended the meeting representing specialists in human and natural sciences, officials of government organizations and leaders and regional authorities. Participants highlighted the scale, complexity and multi-level nature of the reading and actively participated in the analysis of results, problems and prospects related to books and reading in the digital age. In spite of the growth of digital materials, books still play an irreplaceable role in solving important social problems in a changing world. Educational institutions, libraries, publishers, professional organizations and the media play an important role in support of books and reading.
Conference participants also highlighted importance of accessibility of information and knowledge through books. Information sources need to be made accessible and cultural and educational policies in support of books and reading to ensure adequate circulation of information. Information accessibility is one of the six priority areas of IFAP and encompasses the many issues surrounding availability, accessibility and affordability of information, such as multilingualism, metadata, interoperability, open source software, open content, Creative Commons licenses as well as addressing the special needs of people with disabilities.
The conference took place within the framework of the Year of the Book in the Commonwealth of Independent States, declared in October 2017 during the Commonwealth of Independent States Council Meeting. At the closing of regional the conference, Mr Evgeny Kuzmin, Vice-President of the Intergovernmental IFAP Council, President of the Russian IFAP Committee and President of the Interregional Centre for Library Cooperation, and Ms Jyldyz Bakashova, Director of the Kyrgyz National Library, concluded that the reading culture in Commonwealth of Independent States is important in assuring universal access to information.
The Information for All Programme (IFAP) was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international cooperation in the area of access to information and knowledge for the participation of all in the knowledge societies. IFAP is a unique UNESCO intergovernmental programme that focuses on ensuring that all people have access to information they can use to improve their lives. The IFAP Bureau consists of eight Member States nominated by the governing Council. It meets twice a year to appraise, select and approve projects as well as to hold thematic debates on issues of importance for the Programme.