Libraries and Human Rights
As men have been evolving, he has felt the desire and necessity to communicate with others. In order to communicate, he has used both oral and written language as a fundamental tool for sharing knowledge and learning. He has also used different means to relate with others from cave painting, rock and clay boards, papyrus and scrolls to electronic means.
Human beings need to have information in order to build their own knowledge, store it and use it again. Which is why this information needs to be organized, preserved, spread and be available when needed. Otherwise, it would serve to have no purpose at all.
The information and knowledge generated by mankind are a fundamental right for society, since free people have the right to express itself as well as to stay informed. Information is key to an individual and collective survival. It is also considered of vital importance for mankind to adapt to its natural environment.
Human rights are considered a mean for the achievement of the individuals self-fulfillment and the satisfaction of his basic needs as well as the realization of his possibilities. The necessities of an individual has in terms of information, motivating his desire of fulfillment which is why he himself makes his own research in order to find a solution to his demands and to satisfy them the best way possible.
Each individual expresses and satisfies his informational needs in different ways. Thus libraries have the commitment to deeply know the particular demands its community of users requires in order to afford the most adequate information for it, as well as to solve these demands the best way possible. A citizen that has no access to education, to information and to culture will not accordingly exercise his citizenship.
By law, access to information is a right that every individual has with no exclusion of any kind; it is a fundamental legal guarantee that we the people have in order to have a free access to information. This right is recognized in the international regulations of human rights.
Therefore, the 20th International Colloquium of Librarians entitled Libraries and Human Rights, which will be held on December the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of 2013, in the framework of the XXVII International Book Fair of Guadalajara (FIL), has the purpose to point out the importance of the library in the promotion and defense of the fundamental rights of the citizens -usually considered an aspect of the right to free expression- through the access to information, knowledge and culture, thus contributing to the achievement of an egalitarian, participating, informed and democratic society.
Sergio López Ruelas