– UNESCO and Libraries portal
"Libraries of all types are the starting point from which citizens can have access to information on an equal basis and in a trusted and neutral environment. Library and information services are the “people’s universities”. (1) Through their vast collections, they enable access for all members of the community to global knowledge resources, ideas and opinions thus fostering a creative and innovative society.
A strong library infrastructure is integral to a nation’s development as evidenced by the countries which have ranked number one in the UN Human Development Index over the last ten years, ie Norway and Canada.(2)
In developed countries, libraries accompany citizens through all stages of life, for example, “Bookstart for Babies” programmes in the local public library; (3) “Help with Homework” clubs in the school library; as a student, logging into the university library from home for course-work material; as a professional, accessing the latest market research reports from the in-house company library on your desktop. Libraries collect, organise and preserve our global cultural and scientific heritage: the memory of humanity. The richness of the content is reflected in the diversity of the media: books, newspapers, journals, audiovisual material, maps, pictures, and music. The raison d’être of libraries is to collect and preserve our knowledge for the purposes of making it available to current and future generations."
Excerpts from: Frederick N, Jeremy M. Access to Knowledge: A Guide for Everyone. Kuala Lumpur: Consumers International Regional Office for Asia Pacific and the Middle East; 2010. Available from http://a2knetwork.org/sites/default/files/handbook/a2k-english.pdf
(1) This section is excerpted from Hackett, Teresa, Libraries: The
People’s Universities. Asia Pacific Consumer, 43 & 44 2006, Nr. 1
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Development_Index 75