IGF 2023 Networking Session #158 An infrastructure for empowered internet citizens

Tuesday, 10th October, 2023 (07:30 UTC) - Tuesday, 10th October, 2023 (08:30 UTC)
WS 9 – Room C-2

Digital Divides & Inclusion
Skills Building for Basic and Advanced Technologies (Meaningful Access)

Digital Divides & Inclusion

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
Stephen Wyber, IFLA, Civil Society, WEOG Winston Roberts, National Library of New Zealand, Government, Maria De Brasdefer, Civil Society


Erick Huerta, Rhizomatica, Association for Progressive Communications
Woro Salikin, National Library of Indonesia, Government, Asia-Pacific
Yasuyo Inoue, Dokkyo University (Japan), Academia, Asia-Pacific 
Trish Hepworth, Australian Library and Information Association

Onsite Moderator

Maria De Brasdefer, IFLA

Online Moderator

Stephen Wyber, IFLA


Stephen Wyber, IFLA, Civil Society, WEOG



Targets: SDG9c ,17.9: the session focuses on ways to extend connectivity inclusively (i.e. to all, complementing market models) and sustainably (by ensuring that people are skilled and confident users, and that we can address issues that risk undermining trust) SDG16.10: the session draws in particular on the right of access to information set out in goal 16.10, looking to take abroad appraoch) in line with WSIS Action Line C.3 - i.e. access for what SDG17.7: the session looks strongly at the potential for partnerships, and how one type of partner - libraries - which bring many unique characteristics to wider digital inclusion efforts, can work effectively with other players in order to reach further


The session will work as a gathering, with conversation triggered by short presentations at the beginning highlighting a particular example of how libraries have been mobilised in wider digital strategies and plans in order to achieve goals. As highlighted below, we would engage the audience in varying ways, and make clear our interest in drawing on their insights.

Duration (minutes)

For the internet to realise its promise as an enabler of inclusive sustainable development, it needs to be people-centred and rights-centred. It should open up possibilities for everyone to fulfil their potential, with this representing the key metric of success, and not just more tech-focused proxies. And in line with the emphasis of the UN 2030 Agenda, no-one should be left behind. This session therefore looks at what an effective strategy for mobilising the global local network that is the world’s over 2.5 million libraries in order to promote both citizenship through digital means, and digital citizenship in particular. It will be based on a series of short case studies from the perspectives of libraries, international organisations and broader civil society, which will look to explore what needs to be done to help people uphold their rights and make the most of the internet. These will serve as a way to trigger discussion between panellists and the floor, looking at specific steps that internet governance stakeholders can take to mobilise libraries in this direction. Specific issues touched on will include the fulfilment of core human rights, such as to privacy (including cybersecurity), education, citizen participation and science (notably in the face of the rise of AI), all of which are implicitly or explicitly part of ongoing discussions around both the Global Digital Compact and WSIS+20 process. The recommendations will be fed into broader engagement with both of these processes, as well as informing the upcoming revision of IFLA’s Internet Manifesto to mark the 10th anniversary of its last update.

We will look to concentrate presentations to the first 20min of the session, in order to maximise time for exchange, and will likely need to have at least one speaker participating remotely. We will use mentimeter in order to ask questions at the beginning and throughout, combining both closed questions (on a scale of 1-10, how central do you think that different rights are in digital policy-making?) and open ones (what words best describe the role of libraries in supporting the delivery of internet governance roles?)

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Important to think about the systematization of local knowledge and how libraries can contribute to this process

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Assessing possibilities of collaboration with local libraries

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

Departing from the experience shared by the speakers, some of the steps that can be taken into account to accelerate national digital transformation include the following: taking immediate action to expand internet access and develop digital infrastructure and internet services for all, preparing a transformation digital roadmap for the government's strategic sectors, public services, social aid services, education, health and other industries, take immediate action to integrate national data center, take into account the needs of digital talents and prepare regulation and related funding schemes.
Improving and expanding access to libraries will accelerate the human resource development who will master science and technology, improve creativities and innovations to create job opportunities, reduce unemployment rate and increase income per capita.
Libraries play a crucial role in building valuable partnerships with communities and organizations.