As part of an effort to increase collaboration between the Russian Library Association (RLA) and the American Library Association (ALA), ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo took her Libraries = Strong Communities message to Russia April 23–26.
On April 23, Garcia-Febo spoke at the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg, focusing on ALA flagship projects—including advocacy, diversity, Preservation Week, and international relations—within the framework of modern libraries. The next day, she spoke at the Russian State Library in Moscow about how ALA resources help shape the future of libraries.
On April 25, she met with Olga Yarilova, deputy culture minister of the Russian Federation, to discuss how librarians from different countries can collaborate to help library workers and the communities they serve. The meeting included International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) President-elect Christine Mackenzie and librarians from RLA and the M. I. Rudomino All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature (LFL) in Moscow.
Garcia-Febo’s visit culminated with her speech at “Shaping the Future of Libraries,” the April Library Moscow Agenda meeting, organized by LFL and RLA. The theme of the session was Strong Library Associations = Strong Libraries = Strong Communities, which reflected Garcia-Febo’s ALA presidential theme. Her speech was livestreamed on Russian television.
“This is a pivotal time for libraries and the communities we serve,” Garcia-Febo said during her tour. “The global information environment is being transformed by new policies, new technologies, and a renewed focus on the communities served.” She said libraries have the power to provide access to information to help people better educate themselves to secure jobs, increase income, prevent health crises, and learn about water systems and farming.
“Data won’t just get into the hands of users on its own,” she noted. “It needs to be made available, it needs to be structured so it can be found easily, and it needs to be linked so that it can be shared and reused in ways that will help to save the world.”
Garcia-Febo concluded her speech by stressing that librarians today are creating the libraries of the future and strengthening communities with their outreach. She said: “Publicly supporting many of the efforts I mentioned today might encourage other libraries to look into diversity within their workforce, highlight wellness resources for their librarians, engage in international professional exchanges and global collaboration, and advocate for libraries to continue to provide services needed by all in the communities they serve.”