Cultural Heritage

IFLA's work on preserving cultural heritage

1992: Vedran Smailović plays his cello in the destroyed National Library, Sarajevo
Photo: Mikhail Evstafiev

Culture is a basic need.  A community thrives through its cultural heritage, it dies without it.

Cultural heritage consists of tangible and intangible, natural and cultural, movable and immovable assets inherited from the past. It is of extremely high value for the present and the future of communities. Access, preservation, and education around cultural heritage are essential for the evolution of people and their culture.

The preservation and restoration of cultural heritage has always been a priority for IFLA.

It is essential to monitor areas at risk, to advocate for and raise awareness about conflict and disaster prevention. With an increase in cultural heritage being abused for political propaganda and destroyed to serve certain agendas, the protection of cultural heritage has never been more important.

Next to the possible destruction of cultural heritage through war and occupation, the illicit traffic of cultural objects is also a threat to the survival of cultural heritage. In times of upheaval and confusion, cultural heritage can be displaced or illegally sold.

IFLA is working together with UNESCO and the International Committee of the Blue Shield to prevent this from happening and ensure that (physical) cultural heritage remains in safe conditions in their place of origin.

IFLA sets out to monitor disaster areas around the globe and help with preservation as well as reconstruction once disasters (natural and man-made) have happened.

Conservation, Cooperation, Cultural heritage, Preservation

Last update: 13 June 2017

Latest News

Recognising and Promoting Indigenous Languages in New Brunswick, Canada

Our latest profile of a library offering dedicated services around indigenous languages and the communities that speak them comes from Patricia Knockwood, Indigenous Services Librarian at New Brunswick Public Library Service, Canada.

1 October 2019 | Indigenous Matters, Canada, IYIL 2019, International Year of Indigenous Languages, Indigenous Matters

Culture Essential for SDG Success: IFLA Contributes to New Report

In the negotiations that led to the agreement of the 2030 Agenda in September 2015, a group of global organisations including IFLA drove the #culture2015goal campaign. A new report looks at the progress on incorporating culture into the SDGs since then, and relaunches the campaign as #culture2030goal.

24 September 2019 | LDP (Library Development Programme), Access to information, Advocacy, Libraries, Development and the UN 2030 Agenda, Sustainable development, UN SDGs, UN 2030 Agenda, #Culture2030Goal

UN Climate Summit: the Heritage Dimension

IFLA attended the session at the United Nations Climate Summit focused on heritage issues. With a strong focus both on the risks that climate heritage poses to all types of culture, but also the contribution that heritage can, in turn, make to our response, it was an opportunity to highlight the difference that libraries can make.

22 September 2019 | LDP (Library Development Programme), Access to information, United States, Climate change, Cultural heritage