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

Call for Papers — Open Session

Fragile! Careful Handling Required: Manuscript housing, conservation and metadata documentation for access

17 January 2018

Libraries Protect Women's Cultural Rights

Cultural rights have long been recognised as a pillar of human rights, and women's cultural rights are no exception. A new paper from IFLA brings together lessons from a satellite meeting at last year's WLIC to show how libraries are working to defend these.

2 January 2018 | Women, Information and Libraries, Peace, refugees, Women’s issues, women, cultural rights

Shared History, Shared Challenges, Shared Efforts – Preserving Francophone African Heritage

The countries of French-speaking Africa have a rich and diverse history. Much of this is recorded not through books or manuscripts, but through a vibrant tradition of oral history and know-how. Yet with preservation practices not always well-suited to these forms of heritage, and limited resources available, the need for cooperation in order to ensure that they are not lost is essential. A conference in Dakar on 17-19 November explored how best to do this.

14 December 2017 | PAC (Preservation and Conservation), Africa, Preservation, oral heritage