Manual Guidelines for Legislative Libraries (IFLA Publications)

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No Downloads. Views Total views. Actions Shares. Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. Guidelines for legislative libraries 1. Guidelines for Legislative Libraries The scale of change in the provision of information and research services since the original edition of this guide, in particular the development of the Internet, meant that it soon became clear that a more or less complete re-write was needed, rather than simply a revision of the existing text. However, in the drafting of the new edition we have kept to the spirit of the original, which we know has been a valuable tool for many.

It is the global voice of the library and information profession. IFLA provides information specialists throughout the world with a forum for exchanging ideas and promoting international cooperation, research, and development in all fields of library activity and information service. IFLA is one of the means through which libraries, information centres, and information professionals worldwide can formulate their goals, exert their influence as a group, protect their interests, and find solutions to global problems.

Currently, approximately 1, associations, institutions and individuals, from widely divergent cultural backgrounds, are working together to further the goals of the Federation and to promote librarianship on a global level. Through its formal membership, IFLA directly or indirectly represents some , library and information professionals worldwide. IFLA pursues its aims through a variety of channels, including the publication of a major journal, as well as guidelines, reports and monographs on a wide range of topics.

IFLA organizes workshops and seminars around the world to enhance professional practice and increase awareness of the growing importance of libraries in the digital age. IFLA was founded in Edinburgh, Scotland, in at an international conference of national library directors. IFLA was registered in the Netherlands in The Koninklijke Bibliotheek Royal Library , the national library of the Netherlands, in The Hague, generously provides the facilities for our headquarters.

KG, Berlin, www. No Parts of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Contents page Preface Preface It had been clear for some time that, valuable as the first edition of these Guidelines has been, the rapid changes in the world of information provision in general and of parliamentary libraries in particular meant that a new edition was needed.

Discussions during the IFLA conference in Seoul in led to an agreement to seek funding for this revised edition. At that time I was shortly to retire from my post in the United Kingdom House of Commons Library and I agreed to take on the responsibility for the work. In doing so I have been helped by many people.

In particular, the advisory group who are listed in Chapter 1. Their input in commenting on early drafts has been very valuable and I would like to express my thanks to them for their wise comments and for giving up their time. Donna Scheeder, Director of Law Library Services at the Library of Congress was Chair when the initial decision was made to seek support for a new edition.


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Thank you to all three of them. I have also been grateful for the support of many other colleagues from parliamentary libraries when I have quizzed them. In particular, when I attended the Conference of Library and Research Services for Parliaments in Rome in August and received useful feedback both at a conference session on the guidelines and in discussion with individuals.


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I should also like to remember Dermot Englefield, editor of the first edition of these guidelines. Sadly, he died in July before work started on the revised edition, so I was not able to discuss it with him, which would have been a pleasure. Finally, my thanks to my wife Julie for all her support while I have been engaged on this revision. I hope it will be as useful as the first edition has been.

The World Bank eLibrary: Does Your Library Have it?

Keith Cuninghame November 7 8. Foreword The lifeblood of parliaments is information, so parliaments need information services to help them to manage the information flows that sustain democracy across the world. Parliamentary libraries and research services contribute to the effectiveness of parliament by providing authoritative, independent, non-partisan and relevant information. These services have in many places evolved greatly in recent decades, in parallel with new information and communications technologies that have fundamentally changed how parliaments manage knowledge and information.

These guidelines are particularly useful for those working to establish library and research roles in developing parliaments. Both the Section and experienced section members have been asked to advise and support a number of these initiatives so a new edition of the Guidelines will be invaluable. The attendance at IFLA Section for Libraries and Research Services events has expanded over recent years to include every continent and most countries of the world. The value of sharing knowledge and experiences with colleagues working in a similar environment, across cultural and language barriers, is borne out by this growth in attendance and membership.

Foreword likely to find the Guidelines particularly useful in helping to establish appropriate levels of service.

ICT developments over the years since the first edition of the Guidelines were published have ushered in huge changes in the way parliamentarians do their work, and therefore in the way parliamentary libraries and research services support the work of their parliaments. By using the new methods and technologies that are now available parliamentary library and research services can assist their parliaments in dealing with information overload and support parliamentary scrutiny and the development of quality legislation.

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This new edition of the guidelines updated and expanded to cover the new technologies will support this work. Keith Cuninghame, formerly a senior manager in the UK House of Commons Library, and an enthusiastic contributor to Section meetings over the years, has largely rewritten these guidelines. He was assisted by an Advisory Group, drawn from across the world of parliamentary libraries and research services. Our grateful thanks are due to all of them, especially to Keith.

It has been a valuable source of guidance for people working in the field of providing research and information services for parliamentarians, and has been translated into several languages. Dermot was Librarian of the House of Commons from to , having been Deputy Librarian from to He was thus excellently placed to edit the original edition, which he did with a group of experienced colleagues. He and his fellow contributors were well aware of the pace of change as the guidelines were being produced; change that has escalated since then.

The centrality of these to any information service is one reason why an updated volume is needed. But the need for an updated Guidelines is not just driven by technological change. As discussions within the IFLA section on Library and Research Services for Parliaments have made clear, there is today an appetite for advice on a range of topics which were not covered or not covered in detail in the first edition of the Guidelines.

These include, for example, the marketing of services and the educating of users in how to get the best out of those services. This new edition has been written by Keith Cuninghame, a member of the senior management team in the House of Commons Library, United Kingdom, for 13 years until he retired in , a regular attendee at 2 Guidelines for Legislative Libraries Edited by Dermot Englefield. IFLA Publications Saur, 11 He has been supported by an advisory group of seven people from around the world with a wide range of experience between them.

They commented on early drafts of all the chapters. Janet Seaton wrote the first draft of Chapter But general principles and advice and some of the original text survive. These general principles, as discussions within the Section have shown, are applicable to libraries of different size, resources, age and stage of development. When they meet, staff of parliamentary libraries are often struck by what they have in common, even though there may be great differences between the institutions they work for and their political contexts. The libraries of legislatures are institutions that, by the simplest definition are special libraries.

They serve the particular and defined clientele of Members of Parliament, together with their personal staff.

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They also support the institution as a whole and may have additional roles for ex12 Chapter 1 — Setting the Scene ample a curatorial one, or one providing information about parliament to the public and schools. If you were setting up a legislature from scratch you might wonder whether it needed a library at all.


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The word is still very much thought of in terms of buildings and of physical collections of material. The Wikipedia definition has a more modern feel.

The context

In the more traditional sense, a library is a collection of books. The definition has a passive feel about it and does not really give an indication of the tempo and currency of the needs of parliamentarians in the 21st century. The instant comment demanded of a parliamentarian at an airport or press conference; the wish to prove that your opponent is out of date with his or her statistics; the need to contribute to public debate on the television or radio; the need to ask questions which will penetrate the defensiveness or evasiveness of the executive branch of government.

These all demand a currency and accuracy of information which does not necessarily emerge from the definitions of a library. It also implies the need for access to staff who have specialist skills and knowledge, such as skills in quickly searching for information; in assessing what information is accurate and what is not; in having specialist knowledge of the wide range of subjects potentially of interest to the parliamentarian, both generally and in a legislative context.

Guidelines for Legislative Libraries

Inter-Parliamentary Union The first edition of the guidelines was published at a time of growth in interest in how democracy works, following the symbolic dismantling of the Berlin Wall in It was translated into Russian and disseminated to practitioners in the newly independent states. This process, however, was certainly not confined to those parliaments which were able to develop following the collapse of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, but was a world-wide one. Countries with long established parliamentary libraries have been confronted by the need for rapid change if they are to keep up with the increasing demands and expectations of their clients, with the huge amount of information both accurate and suspect which the Internet has made available at the touch of a button and the ways in which technology has changed how information can be supplied to clients.

If they work in accordance with the IPU and CPA Guidelines, staff working in legislative libraries as opposed to those who work for individual parliamentarians , will be working for the parliament, not for the executive. There is, however, one distinctive aspect of the work of these 4 Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures.

December Chapter 1 — Setting the Scene staff when compared with the role of other staff of the legislature. Most of the latter staff focus their work on what goes on in the building of the legislature itself. Proceedings in the Chamber and in Committees are the concern of procedural and committee staff. Committees may, of course, travel but are, in effect, operating as an extension of the legislative building ; debates are the concern of reporting staff; others will be concerned with administration, catering, visitors, etc.