Engaging Citizens in Parliament: A Comparison of Parliamentary Information Services Extension and Library Networks

VALENTINE, Ellie (2014) Engaging Citizens in Parliament: A Comparison of Parliamentary Information Services Extension and Library Networks. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 - Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 106 - Library and Research Services for Parliaments. In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Engaging Citizens in Parliament: A Comparison of Parliamentary Information Services Extension and Library Networks

Working with parliaments in different environments over the past 20 years, I wanted to share some experiences of how working with libraries can help parliaments better engage the public. I worked in Ukraine in two different periods 1994-2000 and 2008-2013 both with the national parliament and with the legislature of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. From 2002-2005 I worked with the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia. From 2005-2008 I worked with the bicameral Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and four provincial assemblies and in 2013, I worked with the Parliament of Bangladesh. In each of these environments our projects addressed information and research needs of parliaments and the engagement of citizens in the legislative process. In my paper I will address what challenges each of these legislative bodies faced in engaging citizens and in informing members through library and research services in that particular period of their institutional development. I will also address the role of libraries and library associations in those environments and how they became partners with the legislatures in one way or another to help raise the level of information services and citizens’ understanding of the role of the legislature and the role of citizens in the legislative process. Each of these countries faced significant periods of transition in which their legislatures were also changing their role. The legislatures were also adjusting to the increased role that citizens were having in the legislative process and members’ increased need for information. The paper will present some of the innovations and partnerships that helped these legislatures in their transition period as well as on the increased role of civil society in these societies. While comparing these different environments of these legislatures, common threads of development will be revealed.

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