The opening keynote address, “We will get there together, together” was presented by Dr. Buhle Mbambo-Thata from the National University of Lesotho. Our profession espouses togetherness in many ways. The UN has designed sustainable goals to ensure that no one will be left behind, but they cannot be achieved by working in silence. Some global issues impacting the Library and Information Science profession include diseases and pandemics, climate change, energy crisis, political conflict, and mis- and dis-information. The world we live in presents us with many challenges. COVID made many of the challenges impossible to attain. Misinformation has characterized COVID data.
Isolation policies will not protect humanity from misinformation. The Russia-Ukraine war has divided the world and impacted world stability. We recognize that information itself has been weaponized; archives have been destroyed by war.
Climate change has also affected us, especially by hurricanes, flooding, and heat waves. How can libraries recover from losses? An energy crisis is emerging; oil prices have more than doubled. The price of gas and oil can be linked to the war in Ukraine. The energy crisis threatens meetings like the Charleston Conference. We need to speak out and be heard and separate truth from misinformation.
Key enabling principles: information as currency, collaboration, and communication. How do we prevent the use of information as a weapon? Collaboration: no one sector has answers; we need to collaborate across disciplines. Choose communication instead as an enabler.
Opportunities for intervention: social justice and equity, transformative interventions, and preservation of digital information. We must appreciate innovative ideas and create a legal framework that promotes information across sectors.
We cannot regard only certain journals as high impact which motivates researchers to publish in high priced journals that organizations cannot afford. We must question the ownership of books in print and seek ways to promote sharing of information and responsible open access and suppress emerging and brilliant researchers. All forms of exclusion and discrimination of information must be suppressed.
What and who do our collections represent? Are the voices of minorities preserved? We must allow all groups to be heard. There is an urgent need for the preservation of all forms of knowledge by all groups in the face of climate change.
Africa Commons preserves African content that was previously not known and is a step forward. It indexes and provides access to more than 300,000 digital artifacts.
Conclusion: Ask who is missing and who should be included. Set aside our differences and focus on commonalities. Look for a way to get forward together. Each of us can work on changing to make the world a better place.