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Kai Ekholm receives the IFLA Medal

Date published
Today, 29 August 2019, Dr Kai Ekholm, former national librarian of the National Library of Finland, received the IFLA Medal of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) at the organisation’s annual conference in Athens.

Kai Ekholm

Picture by
Heini Lehväslaiho

Kai Ekholm chaired the IFLA’s Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) Advisory Committee from 2009 to 2013. The IFLA Medal was awarded to him not only for this contribution, but also for his efforts to promote freedom of expression throughout his career.

We witness every day how freedom of speech is being tested: in printed media, in social media, in our private and professional lives. It is being tested every day, it needs arguments, support and brave individuals to stand up and protect it. How about libraries? Are they just institutions that monitor what is happening outside them? Do they have a mission and will of their own? Of course they have. The famous book historian Alberto Manguel states: Without hospitals, schools, and libraries there is no society. Libraries make an essential building block for the freedom of any society.  Kai Ekholm, Athens, 29 August 2019

The IFLA has awarded medals recognising achievements for the past 15 years. Previous Finnish recipients include Esko Häkli, national librarian, in 2005, and Eeva Kristiina Murtomaa, librarian, in 2012. Established in 1927, the IFLA is the leading international body representing the library sector and has members in more than 140 countries.