BiS presentation

BiS is the acronym of the Swedish organisation Bibliotek i Samhälle (Libraries in Society)

BiS is a socialist association of people working in libraries as well as others with an interest in library issues. According To BiS, it is the objective of libraries to safeguard and develop democracy by:

  • supporting freedom of expression and by guaranteeing the provision of information as a base for expressing opinions and social criticism
  • being a publicly funded and democratically governed institution, which is developed in a dialogue with its users and the local community
  • working in a outreaching, literacy promoting and guiding way, prioritising those facing the risk of ending up on the wrong side of the growing information gap
  • actively offering information and literature, which is complementary and alternative to the commercially viable.

BiS was funded in 1969 by students of the Library School in Stockholm. From the very beginning it has issued its journal bis, nowadays appearing four times a year. During the first ten years, all work was done in a very decentralised way through numerous branches in Sweden. BiS has still no chairperson, but a national board and an editor of its journal.

From 1991 BiS has been actively involved in solidarity and exchange work in South Africa. BiS has supported the Masizame Resource Center in a township in Eastern Cape and been a part of a national school library project 1997 – 2002, working together with progressive South African counterparts.

BiS has got a website where the main elements of BiS’ work is displayed. During the last three years, a special emphasis has been put on fighting the neoliberal GATS which is a threat to public libraries. The journal has an important role in raising alternative issues and new perspectives on the library in the society.

BiS is part of a international network of progressive library organisations.