On October 1st, 2014, Barbara Stripling, Immediate Past President of the American Library Association (ALA) for the 2013-2014 biennium and Assistant Professor of Practice in the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, lectured on “Libraries Change Lives” at the State of Rio de Janeiro Federal University (UNIRIO) and the São João de Meriti Educational Institute. Dr. Stripling addressed audiences totaling 200 people, including state and local government officials, school and community librarians from Rio, São João de Meriti and other cities from the Baixada Fluminense, librarians from special institutions such as the National Cancer Institute, pedagogues, local Academy of Letters directors, NGO leaders, Afro-Brazilian activists, school principals, teachers and students. During the program, 150 people signed the “Libraries Change Lives Declaration,” the cornerstone document of Dr. Stripling’s presidential initiative at ALA, which affirms the right of communities and populations to libraries.
In her presentations, Dr. Stripling gave examples of how libraries change lives in the U.S. According to her, libraries are privileged tools for the development of learning- and community-based societies and, as a consequence, they contribute to the promotion of equality and democracy. Dr. Stripling also presented numerous suggestions for strengthening the relationship between libraries and the communities they serve. While in Rio de Janeiro, Dr. Stripling gave an interview to GloboNews cable TV’s program “GloboNews Literatura,” yet to be aired. She was also interviewed by Biblioo, a specialized library science electronic journal, while a reporter from the Rio de Janeiro State Secretariat of Education covered the event in São João de Meriti.