About the Building Strong Library Associations Programme

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Building Strong Library Associations is a comprehensive programme offering a strategic and coordinated approach to capacity building and sustainability of library associations. The programme benefits associations, libraries, and their communities.

The Building Strong Library Associations programme consists of:

  • A modular, customizable training package on library association development
  • IFLA's policy-based learning materials (for example, those developed by FAIFE)
  • Mentoring and advice on forming partnerships
  • Cross-association activities, to bring participants together
  • An online platform to provide remote access to materials

Training materials and activities can be customized to meet the needs of different associations, and different language, cultural, political, social and other conditions.

The programme is delivered by the Library Development Programme (LDP).


IFLA’s vision for this programme is to enrich society and the library and information profession by building strong, sustainable library associations. The programme will help library associations and their members increase their potential to:

  • Improve services for library users
  • Provide equitable access to information
  • Develop the library and information profession

It will do this through a series of learning materials and activities that can be customised to accommodate different cultural, political, technological, social and other conditions.

The programme will focus on a sustainable and evidence-based approach to library association development, using impact assessment and other methods as appropriate to evaluate the outcomes of training and activities.

Country project structure

IFLA will select three country projects per year until 2012, one from each of IFLA's regional sections in Africa, Asia and Oceania, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Country projects pair experts in the development of library associations with a country's national library association for at least two years to work through a series of training and other activities.

Projects will be regularly monitored, and evaluated using impact assessment.

Programme sustainability

IFLA aims to provide a sustainable programme that will have positive benefits for all associations. IFLA will provide research and case studies for the benefit of all library associations, and opportunities for associations to share their successes.


The programme is aimed at library association workers – this can be staff, office bearers, volunteers, representatives (such as regional co-ordinators) and members. Depending on the nature of a country’s library association, workshops designed to initially be delivered to a core group of individuals, with further workshops and cascade training, where appropriate, taking place during the project.

Parts of the programme can also be adapted for delivery to people outside of the library sector. Examples might include politicians and decision makers, or organisations working with library associations.

The Building Strong Library Associations training package

Each module in the training package contains a series of topics, learning objectives, case studies, and opportunities for self-assessment. Modules include:

  1. Library Associations in Society: An overview
  2. Building Your Library Association
  3. Sustaining your Library Association
  4. Developing Strategic Relationships: Partnerships and Fundraising
  5. Libraries on the Agenda

Specialist modules:

  • Library Statistics for Advocacy
  • Copyright for Library Associations

An overview provides a description of the topics covered by each module.

Because of IFLA’s international nature, our members – and those using our materials –come from cultures with different learning styles and expectations, different training needs, and different requirements for sustainability. To accommodate this, the materials are as open as possible, rather than prescriptive. Customisation of content due to differing needs is expected.

Online platform

The online platform makes available all of IFLA’s training packages through a login-access site to all IFLA members. The platform allows members to:

  • Download training materials and case studies
  • Participate in online learning activities and discussions
  • Contribute their stories of how they have used the programme

Training materials will also be available to members who have limited Internet access via removable media (for example, CD-ROM).

Associations, Training, Policy, BSLA

Last update: 27 September 2017