This Section provides an active international forum for the development and promotion of public libraries, including Mobile Libraries.

We work closely with IFLA to share public library stories and innovations in webinars, blog posts and through our social media channels for continued professional development and advocacy.

Our current work

IFLA/UNESCO Public Library Manifesto: was last ratified in 2022. It has been used by public libraries globally to advocate for their role to provide free and equal access to information at the local level. A working group has been working with UNESCO to update the Manifesto to make sure it reflects the current roles that Public Libraries deliver to their local communities.

IFLA/Baker & Taylor Public Library of the Year Award: is administered by IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) to celebrate new public libraries.

The award is presented to a library anywhere in the world that best combines open, functional architecture with creative IT solutions and also takes into account both digital developments and local culture. To qualify, the library must be newly built or housed in buildings not previously used as a library. This means that it must have been completed between 01 January and 31 December of the previous year. The award will be announced during the IFLA Annual Congress and is accompanied by a cash prize. Systematic is a proud sponsor of this award.

Previous Achievements and Projects

  • Public Libraries Section – 2015 & 2016 winners of the IFLA Communication Award, Runner-Up 2018 IFLA Dynamic Unit and Impact Award
  • 1001 Libraries to see before you die (2015)
  • The Value of Public Libraries (2013)

This unit is part of the Professional Division A.