The IFLA Children and Young Adults Section are revising the Guidelines for Children's Libraries Services which were last published in 2003.  The IFLA standards are internationally reviewed, published and regularly updated documents and each reflects current consensus on rules, principles, guidelines, best practice or models for a particular activity or service. We have initiated this revision to take the opportunity to consult with the international library community and to produce an informative web based document that represents the state of the art in library services for children. This links to the C &YA Best Practices project which is running in parallel.


The new Guidelines will promote and encourage the development of effective library services for children by giving guidance to the international library community about children's needs and rights on information, literacy and reading. The intention is to help public libraries implement high quality children's services in the digital age. The revised Guidelines will provide up to date knowledge and professional insight for those who strategically plan or deliver children's library services and programs. They are aimed at practicing librarians, library managers and administrators and the students and lecturers in library and information studies faculties. The new Guidelines will inform decision makers and those involved in developing policies. Although the primary audience for the revised Guidelines will be library practitioners, we envisage the information will also benefit NGOs who work in support of literacy and reading.


Process and timescales

There are IFLA procedures in place for creating new standards and guidelines and a proposal to revise the Guidelines for Children’s Library Services was approved by the IFLA Committee on Standards and the Professional Committee in July 2015. A Working Group led by Dr. Carolynn Rankin of Leeds Beckett University in the UK was established to prepare the updated version.  The Working Group includes a representative of the Public Libraries Section. The project was launched at the IFLA Conference in Cape Town in August 2015 where participants attended a workshop session facilitated by C &YA Standing Committee members, and this kick started the consultation process. The drafting of the revised Guidelines involves consultation and discussion at an international level with a range of stakeholders and we are consulting widely with other international, national, regional and professional organisations as appropriate.


Building on initial feedback from the Cape Town session, the outline content for the Guidelines was further defined at a workshop with C & YA SC members held during the Section’s midyear meeting in Oslo in April 2016. Our C & YA Chair, Ingrid Bon, has contacted IFLA Sections and Special Interest Groups requesting feedback and contributions on specific aspects of the contents, and there is ongoing consultation to also ensure that diverse views are considered and discussed in the drafting of the revised Guidelines. We need to consider the challenge of how the Guidelines can be made relevant to first and third world situations and there will be further wide consultation to validate the content.  If partnerships can be fostered there will be opportunities to work with other Sections in developing and delivering training sessions and other resources such as FAQs to accompany the revised Guidelines.   

The IFLA Conference in Ohio in August 2016 provided an opportunity to present an overview and update on the Guidelines project and the forthcoming C &YA Section midyear meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden in March 2017 is a focal point for reviewing the draft contents. We are aiming to present the revised Guidelines at IFLA Wrocław in August 2017.


Contents – provisional themes/parts

The content for the revised Guidelines is still being developed, but this is an opportunity to share the outline structure below, showing the provisional themes and topic areas. This gives a working framework to ensure we cover all the key areas, but may change following further discussion and consultation.   


Part A

Mission and purposes of children’s libraries


Part B

Human resources – competencies and knowledge

Ethics and values

Funding and managing budgets and resources

Partnership working – networking educational/professional

Part C

Collection development and management

Physical and digital resources

Role of technology

Part D

Design of the space and place

Safety – library a safe place

Part E

Programs and activities including community outreach

Part F

Marketing and promotion

Part G


Part H

Supporting active citizenship and cultural competency

Social inclusion and equity  

First and third world issues




How you can help

You can help by publicising the revision of Guidelines project with your colleagues and contacts. The consultation draft will be available in March 2017 and feedback is welcome.


If you would like any further information on this project, please feel free to contact Dr. Carolynn Rankin or Ingrid Bon.



Dr Carolynn Rankin [email protected]


Ingrid Bon, Chair of Libraries for Children and Young Adults Section

[email protected]