Participants at the IFLA MENA Workshop on Strategies for Stronger Libraries, Alexandria, 12-13 November 2019

With its new Strategy, IFLA not only has a new guiding star for the work of our professional units and headquarters team, but also a reference point for the field as a whole. With the workshop on strategies for stronger libraries in Alexandria, Egypt, IFLA brought new possibilities for alignment and synergies to the Middle East and North Africa region.

On 12-13 November, IFLA organised a workshop for representatives of the library field from 14 countries from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Over two days, participants learned about the IFLA Strategy and used it to start to define actions to build a strong and united global library field and so better serve their communities.

A Strategy for MENA and all Regions

IFLA’s Strategy 2019-24 is a document for the entire global library field, supporting our efforts to inspire, engage, enable and connect libraries. 

Based on the broadest and most inclusive conversation ever in our field – the IFLA Global Vision – the success of the Strategy depends on the same level of engagement and energy going forwards.

Key to this will be the actions taken at the regional and national levels by library associations, libraries and library and information workers. This is as true for the library field in the MENA region as anywhere else.

Participants at the IFLA MENA workshop on strategies for stronger libraries, Alexandria, Egypt, 12-13 November 2019

In line with the key finding of the IFLA Global Vision, we need plans that respond to regional characteristics and priorities, while focusing on the goals that unite the field globally. Through the discussions in Alexandria, IFLA made a major step from strategy to focused, effective action in MENA.

This workshop forms part of a series IFLA is organising around the world, designed to inspire, engage, enable and connect library associations and other key players, and create national strategies that make for a stronger library field.

Over the coming year, we will be engaging library associations and others in Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa – and continuing our work with those in MENA and Latin America and the Caribbean – bringing these new possibilities to them.

A Strong Potential

The discussions in Alexandria helped highlight the impressive work already taking place in many countries in the MENA region, as well as the ambition and potential that its libraries have.

In a region with a rich cultural and scientific heritage, but which also faces major challenges, there is a real need for libraries to continue to do the best possible for their users, today and into the future.

​IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner at the IFLA MENA Workshop on Strategies for Stronger Libraries, 12-13 November 2019, Alexandria, Egypt

The potential of the IFLA Strategy as a framework for defining effective actions in an aligned way became clear.  So too did the potential of tools such as the IFLA Library Map of the World to make the work of national associations and institutions more powerful.

We look forward to working further with all our participants, and the national library fields they represent. 

IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner said:


The need for libraries is as great, if not greater than ever. Seeing all the ideas and energy here gives me confidence that we can meet this need in the MENA region.  I’m looking forward to taking further steps forwards to define actions with our partners here, and to bringing the IFLA Strategy to all other parts of the world.

Find out more about the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024