Call for BSLA project proposals


IFLA invites library associations to submit a proposal for Building Strong Library Associations (BSLA) projects commencing in 2017. The invitation is now open for countries worldwide including associations in Europe, Canada and USA who have not participated in previous rounds of BSLA funding.

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, customisable 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.

BSLA is delivered by the Action for Development through Libraries (ALP) programme.


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.

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.

This Call for funding of proposals include support on two levels:

1. Regional

  • Implement BSLA workshops (training materials have been developed by IFLA) and activities at existing events e.g. national and regional library association conferences
  • Undertake projects bringing together a smaller number of associations in the region to form alliances or partnerships in pursuit of advocacy goals to create a Community of Practice

2. Country

  • Deliver projects in-country, such as a series of BSLA workshops (training materials have been developed by IFLA) and activities
  • Build capacity to support and implement IFLA’s policy and advocacy-based activities

Project proposal guidelines

IFLA’s BSLA programme supports training and advocacy development projects all around the world but developing countries and emerging economies are urged to submit proposals, with an emphasis on capacity building, and train-the-trainer or cascading delivery.

The BSLA programme does not support projects that are intended for the purchase of equipment, scholarships or in-service training. Reasonable trainer and participant expenses (flights, accommodation) are permitted in the budget. IFLA does not pay fees to staff or consultants for a BSLA project.

All applicants are required to complete the relevant application form and provide the following information:

  • The need, specific goals and expected outcomes for the project
  • Outline of project activities
  • Capacity to carry out the project. A letter from the proposed host institution or library association outlining how they will support the project, description of facilities, and responsibility for financial payments and logistics should be attached to the application
  • Support for the project from relevant associations, organisations, IFLA
  • Outline of how the library community will be invited to participate in the project, and plans for cascading training and activities
  • Outline of how the project will be promoted
  • How any new learning materials or translations created for the project will be made available to IFLA for use in other projects
  • A detailed budget
  • How the impact of the project will be evaluated

Timeline for projects

Deadline for proposals is 1 April 2017. Projects can be implemented over one or two years (until March 2018).

Proposal form

Reporting documents

At the end of your project, you will be asked to provide a complete financial and narrative report for your project. You should plan from the beginning of your project how you will evaluate the results. 

Submitting applications

All applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the relevant IFLA regional office to get feedback on their proposal and ensure that their documents are complete. All project proposals should be submitted by email to the manager of the relevant regional office, with a copy to:

Contact details for IFLA's regional offices:

Sample project application

A sample project application is available to download. This is an application for a leadership training of trainers programme submitted by the Bulgarian Library and Information Association. The project was supported by BSLA funding in 2011. The application is a good example of the background information that should be provided, detail required in the needs analysis and project activities, and a clear budget. The project outlines how the programme will meet specific training and development needs for librarians in the country, and plans for how the learning will be cascaded to other cities and librarians.

IFLA thanks the Bulgarian Library and Information Association for giving permission to make their application available online.

Last update: 6 March 2017