IFLA's History

Founded in 1927 at the Annual Meeting of the UK Library Association in Edinburgh, Scotland, IFLA has had a long, rich and at times tumultuous career on its way to becoming the global voice of the library and information profession. 

The following publications, documents and webpages offer glimpses back to the very beginnings of the Federation, along with details surrounding the many events that have taken place since.


  • The History of the International Federation of Library Associations: From its creation to the Second World War, 1927-1940 [PDF]
    by Hanna de Vries
    Master's Thesis, Loughborough University of Technology, 1976
  • On the origin of the international organization of librarians (IFLA):
    the Congress of Librarians in Prague, 1926 [PDF]
    by Rudolf Málek
    Libri 20, (1970) 3, pp. 222-224
  • Le livre objet de liberté apercu sur l'activité pendant la seconde guerre mondiale, au sein du Comité consultatif de la Croix-Rouge pour la lecture des prisonniers et internés de guerre. [PDF]
    par Frédéric Saby
    IFLA Journal 15 (1989) 4, pp.330-334 
  • IFLA's First Fifty Years: A reprise [PDF]
    by Joachim Wieder, Ed. by Harry Campbell
    IFLA Journal 28 (2002) 3, pp.107-117

Post-WWII era & beyond

  • IFLA—what it should be and do [PDF]
    by S.R. Ranganathan
    Libri 5 (1954) 2, pp. 182-189
  • With Malice toward None: IFLA and the Cold War [PDF]
    by Donald G. Davis Jr.
    IFLA Journal 26 (2000) 1, pp.13-20
  • The Dutch Tea Party of IFLA in the '70s – A quick flash back of forty-five years before the Dutch Tea Party [PDF]
    by Herman Liebaers
    Paper presented at the 68th IFLA Council and General Conference in Glasgow, 2002


  • Library Universality in a Divided World [PDF]
    by Harry Campbell
    IFLA Journal 28 (2002) 3, pp.118-135
  • 75th anniversary brochure, 1927-2002 [PDF]
  • History of IFLA as a Research Theme: Challenge & Commitment [PDF]
    by Klaus Plötz
    IFLA Journal 13 (1987) 4, pp. 349-354

IFLA Sections

  • Celebrating 20 Years: A Concise history of the IFLA Section on Library Services to Multicultural Populations [PDF]
    by Marie F. Zielinska, 2001
  • Library Services to People with Special Needs Section 1931—2006: 75th Anniversary Brochure [PDF]


  • A Chronology of IFLA Sessions, 1927-2009 [PDF]
    by Jeffrey M. Wilhite

Historical materials

    Cinecittà Luce, film footage from 1929 Congress
  • Cinecittà Luce, footage from 1929 Congress
    in the search box, enter the phrases:
    • 'I congressisti bibliotecari sul Palatino'
    • 'Il Congresso dei bibliotecari a Villa Falconieri'
1929 Congress logo
  • 1929 programme of the 1st IFLA Congress [PDF]
  • 1929 poster for the 1st IFLA Congress [PDF]
  • Le Congres Mondial des Bibliotheques: Rome–Venise, Juin 1929 [PDF]
    par Marcel Godet
  • First IFLA Statutes, 1929 [PDF]

Last update: 7 June 2011