Strategic Plan 2006-2009

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The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), founded in 1927, is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession.

IFLA pursues it priorities within the framework of the three pillars:

Society - Libraries and information services serve society by preserving memory; feeding development; enabling education and research; supporting international understanding; improving information access, sharing, and use; and supporting community well being.

Profession - As the global voice for libraries and information services and the profession, IFLA has always been vitally concerned with improving methods, technical means and standards as well as increasing the awareness of new theories, developments, and best practices in library and information work.

Members - As a membership organisation, IFLA serves the interests of its members and draws both its mandate and global reach from them.

This plan establishes the priorities of the IFLA Governing Board for the period 2006-2009 and is intended to guide both its work and that of IFLA's divisions, sections and other activities. It will be reviewed annually by the Governing Board and presented to Council.


Libraries and information services are essential to the effective operation of the inclusive Information Society. IFLA and libraries and information services share the common vision of an Information Society for all, as adopted by the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva in November 2003. That vision promotes an inclusive society in which everyone will be able to find, create, access, use and share information and knowledge.

To enable access to information by all peoples, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions is committed to the fundamental human rights to know, learn and communicate without restriction. It opposes censorship and supports balance and fairness in intellectual property regulation. IFLA is also vitally concerned to promote multilingual content, cultural diversity and the special needs of Indigenous peoples, minorities and those with disabilities.

IFLA, working with its members, the profession and other partners, will advance the position of libraries and information services and their capacity to contribute to the development of individuals and communities through access to information and culture.

(Adapted from Alexandria Manifesto on Libraries, the Information Society in Action, IFLA, 11 November 2005).


IFLA is an independent, international, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization. Its aims are to:

  • Promote high standards of provision and delivery of library and information services
  • Encourage widespread understanding of the value of good library and information services
  • Represent the interests of our members throughout the world.
    (From IFLA Statutes)

Core Values

In pursuing these aims, IFLA embraces the following core values:

  1. The endorsement of the principles of freedom of access to information, ideas and works of imagination and freedom of expression embodied in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  2. The belief that people, communities and organizations need universal and equitable access to information, ideas and works of imagination for their social, educational, cultural, democratic and economic well-being.
  3. The conviction that delivery of high quality library and information services helps guarantee that access.
  4. The commitment to enable all members of the Federation to engage in, and benefit from, its activities without regard to citizenship, disability, ethnic origin, gender, geographical location, language, political philosophy, race or religion.
    (From IFLA Statutes)

Strategic Directions

Profession Pillar

IFLA will assist libraries and information services to fulfill their purposes and shape responses to the needs of clients in a rapidly changing information environment.

1. IFLA will take the lead in collaborative efforts to establish guidelines and standards for the organization of information for access across international boundaries and over social, cultural, and economic barriers.

Strategic Actions

  1. Develop guidelines and best practices through its professional groups to provide guidance to libraries and promote cooperation.
  2. Enable users to find, identify, select, and obtain information through internationally agreed standards and guidelines (metadata, resource control, document supply, etc.).
  3. Support an integrated approach to the management of digital resources.
  4. Promote resource sharing to assist library users to access and receive needed resources from beyond their own library.
  5. Promote cooperation, resource sharing, and seamless access among libraries, museums, and archives.
  6. Develop and disseminate guidelines for teaching various aspects of library work, both in the academic courses and in lifelong professional programs.

2. IFLA will promote the development of quality library and information services in all parts of the world.

Strategic Actions

  1. Develop and deliver programs and activities of IFLA professional groups.
  2. Work with colleagues and local library stakeholders in developing countries to assist in capacity building for the library profession, library institutions, and library and information services through the Action for Development through Libraries Programme (ALP).
  3. Support IFLA professional groups in the development and delivery of quality programs and activities.

3. IFLA will produce professional publications to assist libraries and information services in improving their governance, management, and services.

Strategic Actions

  1. Revitalize of IFLA's website for professional development and exchange.
  2. Produce print and electronic publications on topics of high interest to the profession and in the widest possible range of languages (IFLA Journal, the various books and reports series, section publications).

4. IFLA will work to strengthen library associations , especially in developing countries.

Strategic Actions

  1. Develop and roll out the GLAD (Global Library Association Development) Programme.
  2. Develop and deliver workshops and other training events to train and equip office-bearers of national library associations for the democratic, effective and efficient governance of their associations.
  3. Develop a set of guidelines for associations on how to identify potential membership target groups, increase and sustain members (especially young professionals).

5. IFLA will assist libraries and information services to avoid and recover from destruction resulting from natural disasters, neglect, and conflict.

Strategic Actions

  1. Publish guidelines for disaster prevention and recovery (Preservation and Conservation, PAC).
  2. Promote the protection of cultural heritage especially in times of conflict (International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) and others).
  3. Facilitate provision of advice or assistance following disasters.

Society Pillar

IFLA, working with libraries and information services, will assist people throughout the world to create and participate in an equitable information/knowledge society and to exercise their rights of freedom of access to information and freedom of expression in their daily lives.

6. IFLA will develop and conduct an effective advocacy programme, in cooperation with National Library Associations in support of libraries, librarians, and library users worldwide.

Strategic Actions

  1. Create an advocacy capability at IFLA/HQ and develop an advocacy campaign focusing on the following themes:
    • Freedom of access to information and freedom of expression and its implementation through library and information services.
    • Equity in the area of copyright; information flow among rich and poor nations; and intellectual property.
    • Inclusion in the areas of information access in an information society and building information/knowledge societies.
  2. Strengthen IFLA's advocacy capacity through consolidation and the building of partnerships.

7. IFLA will materially affect international policies and practices in key areas relating to libraries and information services.

Strategic Actions

  1. Influence international copyright law and intellectual property law so that library users have access to information under principles of fair use (CLM).
  2. Promote the need to respect the rights to information and freedom of expression (FAIFE).
  3. Advance the protection of and access to information and cultural resources throughout the world (FAIFE, ALP, PAC, World Digital Library).
  4. Defend and promote linguistic and cultural diversity.
  5. Promote implementation of the recommendations from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
  6. Implement Libraries on the Agenda campaign
  7. Promote reading, information literacy and life long learning as keys to participation in the information society.
  8. Support the basic right to health through worldwide access to professional and consumer health literacy training.

Members Pillar

IFLA will be well managed and will provide services to members through efficient communication, exemplary programs, and learning opportunities that increase their ability to provide quality service to their clientele, increasing their involvement in IFLA.

8. IFLA will communicate with its professional groups as well as with current and potential members systematically and effectively

Strategic Actions

  1. Establish an electronic newsletter directed to officers and members.
  2. Improve communication with, and services to officers, including orientation for new officers and a discussion list for officers.
  3. Provide a multi-lingual service to its members - where feasible and appropriate - through documents, website, conference programming and staffing.

9. IFLA will provide forums and other opportunities for networking to assist the professional development of current and potential members.

Strategic Actions

  1. Organize an annual World Library and Information Congress that is efficiently managed, financially beneficial to IFLA, sustainable, and reasonably priced for members
  2. Deliver exemplary continuing education programs and other events that allow attendees to gain knowledge about their field and about international librarianship
  3. Promote other IFLA-branded conferences and meetings that allow members to present and exchange information and expertise

10. IFLA will manage the organisation effectively and will manage IFLA/HQ and other offices efficiently to meet the needs of current and potential members.

Strategic Actions

  1. Increase capacity of all IFLA offices to support the Strategic Directions and Actions.
  2. Recruit and retain staff with professional competencies.
  3. Implement assertive management of services for members and corporate partners, and recruitment of new members including electronic renewals.
  4. Initiate a systematic and continuous process of monitoring the needs and wishes of our membership, by undertaking a membership survey, and following this up by continuous monitoring in subsequent years.
  5. Following the initial survey, develop an integrated communication strategy and plan that reaches out to IFLA's "indirect" members (the members of Library Association members and the staff of institutional members).
  6. Develop a toolkit for IFLA divisions, sections, and discussion groups that helps to identify potential membership markets, retain current members, and recruit new members.

11. IFLA will develop and diversify its financial support through increased membership and fund raising to support current and increased services to members.

Strategic Actions

  1. Allocate and manage IFLA's finances effectively and efficiently to enable achievement of its goals
  2. Recruit and retain members.
  3. Recruit and retain corporate partners
  4. Develop diverse, broad based and stable sources of funding, other than membership.

12. IFLA will align its structure to support the strategic directions of the organization.

Strategic Actions

  1. Review IFLA professional groups, taking a life-cycle approach, streamlining IFLA, to ensure that they remain relevant and effective.
  2. Review and revise IFLA Statutes.

Approved by the Governing Board of IFLA, December 2006

Last update: 20 January 2015