Our special interest group works to promote and strengthen the roles that librarians play in times of disaster and in response to global health challenges, supporting SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.

Supporting evidence-based practice

We develop high-quality resources and publications to promote evidence-based practice, share good practice to reduce duplication, and achieve better value and impact. Our multilingual work, recognising that evidence is still predominantly in English so excluding access for many, is a fundamental part of this work. This aims to not only improve access to guides and other resources in multi-languages, but to use this process as a way of building engagement and collaboration. We work closely with HIFA, and other global networks to help raise awareness about, and to help tackle health and digital literacy inequity.


We recognise that librarians work alongside other professionals, yet often lack recognition for the skills they bring to tackling global health issues, or when responding in a crisis situation or event. This informed our input into IFLA’s briefing paper [Disaster Risk Response – A brief on Libraries] and the Sendai Framework in 2018. More recently we have authored a chapter in a forthcoming WHO book on research methods for health emergency and disaster risk management.

We are working with a wide range of partners to build stronger networks and to ensure that librarians are actively involved in all levels of activity, including planning, responding and learning from disasters. These include disaster risk reduction consultants, researchers and other colleagues outside the library field are helping us develop and deliver key messages.

Skills development

Alongside promoting existing training materials – often via our webinars and newsletters – we run sessions to support skills development during IFLA congresses and satellite meetings.

An ongoing project is collating data on what skills training is already available and identifying any gaps, whilst seeking to improve equity and sustainability of access.

Working in partnership, not duplicating the work of others

This principle informs our close work with peer organisations including colleagues at Evidence Aid; the US National Library of Medicine [specifically their Disaster Information Management Research Center] and the Health Information for All network (HIFA.org) with nearly 20,000 members interacting on five global forums.

Global and Disaster Health impacts on all library services and librarians in whatever sector. We collaborate with other IFLA units including: Health and Biosciences Libraries; CPDWL; Women, Information and Libraries; Science and Technology Libraries; Public Libraries, and are keen to explore other ways of reaching out to other IFLA units.

This unit is sponsored by Health and Biosciences Libraries Section.

This unit is part of the Professional Division G.