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International Federation of LibraryAssociations and Institutions (IFLA)

An Introduction


  • Promote high standards
  • Encourage widespread understanding
  • Represent members’ interests

Core Values

  • People everywhere need access to information
  • Libraries to guarantee that access
  • Worldwide participation
  • Freedom of information
  • Equal opportunities


1717 Members in 154 Countries

  • Association Members
    • International
    • National
  • Institutional Members
  • Personal Affiliates
  • Student Affiliates

Corporate Partners

  • Gold
    • Geac
    • OCLC
  • Silver
    • VTLS
  • Bronze
    • Elsevier

Relations with other bodies

Amongst others:

  • WIPO
  • ISO
  • WTO
  • IPA
  • ICA

Meetings, Seminars, Workshops

  • Annual Conference
    • 2002, Glasgow, UK
    • 2003, Berlin, Germany
    • 2004, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Regional Meetings
  • Practical Workshops


  • IFLA Journal
  • IFLA Directory
  • IFLA Annual Report
  • IFLA Publications Series
  • IFLA Professional Report Series


  • Members (80%)
  • Grants from
    • Governments
    • (Inter)national Funding Agencies
  • Sales of Publications
  • Sponsorship
  • Host Libraries

Help us achieve more!

  • Become a member
  • Take an active part
  • Contribute to our Core Activities
    IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind
    IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind
  • 88 Members
  • Includes special, national and public libraries
  • Standing Committee of 20 Members
  • Meets twice annually
    • Midwinter meeting combines training and development in country selected;
    • IFLA requires two meetings at IFLA Conference

IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind

  • Newsletter twice annually
    • Won IFLA Award two years in a row

IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind

  • Working Groups
  • Join Discussion Group for SLB

IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind

  • Working Group Projects
    • Collection Development and Resource Sharing
  • Russian Language Network
  • Cataloguing & Metadata
  • Resource Sharing Guide
  • Acquisition Consortium Project
  • Content Production

IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind

  • Working Group Projects
    • Library Systems and Information Technology
  • Integrated digital library systems guidelines
  • Internet use and Application
  • Copyright and Rights Management

IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind

  • Working Group Projects
    • Management and Strategic Planning
  • National library guidelines
  • Statistics for libraries for the blind

IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind Training and Development a Major Goal of IFLA and the SLB

16 Expert Meetings or Conferences and 13 training seminars since 1983 held in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. The latest Preconference was held August 13 - 15 in Washington. Two smaller training meetings are planned for Morocco and a major preconference at ACURIL, Jamaica in 2002.

IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind

  • IFLA SLB the only place in the world where the key decision makers of library service for the blind gather;
  • Over 140 representatives from the major institutions in 35 countries spending more than $250M USD gathered to focus on the critical issues and to formulate cooperative partnerships.
  • Aside from the CNIB, INLB and the NLC there were no major other Canadian agencies represented.

IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind

According to participants in Washington the ten top issues facing libraries for the blind are:

  • Copyright - A human rights issue;
  • Technology - Availability of access technology
  • Resource Sharing - seek cooperation to avoid duplication
  • Digital Talking Books - help with conversion
  • Relationships with Publishers - publishers files and enhancing content
  • Mainstreaming - international standards for universal access to library services and technology

IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind

Ten Top Issues Contd

  • Advocacy - assure physical and intellectual access
  • Braille and Etext - identification of best tools for production
  • Specifications for Systems - develop specifications on a totally international basis
  • Services for Children and Students - Build partnerships with education

IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind

In Summary the major issues are:

Content - Changing the dynamics 3 - 5% available in English less than l% in French & other languages

  • Technology - Impact of digitization
  • Literacy - 95% of world blind population cannot read nor write
  • Training for clients and staff - Users know what they need but those who serve them do not always know the solutions.
  • Advocacy and Awareness - the public, librarians, consumers, and other service providers are disconnected.

IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind

In some countries libraries for the blind are independent of existing national libraries.

In many developing countries these libraries are not a part of any network and evolve in academic institutions to serve student needs

In no country of the world is the service delivered solely by public libraries.

IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind

  • How far have we come on the quality of human life index?

In the greatest age of prosperity and information technology learning institutions saw their budgets in decline, accessible content for blind people as a percent of published material has not advanced in 30 years; and a baseball player will earn the salaries of 100 teachers in a year. As we move from prosperity to recession those who cultivate the minds and talents of present and future citizens regardless of their abilities did not emerge as the valued under pinning of the learning culture.

IFLA: Section of Libraries For the Blind

A librarian with an open mind is the best friend of a blind person.

Our profession needs to be more proactive and share a single mission and vision on behalf of the printhandicapped community.

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