IFLA's History

Founded on 30 September 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
  • The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA/FIAB) 1961-70 [PDF]
    by Anthony Thompson, IFLA Secretary General 1962-1970
  • With Malice toward None: IFLA and the Cold War [PDF]
    by Donald G. Davis Jr.
    IFLA Journal 26 (2000) 1, pp.13-20
  • The IFLA / UNESCO Partnership, 1947-2012 [PDF]
    by Peter Johan Lor
    Paper presented at the 78th IFLA General Conference and Assembly in Helsinki, 2012
  • 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 General Conference & Assembly 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

    • Public libraries and the influence of IFLA, 1930-1960, with special reference to Lionel McColvin’s chairmanship of the Public Libraries Section (1968) [PDF]
      by Anthony Thompson, IFLA Secretary General 1962-1970


    Historical materials

    • 1927 Resolution establishing the International Library and Bibliographic Committee, later IFLA [PDF]
    Cinecittà Luce, film footage from 1929 Congress
    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 October 2020