17 June 2016
Library associations are stronger together: IFLA hosts first ever BSLA Global Meeting in Manila, Philippines
Library association leaders, IFLA leadership, staff and trainers participated in a milestone event for the Building Strong Library Associations programme in Manila, Philippines 30 May-2 June 2016. The first ever BSLA Global Meeting, hosted by IFLA in partnership with the Philippine Librarians Association (PLAI), highlighted the stories, challenges and successes from associations that have participated in the programme since the expansion of the programme to a regional model since 2014 across Africa, Asia and Oceania, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The programme has reached over 60 countries since commencing in 2010 and is continuing to work with new participants and supporters – from the newest to longer established associations, among them the Library and Information Association of Qatar, under establishment since 2014, and the Danish Library Association with a history of more than 100 years.
IFLA President Donna Scheeder inspired associations to answer the “Call to Action” and to make concrete plans to collaborate and to work to advance the library field, and to support IFLA’s Global Advocacy work. Outgoing IFLA Secretary General Jennefer Nicholson highlighted the contribution of so many people to making BSLA a success, and incoming Secretary General Gerald Leitner closed the week of activities with a presentation on the challenges facing the library field in the future and action associations need to take to respond.
In parallel to a series of workshops and activities that provided opportunities for learning about sustainability and advocacy on issues including the UN 2030 Agenda, and networking with associations within and across regions, the meeting included a substantial focus on evaluation to capture stories from projects implemented at the regional and country level, and to make recommendations about the future of BSLA. As IFLA’s flagship capacity building programme, the model includes training, mentoring, cross-country and cross-regional activities. The BSLA model is an important platform for all library associations to improve their services and to benefit all library users, and the foundation for IFLA’s global development and regional actions in the years to come. The results of the evaluation will be shared during the IFLA Congress in Columbus Ohio, at the ALP session together with stories from many of the participating associations.
The meeting achieved a number of objectives:
- Reviewed and celebrated the outcomes and impact of the programme and projects from 2014 onwards
- Supported networking between associations and activities to support continued collaboration after participating in BSLA
- Raised awareness about trends and factors that will influence the role of associations and potential for advocacy in the future
- Reviewed the programme over its lifespan since 2010 to develop a future strategy and linkages with other IFLA programmes
During the meeting, associations made presentations about their achievements as a result of implementing a BSLA project with support from IFLA. The presentations can be found here: