Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to describe the current status of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and outline the challenges it faces in the current environment.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper is descriptive, based on published literature, internal sources and participant observation.
Findings – IFLA, an international non-governmental organisation founded in 1927, has a history of steady growth, which repeatedly necessitated structural adjustments and innovations. The pace of change accelerated in the 1970s, when IFLA reached out to the developing countries to become a truly international organisation. As IFLA entered the new millennium the rapid changes taking place in the environment of libraries gave rise to much rethinking of its structures, procedures and practices, including its membership, aims and values, governance and structure, core programmes, annual conference and advocacy. A re-conceptualisation of IFLA based on three pillars – society, profession, and members – is proving useful in rethinking IFLA's future.
Originality/value – An up-to-date account of IFLA, of potential value to IFLA members and institutions considering membership.