Guidelines for Professional Library/Information Educational Programs – 2012

by Kerry Smith, Gillian Hallam and S.B. Ghosh on behalf of IFLA’s Education and Training Section


Fourth revised draft, 2012

These guidelines were ensorsed by IFLA’s Professional Committee in August 2012.

Note: Translations of the Guidelines can be found at the bottom of this webpage.  (

Executive Summary

These guidelines replace the last significant revision in 2000 and incorporate the inclusion of material in library school curricula that reflects the developments in the provision of library and information services in the 21st century.  They set the framework for the necessary objectives for library and information educational programmes: the requirements of core and useful curriculum elements to be included in teaching programmes, the faculty, staff and student requirements for these programmes and the need for the programmes to be well supported by information and other resources.


Library/information educational programmes have a long and distinguished history. In the past, they have focused on developing physical collections of books and other materials in library buildings staffed by people who have learned to select, acquire, organise, retrieve and circulate these materials. Today library information educational programmes extend beyond the physical collections and buildings to the virtual world of the Internet. Today the  concentration is on information provision to users in a variety of contexts, public, private and third sector; users who may not be necessarily able or willing to enter the library building or environment. Collaboration with partners within the sector – archives, museums and records management – is increasingly evident, so inclusion in programmes of an awareness of common issues is appropriate. Educational programmes are offered at the technical level, at the graduate and professional level, and at the research and doctoral level. The guidelines offered here primarily address the graduate and undergraduate levels, both of which lead to  professional qualification.

The last significant revision of these Guidelines was in 2000.  Since then many issues have confronted the profession of librarianship, not the least of which has been the embedding of the Internet and other digital technologies and all they bring with them into the daily lives of many of our communities.    This has brought a thrust by some library schools to adopt an iSchool philosophy in competition with the more traditional, yet  still valid, library educational approaches of colleague schools, often in the same country.  Additionally, it has become apparent that many of the instructional and knowledge bases that education in librarianship needs to also cover the boundaries of other kindred professions, for example in archival, museum and records management studies.  There was also a need to address the omission of  indigenous matters in the knowledge base of educational programmes.

The IFLA Education and Training Standing Committee appointed sub committee to oversee the development of another revision of the document.   The members were Professor Gillian Hallam, Professor. S.B. Ghosh and Associate Professor Kerry Smith.  That revision is presented below.

Associate Professor Kerry Smith, FALIA
Convenor, IFLA SET Guidelines sub committee, July 2012


The aim of these Guidelines is to provide library and information studies/science (LIS) schools around the world with a set of guiding principles of preferred practice to use when establishing and running their educational programmes.  The Guidelines provide a framework for review and improvement in these programmes as well as design new programmes, and can be used as a practical tool for comparison.  They should also be used when designing new educational programmes for the library and information service sectors.

It is recognised that some countries will have wider educational standards that need to be adhered to, and that professional associations within the discipline areas in different countries will also have educational policy statements that LIS schools need to adhere to, particularly for accreditation purposes.  It is expected that the principles in this set of Guidelines will form the basis for such national accreditation requirement.


The Guidelines comprise:

G1 The larger framework
G2 Core elements to be covered in LIS programmes
G3 Curriculum
G4 Faculty and staff
G5 Students
G6 Support
G7 Instructional resources and facilities.

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