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International organizations have experienced a recent remarkable
increase in numbers. Several possible reasons for the growth of international
library associations since World War II are the following:
* Our shrinking world has caused increasing awareness of other parts
of the world with accompanying demands for access to information
Lfrom those areas.
* Growth of information and publishing throughout the world.
* Awareness through increased automation of resources in other parts
of the world.
* Growth of international business interests in the second half of the
twentieth century after the war.
* More sophisticated users who demand specialized services and increased
knowledge of the access to information resources by their librarians.
The World Guide to Library, Archive, and Information Science Associations
defines international associations as "organizations whose membership includes
two or more countries .... They may be general in nature ... or specialized..."
(Fang & Songe, 1990, p. iv). In its 1990 edition, the World Guide identified
seventy-six international associations based on the returned questionnaires
sent to each association and the compilers' knowledge of additional
associations. The World Guide notes that there were thirty-three international
associations in 1973, forty-one in 1976, fifty-eight in 1980, and seventy-six
in 1990 (p. vii). Dates of establishment are broken down in Table 1.
TABLE 1. DATES OF ASSOCIATIONS ESTABLISHED BY DECADE Decade Number of Associations Established 1895 1(*) 1927 1(**) 1930 1(***) 1940 3 1950 11 1960 17 1970 23 1980 17 No Date listed 7
(*) International Federation for Information & Documentation, FID
(**) International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions, IFLA
(***) Federation Internationale des Archives du Film, FIAF
Another reason for this growth in numbers is the development of regional and
specialized library associations. For several decades, FID (International
Federation for Information & Documentation), founded in 1895, IFLA
(International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions),
founded in 1927 and, to a certain extent, the conferences and
congresses of leading library associations, such as the American Library
Association and the Library Association (of the United Kingdom), filled
the need for librarians from around the world to meet. The World Encyclopedia
of Library and Information Services offers a detailed early
history of international library organizations, pointing out that: "One of
IFLA's major roles has been as a centralizing organization precipitating the
emergence of specialist groups that become part of its federal structure"
(Rayward, 1993, p. 386).
In fact, an analysis of the seventy-six international organizations listed
in the World Guide reveals that only six of the associations listed there
could strictly be called general and fully global. The others fall into either
regional groupings or specialized topical or professional groupings,
as shown in Table 2.
TABLE 2. REGIONAL OR SPECIALIZED TOPICAL AssOCIATIONS Regional associations (Examples: Middle East, Africa, Latin America) 13 Specialized topical or professional groupings: Agriculture 3 Archives 12 Art and Music 6 Bibliographic control 3 Library education 4 Medical and Health-related 3 Religion and Theology 3 Other specialized subjects 9 Types of libraries 10
This article will highlight five international library associations which
typify the trends. Only two of them are included in the World Guide list of
international associations. The other three illustrate important trends in
international library associations. The five associations are as follows:
1. The International Association of Technological University Libraries
(IATUL), which typifies an association of members from a specific
type of library.
2. The International Association of Agricultural Librarians and Documentalists
(MALD), now known as the International Association of
Agricultural Information Specialists, which typifies an association of
members from a specific subject area or discipline.
3. The Special Libraries Association (SLA), which fits the World Guide's
definition of international association, but which was listed incorrectly
in the national section, representing the role of the very large library
association struggling with an international identity.
4. The International Librarianship Round Table of the Arizona Library
Association (AzLA ILRT), which illustrates a trend to localize the relationship
between librarians in several countries. Associations covering
sub-areas of countries, such as state associations, were not in
the scope of the World Guide.
5. The Transborder Library Forum/Foro Transfronterizo de Bibliotecas
(Foro), which represents a unique grassroots regional development
of the 1990s.
Descriptions of each of these five associations will include historical
information about their founding; mission, purpose, and goals of the current
organization; profile of the membership components of the association;
services to its membership, such as conferences, publications, and
other forms of communication; and future plans. No formalized history
of the ILRT and little on the Foro has been written; the author has relied
on ephemeral material such as minutes, annual reports, and memoranda
to construct these sections. At the conclusion of these detailed descriptions,
some issues and trends will be identified.
FID AND IFLA,
The two international associations with the most influence in the
development of other international library associations are FID and IFLA_
This article would not be complete without a summary of the history and
influence of these "grandfather" associations.
FID, the Federation Internationale de Documentation/ International
Federation for Documentation, was founded in 1895 as the Institut International
de Bibliographie (IIB), concerning itself with the classification
of materials and particularly the development of a standard classification
scheme. Later, with the name change to FID, came a change in purpose,
enlarged to include the "organization, storage, retrieval, dissemination
and evaluation of information" (FID Preamble of Statutes, as quoted in
Keenan, 1993, p. 377). In 1990, FID had a published membership of 371
library institutions from sixty-six countries and an additional 300 affiliated
members. FID's Web site states its very general goals for the present
1. advance the frontiers of science and technology;
2. improve competitiveness of business, industry, and national economies;
3. strengthen possibilities for development …