Timeline (older)


  • March. Revised draft circulates in the expert group
    • Final draft sent to IFLA before Easter
  • Jan-Feb. Complete draft of curriculum circulates for comments



  • Three day workshop of experts at IFLA HQ in the Hague –  Dec 8-10 (Tue-Thu).
    • Included add-on meetings on Global statistics phase 2 and on the Section’s one day event in Gothenburg (see above)

Sep – Nov

  • Gather and publish information – in the field of statistics for library advocacy
    • on practitioners
    • on publications and
    • on educational resources
  • Contact and invite experts
  • Make/circulate rough draft of curriculum


  • On August 25 the working group – plus Michael Heaney and Roswitha Poll – met with Stuart Hamilton and Fiona Bradley.
    • IFLA is now developing a coherent series of training modules for competence building in the library associations. Hamilton  invited the section to develop a learning module on the collection and use of statistics within that frame work.  The structure and basic content of the module – of about 25-30 pages – should be established by a working group of experts within a few months. Fiona Bradley would be the link to the IFLA HQ.
  • On August 22, at the IFLA conference in Milan, the IFLA Statistics and Evaluation Section(SES) appointed three persons  from the section to continue its work on the promotion of global library statistics in cooperation with IFLA headquarters.
    • The  group consists of: Antoni Feliu Oller (Spain, 09-13 member of SES); Colleen Cook (US, 07-11 chair of SES); Tord Høivik (Norway, 07-11 member of SES ) with Tord Høivik as chair.

See also Michael Heaney’s blog from the conference



  • IFLA’s advocacy framework for the period 2009-2011 was endorsed by IFLA GB in December 2008. This framework links our representational advocacy with training and awareness raising actions, and brings together advocacy activities across the whole IFLA family. Professional Development, Political Advocacy and Community Advocacy are the areas in which training and awareness raising will take place. This will be supported by an extensive Statistics and Advocacy Tools Program, and all will feed into our future sustainability. Source: IFLA Presidential newsletter no. 1, 2009.


  • After the Montreal Conference, Marcela Fishimi, with the collaboration of  Romina De Lorenzo created  a  committee  to coordinate a program to redefine  the statistics  and to revise the gathering process  for all university libraries in Argentina.


  • The new measures and the results of the trial were presented at the  IFLA post-conference ‘Library Statistics for the 21st Century World’ (French), held from 18–19 August 2008 in Montreal, the location of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics,.
    • The topic of the conference was widened to include the use of quantitative and qualitative data for the management and promotion of libraries.
    • The meeting attracted 83 experts on library statistics and quality measures.
    • The papers and results of the conference have been published in the IFLA Publications series.



  • In a second meeting of the project group in January 2007 in Oxford, the partners decided to test the dataset in Latin America and the Caribbean and to present the results in an IFLA post-conference in Montreal in 2008.
    • The group also devised a list of performance indicators, setting the measures in the dataset in relation to socio-demographic data collected by the UNESCO Institute and other international agencies. The next months were spent on preparing the trial in Latin America and the Caribbean.



  • The ISO meeting in May 2006 resulted  in a detailed list with definitions, based on the international standard ISO 2789. The list was then discussed and enlarged or shortened (as such lists usually are) in the IFLA Section’s meeting in Seoul in August 2006.


  • The Section decided to pursue new reliable ‘global’ library statistics.  The first step was a grant from IFLA for an initial meeting of section members with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics in Montreal in January 2006.
    • The Section instituted a project group of section members: Michael Heaney, Oxford (till 2007 Chair, 07-09 Secretary of the Section); Pierre Meunier, Montreal (responsible for contacts in Montreal); Roswitha Poll, Münster (Chair of ISO TC 46 SC 8, responsible for cooperation with ISO) .
    • The first project meeting was in January 2006 in Montreal. The UNESCO Institute was represented by Simon Ellis ((Head of Science Culture and Communications Statistics) and his colleagues Lydia Deloumeaux and S. Venkatraman.
    • There was consensus on the following issues: to proceed in the direction of a minimum statistical dataset; to restrict the project to public and academic libraries; to rely on the pool of well-tested and precisely defined statistics available in the international standard ISO 2789.3
    • The meeting produced a first list of possible measures, which Roswitha Poll was commissioned to take to the appropriate ISO group for further work.


  • The initiative started at IFLA 2004 in Buenos Aires when the IFLA President and President-elect visited the Statistics and Evaluation Section.
    • They needed library data for the World Summit on the Information Society and asked the section to identify ‘robust’ global library statistics for that purpose.
  • A study undertaken by Teresa Hackett for IFLA prior to the Geneva round of the World Summit on the Information Society, and compiled primarily from UNESCO and LIBECON data, had already revealed the incompleteness and weakness – and the diminishing relevance – of the available library statistics.
    • The UNESCO Division of Statistics published three series of library statistics on a rolling triennial basis: national libraries, other major non-specialized libraries and public libraries. The most recent (as of September 2005) was Libraries of Institutions of Tertiary Education, 1996–2000.
    • The basis for UNESCO’s collecting activity was the Recommendation Concerning the International Standardization of Library Statistics adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in 1970. The data which were gathered emphasized collections, buildings and simple usage figures.
    • The pervasiveness of electronic information resources has reduced the ability of such traditional statistics to refl ect the provision of information to the world’s citizens.
    • The traditional statistics are also not best suited to demonstrating the impact and outcome of libraries.
  • The LIBECON project, undertaken by the UK Institute of Public Finance with funding from the European Union, provided more detailed information for Europe and included figures from a few countries outside Europe. In addition to the UNESCO data, it collected data on, among other things, virtual usage, seating, workstations and sources of funding.
    • Although the results of the project are maintained on the LIBECON website, the project itself is now finished and not likely to be renewed.


The timeline is based on information from IFLA, from Pierre Meunier, from a first discussion in the working group in Milan, and from the article Global Library Statistics by Simon Ellis, Michael Heaney, Pierre Meunier and Roswitha Poll in  IFLA Journal, Vol. 35, No. 2, 123-130 (2009)


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