May 21, 2022

“Thank You: IFLA Celebrates the Work of Global Libraries” (After 21 Years, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries Programme Has Closed Its Doors)

From a Statement by IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) IFLA Secretary General, Gerald Leitner,

2019-01-09_09-49-39After 21 years, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries Programme has closed its doors. IFLA, on behalf of the entire global library field, would like to give thanks not only for its contributions to date, but for the immense impact it will continue to have into the future.

We believe that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s 1997 decision to establish a dedicated programme for libraries will be seen by future historians of our field as a major moment.


Thanks to its visionary leadership and dedicated staff, Global Libraries has done so much to deliver on its mission to improve lives and strengthen libraries. IFLA acknowledges Deborah Jacobs as the driving force, not only of the Global Libraries team, but for change across the library field. IFLA itself was a beneficiary of funding that allowed it to develop the Building Strong Library Associations programme and pursue advocacy at the highest levels.

Now, we are at another major moment. With the closure of the Global Libraries programme, we say goodbye to one of the greatest allies our sector has ever known.  IFLA President, Glòria Pérez-Salmerón said, “While the closing of the Programme marks the end of an amazing phase in the development of libraries, I am confident that its missions, vision and energy will live on, and make a lasting difference to our institutions and the people they serve.”

Read the Complete Statement (approx. 550 w0rds)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.