Regional Associations of Parliamentary Libraries


Association of Parliamentary Libraries of Australasia

The Association was formally set up on 2nd January 1984.  Membership includes the national and state parliamentary libraries of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Informal meetings were held, the first being in 1972, to discuss the establishment of a cooperative association to promote and improve library and research services to members of Parliament. The constitution for the association was drafted in 1982, establishing guidelines for subsequent conferences and meetings. 

An annual conference is held in conjunction with the Annual General Meeting with member Parliaments hosting the event on a rotational basis.  Formal papers are delivered and discussed at the annual conference, usually around a pre-determined topical theme.
The general meeting allows for discussion on common issues and provides a forum for discussing cooperative ventures and information sharing.

APLA has held specialist meetings for staff of member Parliamentary Libraries that focus on particular issues, for example media services and reference and research services.

The constitution established APLA's objectives:

  • Encourage understanding of, and co-operation between, research and information services attached to National and State Legislatures;
  • Consider any matters affecting the common interests or operations of Parliamentary Libraries;
  • Initiate, develop, establish and support ideas, methods and techniques likely to result in the better functioning of Parliamentary Libraries generally, and in particular their effective provision of information relevant to the needs of the Parliamentarians they serve;
  • Foster a clearer understanding of the respective needs and roles of Members of Parliament and their Parliamentary Libraries by establishing a forum for better communication between the two;
  • Provide a body which can speak and act on behalf of its several constituents on matters coming within the ambit of its authority; and
  • Advance the cause of Parliamentary Librarianship generally.

Conference Proceedings are usually published by the library hosting the conference. For more details see the list of Office Holders and Venues.

APLA welcomes attendance at the conference from international Parliamentary Library colleagues with prior advice of attendance.

More information on APLA and its constituent libraries can be found at its website:


APLAP Association of Parliamentary Librarians of Asia and the Pacific

The Association of Parliamentary Librarians of Asia and the Pacific (APLAP), is a regional international organization, for the purpose of promoting understanding and cooperation among Asian-Pacific parliamentary libraries, and communicating the disciplines of modernized parliamentary librarianship, congressional research as well as legislative information systems and services. The origin of this professional and interesting organization could be traced back to the Workshop of the Parliamentary Libraries Section of the General Conference of IFLA in Sydney, Australia in August 1988. In keeping with the Workshop's theme, the participants from the Asian and Pacific parliaments decided that an association should be formed to help promote cooperative activities amongst them.

More information on APLAP can be found at its website:


The Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada /
L'Association des bibliothèques parlementaires au Canada

Parliamentary libraries in Canada are linked by their membership in the
Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada (APLIC), which was
originally founded in 1975. The aim of APLIC is to support the democratic
process in Canada through the provision of high quality parliamentary
library services to legislators. APLIC’s principal objectives are to
foster communication among members concerning matters of mutual interest,
identify issues requiring research, support the preservation and
accessibility of documentary heritage relevant to legislatures in Canada,
encourage cooperation with related parliamentary officials and
organizations, and foster professional development opportunities of mutual
interest. APLIC provides a forum that supports member libraries’
day-to-day needs and highlights best practices and expertise. Eligible
members are the parliamentary/legislature libraries in Canada.

More information is available on APLIC’s public web site at:



The Association of Parliamentary Libraries of Eastern and Southern Africa (APLESA) was founded in Harare, Zimbabwe, in October 1994 when participants of eleven countries of the region met. These countries were Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The idea of forming an association had been around since 1986 as the parliamentary librarians became aware of the need for effective information exchange programmes and cooperation among the parliamentary libraries in the region. In 1990 Mr Gurure, then Chief Librarian of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, circularised his colleagues asking for their opinion about a regional association. At the 1990 IFLA Conference in Sweden Mr Gurure received considerable encouragement for this proposal, and in1992, with the assistance of IFLA and the International Development Research Centre (IRDC), feasibility study visits and a further survey were carried out leading to the inaugural meeting, funded by IFLA. At this meeting the topics discussed included a survey of Parliamentary Librarianship in the region, resource sharing among Parliaments of the region and the need for the Member of Parliament to have concise, timely and adequate information. A constitution was adopted and it was recommended that the different Parliaments should be asked to provide some funds to enable study visits, attachments, formal and informal training, collection development and attendance at Library meetings - national, regional and international. The promotion of exchange of parliamentary documents with the region was agreed as well as a regular newsletter. Since that meeting members of APLESA have kept in touch, and exchange of some material has taken place. The first APLESA Conference was held in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania in July 1995. Eleven delegates from eight countries attended and there were observers from information centres in Dar-es-Salaam.Topics discussed included the role of parliamentary libraries in multi-party states with special emphasis on the need to provide timely, up-to-date and accurate information; creation and utilisation of research services with special emphasis on the interrelationship between the Parliamentary Library and the Research Section; the need for cooperation or sharing of resources; and the role of the library in the 21st century. It was clear that there was still much work to be done in realising certain of the set goals, including the implementation of exchange programmes and the initiation of informal training programmes, but much progress had been made in establishing professional co-operation. The 1996 conference was held in Cape Town, South Africa in September 1996 with the theme, 'The functioning of a modern Parliamentary Library in Africa'. South Africa is currently the only parliamentary library in the association with access to the Internet. APLESA Executive Committee: At the  APLESA Conference in 2009, the following persons were elected to the following positions:

Simon Joseph Engitu

Vice Chairperson
Esther Kamau

Fanwell Banda

Rugambwa Innocent

Members of Executive
Marriane C Gei-Khoibes
Maxwell Banda



The initiative for cooperative meetings of the eleven Black Sea countries came originally from the Speaker of the Turkish Parliament. The first two meetings were held in. The third meeting was held in Bucharest in May 1996. The main topic had been the GLIN (Global Legislation Information Network) project and recommendations had been passed to the meeting of the secretaries-general of the Black Sea countries.


NORDIC COUNTRIES Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden

The cooperation between the Nordic parliamentary libraries started in 1922. From 1965 and onwards meetings between the Parliamentary Librarians have been held every year. The meetings are organised in turn by one of the parliamentary libraries. Topics discussed are strategic and organisational issues and technical and more practical issues. The aim is to share knowledge and best practice on all levels of library business. The staff have their meeting or study tour once every other year. The cooperation is based on an open and inclusive network for libraries within similar parliamentary traditions.



The proposal to establish an association of Parliamentary Libraries of South Asia had been mentioned during the workshop. It was hoped that there would be more to report in 1997.



Attempts to establish meetings of parliamentary librarians from Latin America and Spain had so far failed for lack of funding. The emphasis was now turning to the use of the Internet. It was hoped that there would be more positive news next year.

Library and Research Services for Parliaments

Last update: 5 October 2012