International Alliance of Research Library Associations

Advancing and promoting a shared understanding of the major challenges and opportunities faced by modern research libraries


IARLA is a platform for collaboration amongst its members, who work together on a voluntary basis to develop agreed positions in support of an emerging international research library agenda and open scholarship.

The Alliance is governed by its founding membership of five research library organisations, and operates presently as an informal network without incorporated status or membership fees.

IARLA news

IARLA Terms of Reference

Appreciating that research is international, and that we share an interest in developing a trusted global knowledge commons for open scholarship, the International Alliance of Research Library Associations (IARLA) exists to advance and promote a shared understanding of the major challenges and opportunities faced by modern research libraries.

Formed in 2016, the Alliance is a coalition of several prominent academic and research library associations. Members acknowledge that research libraries must work collaboratively at appropriate scale regionally and internationally in order to foster and facilitate research. The Alliance will seek agreed positions on a range of cross border, cross domain and cross disciplinary matters central to the research enterprise. Its focus is on the development of an at-scale, collaborative environment by:

  • Advocating the value of and supporting openness in research and scholarly communications
  • Making a significant contribution to research strategy, policy and outcomes through collaboration
  • Catalysing information sharing and promoting best and innovative practice where appropriate.

In an environment in which proposals for the best way to support these activities are being regularly advanced and contested by many parties, the Alliance will focus its efforts on securing maximum efficiency and value to the research community and its funding sources, within a trusted infrastructure, on the basis of a shared international understanding.

IARLA’s founding members are the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL-ABRC), Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL), LIBER, and Research Libraries UK (RLUK). The Alliance is informal and membership is regularly reviewed.

Activities of the Alliance include:

  • identifying priorities for international research library attention via its member associations’ governance structures,
  • commissioning evidence-based research as appropriate to assist in its shared understanding of complex issues and contested approaches, and
  • brokering international partnerships among stakeholders to concentrate on at-scale international solutions.

Founding members