The Associazione Italiana Biblioteche (AIB – Italian Library Association) may be said to date from 1930, when an “Italian Association of Librarians” – Associazione dei Bibliotecari Italiani – was founded. Two years later the Associazione dei Bibliotecari Italiani became the Associazione Italiana Biblioteche. It has its headquarters in Rome, Viale Castro Pretorio 105, inside the National Library “Vittorio Emanuele II”.
The aims of the Italian Library Association, as specified in its Statute, are:
– to support the organization and development in Italy of libraries and of a library service taking more and more into account the needs of users;
– to act as a professional representative in all cultural, scientific, technical, legal and legislative spheres, on any matter which may concern a better organization of library and documentation services;
– to promote, support and develop any action useful to ensure a qualified professional education;
– to provide their own members with scientific and technical aids for continuing professional education;
– to contribute in every place to directions and decisions of library policy;
– to promote the observance of the ethical principles of the library profession;
– to defend the dignity and the professional specificity of librarians.
The AIB has been the major advocate of encouraging the development of Italian library services, to augment professional awareness and to promote involvement in the activities of international organisations. It is financed by membership fees, sales of publications, training courses and other kinds of sponsorship.
The Association numbers over 4.000 members, personal and institutional. Corporate bodies account for some 15% of total membership. Membership is also open to foreign libraries and librarians, but foreign institutions, as all corporate bodies and students or friends of libraries, are not allowed to vote in the General Assembly and elections. The annual membership fees are:
– 55,00 euros for personal members;
– 130,00 euros for institutions;
– 25,00 euros for students.
The AIB institutional structure is composed by a National Executive Committee, which has seven members and is supported by the Board of Auditors, and the Board of Arbitrators. The CEN is complemented by regional executive committees, which, in line with CEN itself, are elected every three years.
AIB regional branches have great autonomy, both financially and in decision-making. They prepare their independent activity programs, in accordance, however, with the programmatic guidelines put forward by the National Executive Committee.
The National Council of Regional presided over by the AIB President, maintains a key role in co-ordinating the activities of regional branches and supporting the CEN in its national decisions.
The supreme governing body of the Italian Library Association is the General Assembly, usually held once a year at the National Conference. The General Assembly approves the annual programme of activities and the budget.
The aims, as worded in the Statute, are pursued by congresses and conferences, scientific activities, standing committees and studygroups.
The study and working groups carry out significant research and action at a national level concerning important aspects of librarianship. The standing committees are established in order to put into practice the statutory aims of the Association, whilst the workinggroups focus their actions on scientific themes, professional issues of relevance or which are topical at the time, and on finite projects.
The committees active during the 2008-2011 period are as follows:
The AIB, being the representative association of professional librarians, manages and updates the Register of Italian Chartered Librarians. The registration attests the professional competence of those listed and, simultaneously, is an assurance to users. The register now includes some 750 certified members.
Additionally, the AIB is one of the prominent publishers for library and information sciences . The principal series titles are:
The AIB organises an annual National Congress, which, in 2008, reached its 55th year. The Congress has become an important event within the sector, due to the various scientific events and to the concurrent organisation of a professional and library services exhibition. Additionally, the Association organises and takes part in various scientific congresses and conferences, both at national and international level.
With regard to scientific activities, the Association organizes annually training courses for information workers and study visits abroad. Its national headquarters, located in Rome, offer members a specialised library of up to 8000 volumes, 90 current periodicals, photographic, audio and visual materials, besides its archival resources of great importance to the history of the Association.
The main political aims of the Association are: active lobbying for libraries and librarians, for a new National Libraries Act and for the legal recognition of librarianship as a profession; advocacy at all levels of government about funding, copyright, intellectual freedom, and other policy issues that shall shape libraries and public access to information.
AIB has always been deeply involved in the field of copyright and access to cultural heritage, moving from the consideration that issues which involve public interest, long-term strategies and the protection of fundamental rights (right to social inclusion and to equal opportunities, right to education and learning, freedom of research and teaching, freedom of expression, and so on) should not be subject to negotiations without previously establishing the legal framework aimed at the right balance of different interests.
The Association’s official web-site, AIB-WEB  provides material and documents related to the Association’s activities, together with information on libraries and librarianship. A useful available resource is the inventory of Italian OPAC, which, in 1999, formed the basis for the start of MAI, a meta-opac capable of simultaneously searching over 330 catalogues. Another service available is “Segnaweb”, an inventory of web-sites selected by Italian librarians, which provides helpful resources for libraries and the general public.
The AIB supports important projects, amongst which is “Nati per leggere”  – “Born to read”. A joint project involving the Associazione Italiana Biblioteche, the Associazione Culturale Pediatri (Cultural Association of Paediatricians) and the Centro per la Salute del Bambino (Centre for Children’s Health), “Nati per leggere” promotes reading aloud to children aged between zero to six years.
At an international level, the AIB is a member of IFLA and its delegates take part in the IFLA Standing Committees. It is worth noting that the founding of IFLA came about in Rome, during the First World Congress of Libraries and Bibliographies, in 1929.
After 80 years Italy will host again in Milan the World Library and Information Congress: 75th IFLA General Conference and Assembly “Libraries create futures: building on cultural heritage”.
The AIB is one of the founding members of EBLIDA and one of its delegates has been elected to the EBLIDA Executive Committee.
The AIB – as a partner of the projects ABSIDE and Minerva – actively co-operates with the European Union.
The AIB has taken part proactively for the campaign in favour of libraries: “@ your library®”. This successful venture, launched in 2001, aims at promoting public awareness and advocating the valuable and wider role libraries play within their communities.
The AIB has given its unconditional support, and the 2004 Congress awarded a prize to the Italian library which carried out the most successful project connected to “@lla tua biblioteca®”