Here you can find ideas from different sources to do with your sister library. In case that any funding is necessary for the activities, that will be a matter that will have to be defined by the libraries themselves and their administrations.


Cooperation through International Partnerships. By Nancy Bolt

Former Chair, American Library Association
International Relations Round Table
Sister Libraries Committee
IV Congreso Nacional de Bibliotecas Públicas, La Coruña, España, 2008 September

Exchange Library Information:

  • maintain regular contact between library staff
  • share basic information about each library
  • share long range plans, public relations documents, and programming ideas
  • exchange staff newsletters
  • send a scrapbook, slide presentation, CD, or link to a YouTube video to your Sister Library
  • set up an evaluation mechanism to help both libraries celebrate their successes and learn from their experiences.

Exchange Library resources: 

  • genealogical information if appropriate
  • local newspapers, cultural materials, bibliographies, artifacts
  • books based on a profile of what the Sister Library wants
  • agree to answer relevant reference questions for each other
  • agree to provide free searches and electronic ILLs to your partner.

Share library training programs: 

  • share access to web-based online training programs
  • share training materials, syllabi, handouts, workbooks.

Share library programs and exhibits: 

  • create a bulletin board display with photos of your Sister Library, its staff and users
  • hold real-time discussions or participate in each others programs through Skype
  • organize a cross-country “read the same book” discussion for teens or adults; pick a specific topic to focus on such as health or art and share resources and programs
  • exchange children’s artwork and do displays in both countries with photographs of the children.

Share cultural events:

  • celebrate each other’s national holidays and displays and programs
  • schedule native speakers who are living in their partner country to give in-person presentations and slide shows
  • sponsor displays of quality arts and crafts or historical documents from your local community.

Assist in library development:

  • agree to provide free searches and electronic ILLs to your partner
  • offer to purchase resources that are difficult to purchase in your Sister Library’s country
  • assist with solving a library or community problem such as health care or art preservation by donating your library’s resources and expertise.

Bring recognition of the partnership thorough publicity:

  • publicize your Sister Library status via your library newsletter and at speaking engagements at NGOs like Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, and library association meetings
  • give interview and photo opportunities to media and share these with your Sister Library.

Develop personal contacts:

  • organize a pen-pan (now key-pals) for library staff and users to learn about each other as individuals
  • arrange for exchanges between library staff
  • organize a delegation of staff and community members to visit the Sister Library


IFLA. Sister Libraries for Children’s and Young Adult’s Reading

Librarians can:

  • share ideas on library programs for children and YA
  • share information about practical issues related to children’s and YA’s reading: classification, room design, technical issues…
  • share difficulties related to children’s and  YA reading, and try to think and find solutions together
  • exchange information on good books; set up a children and YA books reading committee and exchange book reviews
  • help each other select and buy good books
  • share the good moments: exchange photos of activities and evens
  • exchange professional training
  •  exchange of staff for a short period

Librarians, with readers, can develop joint programmes:

  • exchange photos and information on the library and the users, to display on a board (or virtual visits, if possible)
  • reading clubs where the same books are read (could be books about/from the other country)
  • youth expression programs
  • programs for the promotion of boys’ reading
  • programs for babies and toddlers
  • select and display books and information about the sister library country
  • write texts, illustrate them and publish them jointly

And some more we can think of…

Share library programs and exhibits

  • To share photos of the city where the library is situated, life in the city, local customs in Flickr, Picasa, Facebook page of the library, etc.
  • To organize virtual exhibitions with pictures of our sister library (about the city, the people, local holidays, etc.
  • To schedule book clubs in the mother tongue of the sister library’s country, promoting the use of online forums or other ways to communicate, like Skype.

Share cultural events

  • To have in Youtube or similar cultural events celebrated in the libraries, for examples, marathons of tales, reading promotion activities, etc.
  • To conduct contests for the user, under the guidance of our sister library, such ‘Do you know the country of our sister library?” or ‘Approach to the country, etc.’ with question or sets of clues about the country, the customs or classic literary works.
  • To celebrate together Europe Day, 9th May
  • To organize  performances of selected plays from our sister library’s country
  • To organize film forums and talks with selected movies from our sister library’s country
  • Literary contest of tales, stories, poems in the sister library’s mother tongue or related to the local customs or culture.

 Assist in library development

  • To share reading guides with your sister library.
  • To incentivate debates about professional topics, for instance creating a listserv for the librarians involved in the sister libraries projects.

Bring recognition of the partnership through publicity

  • To publicize your sister library or some projects in the social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Tuenti, MySpace, etc.

Develop personal contacts

  • To organize a contact list of users interested in learning the mother tongue of your sister library.
  • To organize professional exchanges between library staff during a limited period of time. (In this case, it would be convenient to sign a specific agreement)

Exchange library resources

  • Donation of duplicate books that can be of interest to your sister library (the acquisition could be difficult in the other country). The donor library can organize a flea-market to pay the postages.