The mission of the Estonian Librarians Association is to help preserve Estonian national identity through appreciation, preservation, development and acknowledgement of libraries in Estonia.

The vision of the Estonian Librarians Association is to bring together different types of libraries and librarians while acting as a policymaker, treasurer and moderator of information. The Association is a trustworthy partner for the state, civil societies and the private sector.

The Estonian Librarians Association today 


The Estonian Librarians Association is a voluntary organisation which unites active library and information workers and other persons who are interested in librarianship. 800 librarians have joined this professional organisation by 2017, incl. six honorary members.
ELA is member of the IFLA since 1928.


The highest body of the ELA is the General Meeting of its members. The General Meeting is competent to amend the articles of association and to approve annual reports. The Meeting elects the president and the members of the Board, and evaluates their activities.

The ELA is presided by a board of nine members. The only person on payroll is the office manager.




The Association organizes events to introduce libraries for the wider public.
Yearly highlights for the Association are the Annual Meeting and the Forum in February and the Library Days in October. The Forum discusses subjects relevant to libraries and librarians.

The Library Days in October bring librarians together from both small and bigger libraries in different locations in Estonia. We find out the

library team with biggest knowledge of Estonian literature and the librarian with best professional skills in searching on Internet. The Library Days always hosts the Day of the Estonian Book, the Day of Rural Librarian, seminar of the Research and Special Libraries.

Summer camps for rural and school libraries, seminars, information days, Congresses of Estonian and Baltic librarians are held periodically and regularly.

Some of the topics of Library Days:

Let's Meet at the Library
Let's Meet at the Library
Let's Meet at the Library

Let's Meet at the Library

Let's Meet at the Library


Let's Meet at the Library

Let's Meet at the Library


Let's Meet at the Library

Let's Me et at the Library

Let's Meet at the Library


Yes to Reading


“A nations roots are in her books”
(Hando Runnel)


It Counts what you Read     


Congresses of Estonian Librarians
The 1st Congress in 1923. Since 1988 congress is held every 5 years.
The last, 10th Congress was held in Pärnu in 20013. The 11th Congress will take place in October 2018.

Congresses of the Librarians of the Baltic States
A tradition since 1930, held every five years in different countries. The last, 9th Congress, “Reading in Digital Age” took place in Lithuania in October, 2011.

Biographical database of Estonian librarianship ERBA comprises  personal and bibliographical information on people who have given much effort and been successful in Estonian librarianship for a long time.


Annual Award (since 1990)
is given to a librarian for successful and remarkable activities

Prize of Merit (since 1991)
is given for long-time outstanding and productive activities in the library field

The Ivi Tingre Ring (since 1995)
is given to the most outstanding Estonian librarian in active service

Friedrich Puksoo Award (since 1990)
is given jointly with Tartu University Library to an author of best publication in the field of book history, book science, librarianship and bibliography

The Bibliography Award (since 1999)
is given jointly with the Tallinn University Academic Library

The Rural Librarian of the Year (since 2001)
is given to a rural librarian to appreciate and acknowledge a librarian’s vocational work at the library and at fostering loca cultural life

The Children´s Librarian of the Year (since 2009)
is given to a librarian to appreciate and acknowledge the librarian’s work with children, for developing children’s reading habits andinformation acquiring competence and helping keep the libraries’ reputation high

The School Librarian of the Year (since 2009)
is given to a school librarian for effective and outstanding work at their school library and/or in Estonian librarianship

Research Libraries Deed of the Year (since 2008)
is given to a librarian or a team from a science library for activities that have remarkably developed librarianship, raised awareness and reputation for libraries

Special Libraries Deed of the Year (since 2008)
is given to a librarian or a team from a special library for outstanding activities in the field of librarianship and who have raised the reputation of libraries in the society

Town Libraries Deed of the Year (since 2011)
is given to a librarian or a team working at a town or central library to acknowledge librarians for their efforts in both vocational and local cultural life

Press Award (since 2011)
is given to a journalist who has drawn noteworthy attention to librarianship in the media. Special attention is paid to efficacy, actuality and thoroughness in the writing about the topic

Librarian Professional Qualification

Requirements in the system of professional qualification in Estonia are defined on five levels. Level I is the lowest and level V the highest.

Not all professions require determining the level of professional standard in the range from I to V. The specific qualification standards are set, and if necessary, also the specific educational needs are established, for each particular profession by a professional council. The first professional standard for librarians was approved by the Librarians’ Professional Council on December 8, 2003 for Librarian III, IV and V. The present professional standard containing Librarian Professional Qualification III, IV and V was ratified on December 5, 2007 by the Professional Council of Culture.

Estonian Librarians Association is an awarding body of vocational qualifications. Professional Qualifications Committee is formed by the Estonian Librarians Association and 830 professional certificates were awarded from 2005–2011.


In the years 1923-1940 the Estonian Librarians Association published the only professional library journal in Estonia, „Raamatukogu“ (Library). From 1989 the Estonian Librarians Association publishes it in cooperation with the National Library of Estonia.

Since 1990 the ELA Yearbook has been regularly published. 

  • The Yearbook of the Estonian Librarains Association 2018: Summaries
  • The Yearbook of the Estonian Librarains Association 2017: Summaries
  • The Yearbook of the Estonian Librarains Association 2016: Summaries
  • The Yearbook of the Estonian Librarains Association 2015: Summaries
  • The Yearbook of the Estonian Librarains Association 2014: Summaries
  • The Yearbook of the Estonian Librarians Association 2013 : Summaries
  • The Yearbook of the Estonian Librarians Association 2012 : Summaries
  • The Yearbook of the Estonian Librarians Association 2011 : Summaries
  • The Yearbook of the Estonian Librarians Association 2010 : Summaries

A Brief History

The founding congress of the Estonian Librarians Association was held in February 1923 in Tallinn, with the participation of 54 librarians from all over the country. The congress was the first attempt to unite librarians in order to improve the quality of librarianship in Estonia.
The Association had only 17 years, from 1923 until 1940, to take action before the Second World War, and they started practically from zero: at that time the university offered no degree in librarianship in Estonia, there existed no state network of libraries and the libraries did not have their own buildings or rooms or financing. At schools and in the local communities librarians worked without salary. The first undertaking of the Association was to organize training courses for librarians. That began in 1924, and until 1940 they managed to give 36 courses.

A difficult task for the Association was to prepare the Libraries Act for the Parliament, which was passed in 1924. The Act stated that one copy of every publication printed in Estonia is to be sent to the Tallinn City Library. Thanks to this new law, the collections of the Tallinn libraries came to be well provided. The Libraries Act set a firm ground for the development of public libraries and made books easily accessible for everyone at the libraries.
In the 1920s the Estonian Ministry of Education created a position for an advisor who, besides other responsibilities addressed problems dealing with libraries.

In 1923 the Association started publishing their own journal which was, and still is called "Raamatukogu" (The Library).

The Soviet invasion put an end to the Association’s existence, but a department for libraries worked under the Ministry of Culture and studies in librarianship became available at the university. A network of libraries was created all over Estonia.

The year 1988, in the time of the “Singing Revolution” and “Perestroika”, a few years before independence, was a very lively period in Estonia when many societies and associations were newly created or brought back to life after having been prohibited under the Soviet regime. Such was the case also with the Estonian Librarians Association. ELA was among the first organisations that restarted their work when favourable conditions emerged after the end of the Soviet occupation. In the twenty years that followed, a lot has changed. But the mission of the Association has not: promotion of librarianship, development of vocational education for librarians and the protection of vocational interests of librarians were set as goals of the Association already in the first statutes that was passed at the first congress in 1923. These goals have remained the priority of the Association until this day.

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ERÜ aasta- ja kõnekoosolek
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RAA+MUU koolitus