In 2000, the “100 Booksellers of the World” initiative, taken by Paris-based France Édition (which later became the Bureau International de l’Édition Française), with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, brought together around a hundred booksellers at the Paris 2020 Book Fair, a meeting in which Librairie Ikirezi was involved. These types of meetings provide an opportunity for professional exchanges between booksellers and strengthen their relations with professionals in the book chain.
The idea of creating an international association of French-speaking booksellers took shape in October 2001 during an inter-professional symposium in Beirut (Lebanon) devoted to “the bookshop in the French-speaking world, challenges and prospects” organised by the Agence intergouvernementale de la francophonie (now the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie) and France Édition, on the initiative of French-speaking booksellers, including Librairie Ikirezi. A group of booksellers was formed and would start working on a proposal for the statutes of such a professional association.
On 27 March 2002, the International Association of French-speaking Booksellers (AILF) was created in Paris, at the headquarters of the Agence Intergouvernementale de la Francophonie. Forty booksellers from thirty countries representing all the continents of our world.
Librairie Ikirezi is a founding member of the AILF and its Director was a member of the Board of Directors for about ten years.
The AILF’s aim is the development and promotion of the French language and French-speaking cultures through the networking of French-speaking bookshops throughout the world.
The association’s primary objective was to break the isolation of French-speaking booksellers, which is linked to the conditions in which they work. Thanks to years of awareness-raising by the affiliated booksellers, the administrators of the board of directors and the AILF coordination office in Paris, today the association has become a network of around a hundred booksellers from a wide variety of backgrounds and countries on a global scale.
A real space for discussion, debate and meetings, the bookshop is a place that promotes exchange and cultural development. In this, booksellers play a fundamental role in the dissemination of knowledge, the evolution of humanity and intercultural exchange. In addition to the dissemination of a dense and diversified heritage, booksellers in their countries organise cultural and social events.
The AILF also aims to develop lasting relationships between all the players in the book chain: authors, publishers, librarians, cultural facilitators, etc.