UNAL was established in 1990 to promote co-operation among public libraries to build international understanding and to establish contacts between libraries of the North and of the South.

UNAL's principal objective is to encourage libraries that are open to the public to undertake activities in UNESCO’s fields such as the promotion of human rights and peace, cultural dialogue, protection of the environment, fight against illiteracy, etc. Over 500 libraries around the world are members of the Network.

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