In the aftermath of World War II, representatives from five European countries met in Amsterdam to discuss a new international booksellers' organization. Its goal was to foster friendship and understanding and to encourage international peace through open markets. By September 1948, ten countries had joined and ILAB/LILA was formally incorporated in Copenhagen. Today's League retains its original official languages, English and French, and now consists of twenty-two national associations representing some thirty-seven countries and around 1700 individual bookselling firms.
The main objectives of the League are to uphold and advance technical and ethical standards, to encourage international trade, and to contribute to a broader appreciation of the history and art of the book. Affiliated booksellers worldwide adhere to ILAB's strict Code of Usages and Customs requiring books and related material to be accurately and professionally described and to guarantee the authenticity and genuineness of all material for sale.
ILAB provides a framework whereby members of national antiquarian booksellers' associations can exhibit at each others' rare book fairs across the globe. These fairs include the world's most important, from Melbourne and Tokyo to Brussels, London, New York, Paris, Stockholm, and Stuttgart - and this list is not complete. All exhibiting booksellers must be an affiliate of the international ILAB network and thereby guarantee the quality of stock and expertise they offer at the fair.