The Social Sciences Libraries Section (SocSci) in cooperation with Reference and Information Services Section (RISS) are hosting an ignite talks session “Bringing Back Patrons to the Library: Promoting Community and In-Person Programming in Digital World” at the 2023 IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 21-25 August 2023.

Paper proposals are due 23 April 2023 —

As a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, many library activities transitioned to remote services – with overwhelming success. Over the past two years, activities and services have returned to normal. Most of us are back working in the office. Our patrons are slowly returning to our buildings. Remote services, however, are here to stay. While these online and virtual services allow all types of libraries to continue to meet the varying needs of their communities, social interactions continue to decrease and some patrons remain isolated. There is a need, now more than ever, for libraries to bring back our patrons to the library to promote social engagement and community. How are you bringing back your patrons?  

The suggested topics may include under the main theme:

  • Finding the balance: innovative remote services and in-person interactions 
  • Do Digital Services impact the isolation of our patrons? How?
  • How are libraries trying to mitigate isolation?
  • How are libraries promoting community, collaboration, and/or interpersonal connection?

We are looking for paper proposals that focus on solving the question:

  • In what ways are librarians and libraries supporting community and collaboration while still promoting remote services?
  • How is management ensuring employees feel like they’re part of the organization?
  • How do libraries help reduce feelings of isolation and disconnectedness?
  • How to construct a hybrid Library, combining physical & digital library collections, as long as the cutting-edge technologies (such as AI, chat GPT and etc.)
  • Tools for bringing together people

This session will bring together library professionals who are concerned with problems of digital and physical Interaction. Participants can expect to be engaged in a conversation about how libraries are supporting in-person programming and/or promoting community, collaboration, and interpersonal connection. We aim to find how libraries solve these social science problems that accompany the digital society across the globe.

We will invite the selected speakers to share their collaborative experiences discussed and presented during this session to the future Database of the Best Practice to be published on the Section website.

This session falls under the category of ‘Ignite talks’ and would last approximately 60 minutes in total. We are expecting fast-paced presentations with speakers restricted to 20 slides at exactly 20 seconds per slide (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total). This format is also known as ‘pecha-kucha’. A 30-minute Q&A, in the same room, would follow the presentations.

If accepted, a full paper can be submitted for inclusion on the IFLA website. Further details will be provided on acceptance.

Important Dates & Deadlines:

  • 23 April 2023  – Deadline for submission of detailed abstract/proposal of no longer than 500 words, and additional information including:
    • contact information for the first author,
    • all authors & institutional affiliations,
    • confirmation of understanding that the presenter is responsible for conference registration and all expenses associated with attendance and that they can meet all future deadlines.
    • Please submit all abstracts/proposals via the special form (see below)
    • If you have any technical problems please contact via e-mail

Receipt of all submissions will be confirmed.

  • 19 May 2023 – Notification to authors about the status of a submission.
  • 05 June 2023 – Submission of the full text of the paper (optional)
  • 04 August 2023 – Submission of accompanying PowerPoint slides for presentation via email

Please note:

  • At least one of the paper’s authors must be present to summarize the paper during the program in Rotterdam. Abstracts are to be submitted only with the understanding that the expenses of attending the conference will be the responsibility of the author(s)/presenter(s) of accepted papers.
  • The language of the session is expected to be English.
  • All papers presented at the WLIC 2023 will be available online under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
  • All papers must be unpublished and not previously presented.
  • Authors must disclose whether they submit this proposal to another WLIC 2023 session.
  • Authors of accepted papers must complete the IFLA Authors’ Permission Form.
  • All expenses, including registration for the conference, travel, accommodations, etc., are the responsibility of the authors/presenters. IFLA does not provide any financial support.

Congress Participation Grants

List of opportunities for support is available on the Apply for Grants & Awards webpage

Please get your paper proposals in now, or forward this news update to colleagues who may have something to contribute!