The IFLA LGBTQ+ Special Interest Group, the Advisory Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE), together with the School Library Section, and the Management of Library Associations (MLAS) are pleased to announce the upcoming international symposium on censorship and libraries under the theme:

Unshelving Voices: Empowering Libraries Against Censorship

The symposium will take place from August 6–7, 2024, as part of a week of IFLA group meetings in Mexico City from August 5–9, 2024, sponsored by the National Autonomous University of Mexico.


Censorship in libraries, including the suppression of LGBTQ materials and content, remains a pressing issue that undermines intellectual freedom, diversity, and inclusion. This kind of censorship is part of a broader context in which freedom of expression is threatened by new concerns and with new strategies. Aware of these issues and the new frontiers that seem to be emerging, the “Unshelving Voices” symposium seeks to bring together librarians, educators, activists, and allies for a two-day event dedicated to addressing the challenges of library censorship, including focus on anti-LGBTQ censorship. This conference aims to empower participants to confront these challenges and develop strategies for promoting freedom of access to information and fostering inclusive library environments.

Conference Goals

  • Placing library censorship in a more global context of attack on freedom of expression and access to information.
  • Raise awareness about the issues of censorship and bias in libraries.
  • Explore the legal, ethical, and moral dimensions of library censorship.
  • Develop strategies for combating censorship and promoting inclusivity in libraries.

Target Audience

  • Librarians and library staff
  • Educators and researchers
  • LGBTQ+ advocates and allies
  • Legal experts
  • Social justice activists
  • Library and information studies students

Call for Presentations

The conference welcomes proposals for presentations on topics related to library censorship:

  • Censorship of books and materials
  • Anti-LGBTQ censorship
  • Political censorship
  • Sensitive topical concerns
  • Legal/legislative/copyright concerns
  • AI leading to censorship
  • Censorship motivated by bias
  • Self censorship and impact on practitioners
  • Skills countering and management censorship
  • Navigating personal and professional ethics
  • Balancing intellectual freedom and inclusion

Submissions should focus on practical solutions, case studies, and research findings.

A committee will review and select presentations that align with the conference goals.

All proposals should include:

  • Name, title, institution, country, and email of speaker(s)
  • Title of proposed presentation
  • Abstract of presentation (max 300 words)
  • Language of presentation
  • Brief biographical statement about the speaker(s) (max 100 words)

Proposals are due by 15 April, 2024, and notification of acceptance by 15 May, 2024. All proposals and presentation slides will be required to be in English. The preferred languages for the presentations at the Symposium are English and Spanish for simultaneous translation.

All proposals and questions should be submitted by email to both:

Joseph Hafner |
IFLA LGTBQ+ Special Interest Group

Jonathan Hernández Pérez |

Important dates:

15 April, 2024 – Deadline for submission of proposal abstract
30 May, 2024 – Notification of acceptance
15 July, 2024 – Deadline for submission of presentation slides
6-7 August, 2024 – Unshelved Voices

Please note:

  • At least one of the authors must be present to deliver the presentation during the symposium.
  • All presentation slides will be made available online via the IFLA Library under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Please refer to the Guidelines for Presenters for details.
  • All expenses for attending the symposium (e.g., travel, accommodation, etc.) are the responsibility of the authors/presenters. No financial support can be provided by IFLA or the organizers, but a special invitation letter can be issued to authors.

We look forward to receiving your proposals and your participation. 

Unshelving Voices Symposium Organizing Committee

  • Thomas Chaimbault
  • Philippe Colomb
  • Cecile Communal
  • Joseph Hafner
  • Jonathan Hernádez