Public Libraries have been evolving to take their place as key community anchors to tackle the big issues in their local communities.  The core role of delivery of access to information, learning and story is still a vibrant one with the statistics showing that communities still visit their libraries in the thousands.  This evolving role also demands new skills and new directions from library staff, library managers and library programs.  Libraries now need to navigate areas of social work, community development, Youth development, and Public Health as well as supporting people to have some tough conversations to become more tolerant and supportive communities.  We want to have an in-depth conversation with library staff on this developing demand for libraries in their local communities and are seeking seven (7) minute lightning talks from libraries who are currently working through this role.

Libraries as community builders – what is your public library doing to develop staff to really build communities and connect them?

Libraries as inclusive community spaces for diverse populations – how is your library ensuring that it is welcoming and inclusive for all?  Decolonising the collection? Culturally diverse staff?  We want to hear what changes and skills building you are implementing.

Libraries as champions for the marginalised – how is your library approaching sections of your community that are excluded?  The homeless, the addicted, the refugees, the migrants.

Libraries delivering public health outcomes – how are you working across your community and public health partners to improve the public health of your communities?

If your library is positively responding to these issues and has implemented a program that works for the community, a training program that has helped your library staff, a partnership project that has really worked we want to hear from you.


The session format will include a maximum of 7 invited speakers for the first hour.

We are looking for proposals for short presentations of 7 minutes length.  Typically, this means 7 presentation slides of 1minute each.  A longer paper that details the full outline of the library’s response to changing roles can be submitted and will be published.

The second component of the session will be a one-hour workshop to explore the changing roles of libraries and skills of staff needed to meet these new roles.  Presenters are expected to take part in the workshop.

Important Dates

23 March 2020: Proposal abstracts must be submitted

17 April 2020: Selected presenters will be notified

31 May 2020: Authors to submit Authors’ Permission Form

1 June 2020: Written papers due

7 August 2020: Presentation slides due

Submission Guidelines

Proposals must be submitted in English and include the following information:

  • Title of proposed presentation
  • Style of presentation
  • Abstract of the proposed paper (no more than 300 words)
  • Name(s) of presenters and positions and or titles
  • Employer or affiliated institution
  • Contact information including email address and telephone number
  • Short biographical statement of no more than 100 words
  • Note a willingness to comply with IFLA’s Authors’ Permission


Proposal abstracts to be submitted by 23 March 2020 via email to:

Jane Cowell

Please note:

At least one of the paper’s authors must be present to deliver a summary of the paper during the program in Dublin. Abstracts should only be submitted with the understanding that the expenses of attending the conference will be the responsibility of the author(s)/presenter(s) of accepted papers.

The paper must be an original submission not presented or published elsewhere. All papers that are presented at the WLIC 2020 will be made available online via the IFLA Library under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Authors of accepted papers must complete the IFLA Authors’ Permission Form.

All expenses, including registration for the conference, travel, accommodation etc., are the responsibility of the authors/presenters. No financial support can be provided by IFLA, but a special invitation letter can be issued to author(s)/presenter(s) of accepted papers.

Congress Participation Grants

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