The Art Libraries Section of IFLA is looking back on 40 years of international collaboration of art librarians worldwide, and forward over the horizon, asking what is to be done – next?

Profound changes of the decades 1980 to 2020 provoked wide-ranging innovations in librarianship, as the internet came to dominate all areas of life in the developed world. Based on data technology, new forms of information exchange, access to literature and related sources, trans-global communication, digitization, publishing models and interpersonal communication became norms of daily life for our profession. Massively upscaled resource sharing and co-operation became routine.

The period saw new technological convergences with related sectors: scholarship (digital humanities) and museology (e.g. electronic inventories). Big-scale solutions both public and commercial, from search engines, Wikipedia and Internet Archive to WorldCat, Europeana and the DPLA, presented themselves to librarians and library users alike. The subjects in focus for art libraries expanded too, through greater inclusivity, disciplinary developments and expanded art practices.

What does all this mean for institutional networks such as the Art Libraries Section? It has fostered and published productive discussions, and undertaken noteworthy projects. Has the potential of international networking been fully exploited? Are there still important fields of common interest and collaboration to explore? Who or what could be included? What benefits can users expect when major art and museum libraries join a global communication network?

We wish to discuss papers relevant to the above-mentioned areas and beyond, focused of course on art and museum libraries, and in particular on achievements, potentials and issues of collaborations and networks, with a global perspective. Narratives and news of active and future projects are welcome, as are general considerations, theoretical reflections or viewpoints from neighbour disciplines and sectors.

More information at WLIC2020 Satellite Meetings – Call for papers.