Call for Papers

Rare Books and Manuscripts Section
& Latin America and the Caribbean Section

Rare and special collections in the American context


IFLA Rare books and manuscripts and Latin America and the Carribean sections want to promote awareness of special collections, not only as heritage of the past, but also as endeavour for the future. Therefore we should ask how « new » special collections come into being, what defines a special collection and how we can ensure that special and rare material is collected today to serve the cultural memory of tomorrow.

As part of a revision of the concept of 'rare' to be carried by the Rare books and manuscripts section in its forthcoming Strategic plan, the objective of this year's session will be to identify and present materials and collections considered rare in Latin American institutions and overseas institutions owing Latin American collections, with special emphasis on why they are considered as such, focusing on the concept of 'rarity' that goes beyond it's usual definition, and the consequences for the conservation and valorisation in libraries. The session will consist of a first general introductory paper (by an international specialist invited by the organizers) followed by short specific presentations in order to provide a varied panorama and to sustain a discussion. The introductory paper will be followed by presentations on The special collections of Latin and South American countries.

These papers should focus

  • on printed and handwritten collections from all periods that are considered rare in their countries
  • on characteristics used to determine if a collection of a kind of document is part of the rare material collections.

The chosen papers will only have 10 minutes each during the Congress session but they can be accompanied with complementary information which will be included in the IFLA RBMS/LACS websites.

Proposals should include

  • An abstract of approximately 500 words, in English or Spanish
  • Attach summary of the author(s) details (name, institution, position) and brief biographical statement of no more than 50 words.

Proposals must be sent no later than 15 March 2011 to:

Raphaële Mouren, head, Rare Books and Manuscripts section:
Filiberto Felipe Martínez-Arellano, head, Latin America and Carribean Section:

Chosen papers will be notified by 1 April 2011.

Proposals can be sent for the session to be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, during IFLA annual congress ; desirably, more information on these special collections could be offer in posters and written for the RBMS website.


Presenters will be expected to submit final versions of their papers by May, 15th, 2011. Papers should be in all official languages of IFLA: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Russian and Spanish. An English translation will be welcome. Simultaneous translation will be offered during the session (from English to other languages).

Please note that the Rare Books and Manuscripts section organizes during the congress an open meeting dedicated to the question of: what is rare material. Further discussion will be possible on the matter during this meeting.


All proposals must be in before 15 March 2011.

Please note

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 can be issued to authors.

Congress Attendance Grants

The Puerto Rico National Committee and IFLA have worked hard to secure funds for Conference Participation Grants. Please check our Conference Participation Grants webpage for the most up-to-date information.

Last update: 15 February 2011