Call for Papers

Access to Information Network - Africa (ATINA)
& Information Literacy Section
& Africa Section

Information for Civic Literacy

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8-10 August 2012


The Small Guild Hall, 3/5 Amatu Street, Old Town, Riga, Latvia

Organised by the IFLA Information Literacy Section and the IFLA Africa Section through its Special Interest Group Access to Information Network - Africa (ATINA/RAIA).

Hosted by the Riga Central Library and the National Library of Latvia, in collaboration with the Education, Culture and Sports Department of the Riga City Council.


The IFLA satellite conference on "Information for Civic Literacy" will explore the role of information professionals, educators and public actors in promoting civic literacy and informed public choices by citizens. This is not a matter of advocating particular political or public policy positions, but of education for responsible citizenship through the ways in which we provide information for citizens' decision making in the public forum. Issues to be examined might include, for example:

  • the delivery of reference and information services to citizens from multiple sources and viewpoints so as to encourage democratic choice, citizen participation and the rule of law;
  • awareness of selective information delivery, propaganda and media bias as a new component of information literacy training; and
  • assistance to the public in accessing information from and about governments to promote effective popular involvement in governance, democratic opposition and economic development.

Special areas of interest to the conference include the development of civic literacy in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America, as well as increasing professional and public awareness of information control and manipulation in the Western democracies.

Intended Audience

Librarians, teachers, information literacy specialists, political thinkers and journalists interested in the promotion of civic literacy and of informed public choices by citizens, through library and information services, educational institutions and the information media.

Preliminary programme and areas of interest for papers and presentations

Wednesday, 8 August 2012: Registration and welcome - What is civic literacy? Finding a working definition and an equivalent terminology in different languages -- Why is civic literacy important? -- The role of librarians, educators and information literacy specialists in promoting civic literacy - Issues of professional ethics - Issues of free access to information and transparency -- Selective dissemination of information, political spin, propaganda and civic literacy education - Tours of the host libraries and reception.

Thursday, 9 August 2012: Problems of civic literacy development in different regions of the world - Postcolonial Africa - Postcommunist Russia and Eastern Europe - Asia, the Middle East, Latin America - Media empires, democratic fatigue and the decline of civic literacy and civility in the West -- Civic literacy development in controlled societies - Civic literacy development in countries of dissidence and revolution -- Hard talk with a panel of politicians about civic literacy in rhetoric and in practice - Dinner and cultural evening.

Friday, 10 August 2012: The changing face of civic literacy in the 21st century - The Internet, social media, crowdsourcing and what everybody knows - Jihad on the Web, the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and the new demagoguery -- Information professionals and educators as authenticators of civic information and exploders of civic myths - Online access-to-information networks -- Citizen education for problem solving, creative thinking, critical judgment, rational communication - Electronic government or holding governments accountable? - Digital citizenship - Next steps.

Submission Guidelines

Proposals for papers must normally be submitted by e-mail. The extended deadline for submitting proposals is 15 March 2012, but earlier submission would be appreciated at any time after 15 January.

Paper proposals should be sent to:

Frank Kirkwood in Canada
E-mail:, with copies sent to:
Denise Rosemary Nicholson in South Africa
E-mail:, to
Antonin Benoît Diouf in Sénégal
E-mail:, to
Dalia Naujokaitis in Canada
E-mail:, and to
Franziska Wein in Germany

In the e-mail subject line please indicate: "Riga 2012 proposal".

Each proposal should include:

  • Abstract in English of approximately 250 words, summarizing the paper or other proposed program element (panel, exhibition, interactive discussion)
  • Speaker's name, professional affiliation, postal address, telephone numbers, e-mail address and brief biographical note.

The programme committee will respond to proposals beginning on 1 February and no later than 29 March 2012.

Papers may be submitted and delivered in English, or in French, Spanish, German, Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian or Estonian with an accompanying English translation. They should be no more than 4000 words in length, and should be submitted ready to publish. According to IFLA policy, reproductions of presentation slides may form part of the published paper, but a coherent text must link and explain the slides, with introduction, argument and conclusions.

The deadline for submitting accepted complete papers for publication in the conference proceedings is 1 May 2012, to the address indicated in the message of acceptance.


Authors must be prepared to give presentations in person at the satellite meeting in Riga. The length of the presentations should be approximately 20 minutes. Simultaneous translation will be available in selected Baltic and IFLA languages.

An online conference registration form and information on bank payment arrangements are available through the pre-conference website at, where further useful information will also be posted over the coming months.


For additional questions, please contact:

Francis T. Kirkwood
Convenor, ATINA/RAIA
Kirkwood Professional
21A Broadway Ave.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 2V4
Tel.: +1-613-296-5845


All proposals must be in before 15 March 2012.

Please note

All expenses, including registration for the conference, travel, accommodation, visas etc., are the responsibility of the authors/presenters. No financial support can be given by IFLA or by the host institutions, but a special invitation and suggestions can be provided to individual participants to aid them in obtaining outside financial support.

To the extent possible, the organizing committee will provide non-financial assistance to all delegates in obtaining required Latvian entry visas. African delegates in particular are advised to apply for their Latvian entry visas early, as these must be obtained from Riga rather than in the home country in most cases, and the process could be lengthy.

Congress Attendance Grants

The Finnish National Committee and IFLA have worked hard to secure funds for Conference Participation Grants. Up-to-date information is available on our Conference Participation Grants webpage.

Last update: 9 March 2012