Call for Papers

Environmental Sustainability and Libraries Special Interest Group

Libraries inspiring and facilitating change towards sustainability

The Environmental Sustainability and Libraries Special Interest Group (ENSULIB) is in the process of planning the program of its Open Session at the next IFLA congress. The IFLA Environmental Sustainability and Libraries SIG invites papers for this session on the topic of "Libraries inspiring and facilitating change towards sustainability", in line with he National Committee theme "Libraries Now! - Inspiring, Surprising, Empowering" and the presidential theme: "Libraries - A force for change".

The world is at high risk of exhaustion of all kinds of resources, extreme weather patterns are confirming the reality of the climate crisis and other severe pollution issues are endangering life on Earth. In regard of the shortcomings of political and institutional efforts to effectively address urgent environmental problems in general and the climate crisis in particular, the role of libraries and information professionals is increasingly becoming of crucial importance. Not only can they be gatekeepers of appropriate information for the communities they serve, by becoming opinion leaders in environmental matters, but they can also provide inspiration by example, operating in a green manner in green buildings, or properly addressing document preservation and conservation issues derived from environmental problems. Time is running out, change is needed with the utmost urgency and libraries and information professionals can be change agents.

A number of new green libraries are emerging, many older ones are striving to adapt to green standards, and their experience will be very helpful for others that wish to stop being places where resources are being wastefully consumed (or even for those where, to the contrary, available resources are insufficient). Advocacy for environmental sustainability, by means of programming of activities for patrons or fellow professionals and by developing appropriately focused collections is another aspect of change facilitation.

Scope of the Session:

Papers are expected to cover a range of topics related to sustainability and libraries - these may encompass but are not limited to:

  • Change in library buildings, operations, conservation practices, services, etc., to make them sustainable.
  • Innovations in access to "green" information resources.
  • Collection development, services, advocacy/outreach, programs, etc. focusing on sustainability and/or the environment, climate change / adaptation, clean energy or other green technologies, green living, etc.
  • Education / training or awareness building of information professionals on topics related to sustainability, "green" best practices, climate change, etc.
  • Networking and/or library associations' activities related to sustainability.

If you or your library are engaged in one of the above topics or related issues, if you have done research in these areas, or if you are otherwise involved in environment - and - libraries activities, the Environmental Sustainability and Libraries SIG would be pleased to welcome you to its public session as a speaker. Papers based on practical experiences and facts, rather than theoretical aspects, and on specifics rather than generalities of any of the points will be preferred.

Language of the session:

Although simultaneous interpretation is expected to be available for the session, this is not yet guaranteed. Presenters should be prepared to eventually deliver their presentation in English.

It is strongly recommended that presentation slides in English be available, even if the presentation is delivered in one of the other IFLA official languages.


Should be in English, with optionally an attached version in French or Spanish, and include:

  • Title of the paper
  • A detailed abstract of the paper (no more than 300 words), if possible accompanied by some references such as URLs and bibliographies.
  • Author's name, address, telephone and fax numbers, professional affiliation, email address and brief biographical statement of no more than 50 words.
  • Author's experience as a speaker.

E-mails should state "IFLA ENSULIB proposal" in the subject line and be directed to:

Veerle Minner van Neygen, Convenor of the Environmental Sustainability and Libraries SIG
E-mail:, with copy to:
Philippe Colomb, Co-convenor

Proposals will be reviewed by a refereeing committee representing the IFLA Environmental Sustainability and Libraries SIG and eventually the Standing Committee of the Preservation and Conservation Section.

As the planning of the session progresses, those who are selected to present will be given more information concerning the format of the programme.

Important dates and information:

Proposals for papers must be submitted by March 5, 2012.

Successful proposals will be identified and presenters notified by April 15, 2012.

Selected authors must submit the full paper by 30 May 2012 to allow time for the review of papers and preparation of translations. The final version will be provided for inclusion on the IFLA conference and the SIG's websites).

Main selection criteria:

  • Relevance to the SIG's mission, objectives and it's theme for this year.
  • Compatibility with the Conference theme.
  • Interest /usefulness of topic.
  • Specificity and concreteness.
  • Clearness of text.
  • Other outstanding characteristics of the paper.
  • Fairness/balance in countries represented at the session, all other considerations being equal.
  • Experience of the author as a speaker, all other considerations being equal.
  • Cases of practical experiences, research results with practical applications will be preferred, all other considerations being equal.
  • For research papers, soundness of methodology will be taken into account.

Final abstracts and full papers:

These should be submitted by email. Paper length should be 10 pages maximum, single spaced, and accompanied by a one page abstract. Text and bibliographic citations format should follow the rules for IFLA publications that appear in the IFLA website. Text should be in one of the official IFLA languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, Spanish. Written translations into as many as possible of the IFLA official languages will be very much appreciated, as SIGs are not allocated official written translation by IFLA. The author(s) should indicate personal full contact details and include summary curriculum vitae with the paper.

Each presenter will be allowed approximately 15 minutes for a summary delivery of the paper followed by clarifications and discussion towards the end of the session. During the actual presentation, the presenter should not read the paper, but rather explain the main ideas in a natural way.


All proposals must be in before 15 February 2012.

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.

Some national professional associations or vendors may be able to help fund certain expenses and a small number of grants. Please research this early and apply within the deadline. Also inquire early about visa requirements.

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: 22 February 2012