Call for Papers — Open Sessions

Library Buildings and Equipment Section

  • 28 November 2017, 12:40
Theme: "Designing inclusive libraries"

Translations: [Español] [Français] [中文]

The IFLA Library Buildings and Equipment Section is seeking proposals for papers to be presented at our Open Session at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Transform Libraries: Transform Society.

Globalisation celebrates innovation, entrepreneurship and growth. In a culturally diverse society, economic division and social inequity are apparent. Value systems seem to support individuality rather than social inclusion. Library design has frequently focused on creating facilities and services that suit most people rather than all people.

We think everyone is the same and that we know what they want. But do we? We are all “other” in some way—sometimes our “otherness” is visible and sometimes it is not. Variations in ability, culture, perspective, age, capability or background have been accommodated in library service delivery and in the built environment largely as add-on features, rather than assuming that everyone is different. Library design based on universal application changes the dialogue, the process, and the outcome. How could library planning and design better accommodate user differences in all types of libraries (public, academic, national and special)?

We invite papers that address:

  • How can library buildings be designed to be inclusive of all users? How does this change the planning/design process?
  • What is universal design and why should we care about it?
  • What strategies can be used to develop and share a global approach to universal design?
  • What constitutes an equitable design process and outreach?
  • How are libraries addressing inclusivity in their building design?
  • What are some solutions for user-centred design?
  • How can accessibility standards be used and expanded to design for an inclusive world?
  • How does one design flexible spaces to adapt to all types of users?
  • What are best practices for inclusion of accessible media in facilities (e.g. consolidate in separate space, integrate with all media)?
  • How are different learning styles best accommodated?
  • How are wayfinding and signage best incorporated to support varying cultural and linguistic backgrounds?

Proposals submitted must explore and discuss visionary approaches, highlight innovative developments and describe farsighted concepts of library design projects throughout the world. They must reflect the Kuala Lumpur 2018 conference theme, “Transform Libraries: Transform Society”.  Proposals may be individual or team presentations, reports of research studies, case studies or panel discussions.

We are structuring the format to include two styles of presentations: a 15 minutes delivery and the PechaKucha format (20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each for a total of 6 minutes 40 seconds). This mix of presentation styles keeps the Open Session vibrant and exciting.  Visual imagery in the presentations must support information content and be of high enough resolution to be projected clearly on a large screen.

Important Dates

Proposal abstracts must be submitted by: 15 February 2018

Selected presenters will be notified by: 31 March 2018

Complete text of the paper for inclusion in the program by: 30 June 2018

Proposals must be in English and include the following information

  • Title of proposed presentation
  • Style of presentation. (15 minute or PechaKucha, panel)
  • Abstract of the proposed paper (no more than 300 words)
  • Name(s) of presenter(s) plus position/s and/or title/s
  • Language of presentation
  • Employer/affiliated institution
  • Contact information including email address, telephone number
  • Short biographical statement of presenter(s) (no more than 100 words)

Please submit proposal abstracts via email to:

Diane Koen, Chair, Library Buildings and Equipment Section


All abstracts must be received by 15 February 2018.

Please note

The contact person for each proposal will be informed by 31 March 2018 whether her/his proposal has been accepted.

The authors of the accepted proposals will be required to submit  the complete text of the paper for inclusion in the program, by 30 June 2018. Papers should be written in one of the official languages of IFLA, be no longer than 4000 words and delivered  clearly and slowly in 15 minutes. Papers are expected to be supported by visual presentations during the course of the Congress.

At least one of the paper’s authors must be present to deliver a summary of the paper during the program in Malaysia. 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.

All papers that are presented at the WLIC 2018 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 authors.

Congress Participation Grants

List of opportunities for support is available on our Conference Participation Grants webpage.