Call for Papers — Open Sessions

Library History Special Interest Group

  • 28 November 2017, 11:08
Theme: "Transform Libraries. Transform Societies: Library outreach to marginalized populations: historical perspectives"

The IFLA Library History Special Interest Group  invites proposals for papers to be presented at its session on “Transform Libraries. Transform Societies: Library outreach to marginalized populations: historical perspectives” during the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 24-30 August 2018.

There is no doubt that libraries of many types are reaching out to marginalized populations in today’s world and this is not only when times are tough for communities in need, but also for underrepresented and small, almost forgotten communities in our world of today.  But what of past experiences?   What might be the lessons learnt from the history of our libraries as they reached out to marginalised communities in times past?   What sorts of services might our libraries have offered to such communities?  What lessons did our libraries learn from these historical experiences in working with their marginalised communities? Did the services and work that the libraries offered bring changes in the ways that other community services were offered?  How did libraries under such circumstances learn, revive and/or transform the precious cultural heritage of the regions in which they existed; or did they find that this was not possible?  We are hoping that we will hear of historical experiences from around the globe as such activity fits well with the overall theme for the 2018 IFLA Conference: Transform Libraries. Transform Societies


  1. Your paper might be the result of an historical research project, or describe the historical experiences of your own library. Selection of papers is based on the abstract (up to 500 words) which should consider:
    1. how it relates to the theme of the session;
    2. a description of the historical approach to the topic;
    3. lessons learnt from the historical experience/s;
    4. interesting discoveries from the historical experience/s;
    5. if a research project, implications and outcomes for library practice and any research limitations;
    6. other matters of relevance and importance to the topic.
  2. Both abstracts and full papers should be submitted as an MS Word file by e-mail.
    Please email your abstract to:
    Dr Kerry Smith, Convenor, IFLA Library History SIG
    (phone +61 8 9385 9119)
  1. Depending on the number of submissions accepted, we are expecting that up to 20 minutes will be allowed for a summary delivery of the paper at the Conference; the full written paper is *not* to be read. It is strongly recommended that the presentation is supported by a visual element using presentation software such as PowerPoint.
  2. The author(s) should indicate his/her personal full contact details and include a brief biographical note with the abstract and the paper.


The language of the session is expected to be English. However, presenters may also give their talk in any of the IFLA working languages. Simultaneous translation is not guaranteed; therefore, presenters are strongly encouraged to provide the PowerPoint in English to facilitate understanding of the ideas presented.


  1. The deadline for submitting a detailed abstract and full author details including email contact is 31st January 2018. Each abstract will be reviewed by members of the Library History Special Interest Group Committee.
  2. Authors will be notified whether they have been successful or not, by mid March 2018.
  3. The full paper is due on 31st May 2018 and must be an original submission not presented or published elsewhere.


All abstracts must be received by 31 January 2018.

Please note

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.