Call for Papers: Open Sessions

Library History Special Interest Group


"Libraries in times of crisis: Historical perspectives"

The IFLA Library History Special Interest Group invites proposals for papers to be presented at its session on “Libraries in times of crisis: Historical perspectives”  during the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Wroclaw, Poland, 19-25 August 2017.

It seems that crises are never far from us in our world of yesterday and today and the recent role of libraries and librarians under such circumstances has been coming through in emails.  But what of past experiences?   What might be the lessons learnt from the history of our libraries as they were part of local crises?   How might libraries have stayed alive during culturally and historically destructive and/or challenging times?  How might they have adapted, or not, to changes in regimes and governments?   How did libraries under such circumstances retain and revive the precious cultural heritage of the regions in which they existed; or did they find that this was not possible?  In some countries this history would be very long, and 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 2017 IFLA Conference:  Libraries. Solidarity. Society.  Proposals reflecting the changes that have taken place in Central and Eastern Europe, even in fairly recent times, could be of particular interest.

Submission Guidelines

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:

  • how it relates to the theme of the session;
  • a description of the historical approach to the topic;
  • lessons learnt from the historical experience/s;
  • interesting discoveries from the historical experience/s;
  • if a research project, implications and outcomes for library practice and any research limitations;
  • 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).

3. If your abstract is selected, your paper should follow the IFLA Guidelines for Authors.

4. 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.

5. The author(s) should indicate his/her personal full contact details and include a brief biographical note with the abstract and the paper.

Language of the Session

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 even though we have requested it; therefore, presenters are strongly encouraged to provide the PowerPoint in English to facilitate understanding of the ideas presented.

 Important dates

  1. The deadline for submitting a detailed abstract and full author details including email contact is 31st January 2017. 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 31 March 2017.
  3. The full paper is due on 31st May 2017 and must be an original submission not presented or published elsewhere.


All abstracts must be received by 31 January 2017.

Please note

At least one of the paper’s authors must be present to deliver a summary of the paper during the program in Wroclaw, Poland. 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 2017 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 Author’s 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