Call for Papers: Open Sessions

Literacy and Reading Section joint with Libraries for Children and Young Adults Section, Public Libraries Section and School Libraries Section


"Literacy Matters: It takes a community to raise a reader – building a nation of readers and creating a reading culture"

The IFLA Literacy and Reading Section in partnership with the Libraries for Children and Young Adults Section, the Public Libraries Section and the School Libraries Section invites proposals for papers to be presented at their joint programme to be held at the IFLA World Library & Information Congress in Wroclaw, Poland 19 – 25 August 2017.

Literacy has long been identified as a precursor to success in academic achievement and the workplace. Literacy problems have been directly linked to healthcare issues, workplace safety, equity and access to work, while poor literacy exerts a serious negative drag on the overall GDP per capita of a country. The correlation between poverty and literacy is irrefutable (PISA, OECD, etc.). Society rewards individuals who have higher literacy levels, not explicitly, but it’s inherent in the system. While schools are responsible for literacy in children and young adults, there are many individuals who graduate from school with low levels of literacy, and others who are considered to be illiterate. There are many adults who are also alliterate or reluctant to read, which can have serious repercussions for their health and well-being as participative citizens. In the last twenty years there has also been a large-scale movement of people from around the globe, so most countries are experiencing high levels of multi-culturalism, which means that many communities are now comprised of multi-lingual groups who may be literate, but not in the language of the country where they are now permanent residents. Libraries have always been based on equity and access to information. As institutions they are ideal places where individuals can establish a sense of community and a feeling of belonging. They are public spaces where both newcomers and native citizens have opportunities to gain literacy skills, forge community and national identity, develop a love of reading for pleasure and to gain access to knowledge and skills. They have a key role in helping citizens to develop a reading culture and to support building a nation of readers

Topics of Interest

Papers chosen for presentation will examine how libraries support reading for pleasure and literacy development in their communities and the ways in which they work to influence and support the building of a reading culture and a nation of readers. Proposals should be grounded in theory, research, and/or practical applications.

Building on the theme Literacy Matters! – It takes a community to raise a reader – building a nation of readers and creating a reading culture, we are particularly interested in proposals in the following key areas:

  1. Library reading projects and initiatives with children, young people, adults or organisations that demonstrate best practice in supporting literacy development within communities and help to build and strengthen a reading culture.
  2. Partnerships –  exploring what the roles are of different members in a community (e.g., parents, schools, businesses, employers and young people themselves ) in terms of helping to create a reading culture and build a nation of readers and how partners can work together with libraries.
  3. Advocacy – outlining the importance of literacy at the global and the local level, how to advocate for it and measure the impact of the advocacy work.
  4. Research – that demonstrates the impact of libraries in building reading nations, what does the research tell us and how can effective use of this information be made.
  5. Digital – examples of how digital tools have been used to help librarians promote literacy and develop a reading culture.

People submitting successful proposals will be expected to write a paper and prepare a presentation for delivery in Wroclaw, Poland. Best Practice initiatives will also be expected to produce a short video of their case study (guidelines will be issued for this process) for inclusion in the Literacy Matters!  and / or the Children’s & Young Adults You tube channel currently being developed

Language of the session

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

Proposals should include:

  • Title of proposed presentation
  • An abstract of the proposed paper of 500 words maximum and which also indicates which area(s) of the Call the proposal addresses and how it meets them
  • Name of presenter(s)
  • Position or title of presenter(s)
  • Employer or affiliated institution of the presenter(s)
  • Email address
  • Telephone / fax numbers
  • Short biographical statements(s) regarding the presenter(s)
  • Language of presentation


All proposals must be submitted  before  Friday 17th February 2017.

Please email your proposal to:

Barbara Combes

Annie Everall

Please indicate “IFLA Proposal WLIC 2017” in the subject line.

Important Dates:

17th February 2017    All proposals must be received
17th March 2017          Successful candidates will be notified
16th June 2017             Successful candidates must submit the full paper.

The full paper will be posted online.

Please note

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