Monday, February 1, 2021

Call for Proposals (CFP) for Presentations at the ALA IRRT Chair's Program

 Call for Proposals (CFP) for Presentations at the ALA IRRT Chair's Program

The American Library Association (ALA) International Relations Round Table (IRRT) Chair's Program Committee invites proposals for participation in a panel presentation that will take place at the annual ALA conference which will be held virtually.  The IRRT Chair's Program features speakers presenting on a specific theme related to international relations and the library. This year, the theme for the IRRT Chair's Program is: Libraries in a rapidly changing world

Changes in social structures, behaviors, values and organizations are inevitable and libraries are not immune to those changes. This has become even more true during the current pandemic.  Embedded in their unique communities, libraries are constantly responding to our rapidly changing world. At times, they are driving the change, and at others, they reflect and respond to the social changes affecting their communities. In the IRRT 2021 Chair's program panelists, representing national, public and academic libraries around the world, will share their experiences working toward justice and equity, leading social change, or cultivating sensitivity to marginalized groups, within their communities, at a grassroots level, or systemically. 


The Chair's Program Committee seeks proposals from speakers to be part of a panel that will describe and share the following:

Panelist presentations will discuss the individual library's role in leading and responding to rapid change and the impact this work has had on the city/region/country. The best proposals will speak to specific actions taken by their libraries. 

Examples of topics (presentations are NOT limited to these topics; creativity is encouraged):

  • Providing programming or services that address social injustice issues during pandemics.

  • Providing programming or services promoting gender equality and empowerment. 

  • Providing programming or services that cultivate sensitivity and understanding to marginalized groups. 

  • Providing programming or services that support access to information for immigrants, migrants and refugees. 

  • Creating partnerships, programming, or services that contribute to a culture of welcoming for migrants, refugees and other marginalized groups. 

  • Fighting poverty and hunger, allowing all to live with dignity, by supporting community needs.

IFLA's Library Map of the World Sustainable Development Goals Stories provides additional examples of topics of interest for presentations. 

Presentation Format:

Each panel presentation is between 10-15 minutes. Applicants are encouraged to consider creative and effective presentations to connect attendees with the topic and to share information that will let attendees know how they could implement similar solutions/programs for their library communities.  Since ALA has announced Annual 2021 is going to be a virtual conference, we are looking for proposals and panelists who are comfortable presenting virtually.  


All proposals must be submitted by February 28, 2021 for consideration. Applicants will be notified in March if their submission has been accepted for presentation at the conference.

Send submissions via email to Mary Oberlies, Chair, at 

Submission Guidelines:

Proposals should include two separate documents.

  1. The first document should include: 

    • Title of the presentation

    • A 150- to 250-word biography of the presenters/panelists (If the program is accepted, biographies will be used in program advertising.)

    • Name, title, institutional affiliation, and full contact information of the presenters/panelists

  1. The second document should not have any identifying information. This document should be an abstract of 300-500 words which addresses all of the following:

    • describe the library and its community 

    • Identify the social problem or issue and its background

    • describe how the library addressed the problem

    • discuss the impact on the library's city/region/country/community

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