Saturday, January 15, 2022


2022 IRRT Papers and Projects session- Call for Proposals

The American Library Association's International Relations Round Table Papers and Projects Committee invites proposals for presentations at the 2022 American Library Association Annual Conference, scheduled to take place in Washington DC from June 23-28, 2022. The International Papers and Projects Session provides librarians with an opportunity to exchange information about library services, collections, and projects throughout the world. The program also serves to stimulate the interest of U.S. librarians in international library matters.

The 2022 International Papers and Projects theme is Library Policies in a Time of Uncertainty and Controversy. As the world continues to navigate the changing landscape shaped by two years of living with the pandemic, organizations must deal with uncertainly, make difficult policy decisions that are often further complicated by controversy and opposing viewpoints. 

The aim of this session is to explore the role of library policies in helping to provide guidance and clarity, providing a framework for the expectation of what needs to be done. Such policies can range from short term policies to ensure continued access to information, operational changes to ensure business continuity, to longer term strategic policies that have evolved or have been accelerated because of the pandemic. These can be related to collection development the type of services libraries need to provide, the communities they serve, and new areas of concern relating to human resources.

This session hopes to showcase the process of identifying areas in policy that need improvement, the steps taken to implement new policies in uncertain times, the challenges faced in getting buy-in, as well as in communicating change. We are looking for speakers to share on international and US library projects and issues relating to how they have managed this process and what they have learned from it.

Possible topics related to this theme may include-but are not limited to:

  • The thought processes and implementation journey behind responsive operational policies that allowed the library to continue to serve its community
  • Strategic policies that the library had reviewed, for example distribution of materials to be acquired, digital access policies, human resource needs etc.
  • How the pandemic had accelerated the need to amend existing policy decisions and how the trajectory of these discussions evolved over time
  • Information access policies to combat misinformation, but at the same time maintaining representation of diverse voices
  • Difficult policy decisions that had to be made whether because it alienated specific groups or top-down mandates that were beyond the library’s control
  • Managing the demands and expectations of library users, what they expected the library to provide with changing conditions and what the library could provide
  • Challenges relating to communicating policy related decisions, from getting staff buy-in to ensuring library users were aware of the changes, whether it was something new or a reversal of a temporary policy that library users have gotten used to due to a return to normalcy

We encourage submissions that reflect the diverse approaches of the public sector, the academic environment, special libraries, or other types of information organizations. International library schools may also share how they are preparing their students to think about policy. International submissions will be given priority, but submissions from the US will be considered as well, especially if they may be of interest to the international community. To ensure representation from around the world, only one presentation per country will be selected. 

Alternative Participation Method Option due to COVID-19 

Considering the uncertainty of COVID-19 and the unknown status of international travel restrictions this summer, we want to ensure the inclusivity of diverse experiences and wide-ranging perspectives on the policy challenges that our international community has faced and continues to face. Thus, we are also welcoming proposals for short 5-minute interview-style videos, in addition to the traditional conference presentations. These videos will be played at the beginning of the conference session prior to the full-length presentations.

Submission Guidelines 

Full Proposal and Submission Guidelines

Deadline for submitting proposals is February 28, 2022.


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