IRRT | Call for IRRT Papers and Projects Session Proposals

IRRT and ALA 2020 logos


The American Library Association's International Relations Round Table Papers and Projects Committee invites proposals for presentations to be made at the next ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, IL, USA. Presentations will be delivered at the International Papers Session scheduled in June 2020.

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 2020 International Papers and Projects theme is: Expanding Worldviews: How Libraries Create Awareness of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Inspire Change.

The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a framework of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which are key to making the world a better place for everyone. Libraries play an important role in helping societies achieve these goals, with IFLA’s position being that access to information is a key starting point. Many of the issues that these goals address, such as climate change, promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, access to justice, civil society, etc., have become critical in recent years. Libraries have great potential to elevate the awareness level and engage their communities to inspire and promote change both big and small in the issues that matter.

Through a panel of international speakers, this session will expand the worldview of attendees, showcasing library projects and papers relating to how libraries have embarked on initiatives that promote the sustainable development goals and translating that increased awareness into tangible actions and projects with measurable outcomes. To ensure representation from around the world, only one presentation per country will be selected.

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

  • Promoting and creating awareness of the existence of the UN SDGs and encouraging the library community to act on them.
  • How your library has facilitated programs that go beyond programming into ground-up initiatives that address the SDGs.
  • How your library has, within its own structure, put in place initiatives that support the goals such as sustainable practices and management of resources, provide an inclusive working environment that promote cultural understanding, gender equality, and more.
  • How your library has worked with volunteers, NGOs, and philanthropic organizations to initiate projects that drive social change.
  • Examples of how your library has effectively created inclusive and politically neutral spaces that work towards building a more peaceful and equal society.  

We encourage submissions that reflect the diverse way these goals can affect 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 meet such needs. 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.


Proposals, presentations, and papers must be written and delivered in English, which is the working language of the program.

Proposals should include:

1. Title of the presentation
2. Abstract (500-800 words)
Note: Your presentation could be:

  • A report with slides and/or other visuals on a project your library has already implemented, including your evaluation/reflection of the effort, or
  • A scholarly paper with slides on key points or other visuals (If you choose a paper, a general outline is required, in addition to the Abstract.)

3. Presenter’s name, title, institutional affiliation, and full contact information (including a valid e-mail address)
4. A short biographical profile of each presenter


Proposals should be submitted electronically (as a single Microsoft Word or PDF attachment) to the International Relations Office via email at with copies to and  Deadline for submitting proposals is January 31, 2020.


Up to four proposals will be selected to present at the ALA Annual Meeting in June 2020. Notification of acceptance will be emailed by February 18, 2020.


The International Papers and Projects Session lasts 1.00 hour in total. Presentations should run about 10-15 minutes each, with the understanding that each session will run only 10-12 minutes if all four presenters are able to attend, and 15 minutes each, if only three are presenting. The last 15 minutes will be reserved for a question-and-answer session. Presenters are encouraged to prepare a dynamic and interactive presentation, incorporating visual prompts, pictures, technologies, games, questions for the audience, etc. PowerPoints are common, but speakers who are presenting a paper may read it, with slides or other visuals referring to key points.

We would like to invite you to view previous presentation titles listed on IRRT's International Papers and Projects Session Committee website.