IRRT International Librarians' Pre-Conference Committee

Statement of Role, Purpose, and Function

Develops and hosts an annual pre-conference for international attendees.

Annual Conference logo

2023 IRRT Preconference - Global Libraries As Advocates For Information Policy Change

The pandemic has raised our awareness and understanding of the need for information policies that support the ability of libraries to serve their communities. What are the persistent and new policy issues that libraries around the world must focus on? How can we strengthen our ability to influence legislative and legal change, and participate in the political process on the local, national, and global levels?

The range of policy issues of relevance to libraries is extraordinary: intellectual freedom and the rising challenges to the books and other resources we make available in our collections; privacy and the threats that we and our users face on protecting their identities; civil liberties and the constraints on freedom of action and speech; open access to research and educational resources, funding for libraries, and for education and research programs; copyright and the importance of fair use and the exceptions that enable libraries to carry out their services; the expansion and quality of access to the internet and the challenges of the digital divides in our communities; telecommunications policy and the growth of social media monopolies and issues like net neutrality; government information and the importance of guaranteeing that records of the work of our governments are openly and readily accessible; the survival of school libraries which are so essential to our library ecosystem; along with many more specific to local, national and global contexts.

Libraries must be at the core of the debates on information policy issues, as their success and effectiveness will increasingly be the ability to influence, interpret and apply new policy directions. By information policy, we mean those laws, regulations and programs established by governments and other organizations that define the strategies for the advancement and management of such things as technology, telecommunications and electronic information. It permeates all other policy areas, such as: education, foreign relations, science, culture, health, and perhaps most fundamentally, commerce, workforce development and business. Information policy is increasingly recognized as central to economic progress and social change.

This pre-conference will provide opportunities for learning about and sharing the impact of the pandemic on information policy around the world, provide a detailed look at several key policy areas, and inform how library professionals can be effective advocates in the legislative and legal arenas. It will also discuss the impact of the 2022 elections in the US and new governments around the world.


  • Welcome remarks: Jim Neal, IRRT Past Chair, Columbia University
  • Equity of Internet Access - Larra Clark, ALA's Public Policy & Advocacy Office
  • Copyright and Licensing - Timothy Vollmer, University of California- Berkeley
  • Privacy and Censorship - Deborah Caldwell-Stone, ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom
  • Library Professionals as Effective Advocates - Alan S. Inouye, ALA's Public Policy & Advocacy Office
  • Impact of Pandemic and Recent Elections on Information Policy - Joe Thompson, Carroll County Public Library

To register, please visit ALA's Annual registration page: (EVENT CODE: IRR1). Fee includes registration, materials, and lunch.


2019 Transforming Community Relationships

Description: Libraries today continue to be attuned to meeting the needs of their communities. In the 21st century, libraries are encouraged to be the center of community life, to be community builders and places where people get involved. This pre-conference will focus on using innovation to address the needs of different communities. Our presenters representing different types of academic institutions nationally and internationally will share their innovative practices and train you to adapt them in your libraries. Moderated by a seasoned internationally-renowned library professional , this preconference will provide you with all the necessary techniques to develop new types of services in your libraries.

Moderator: Donna Scheeder, IFLA Past-President

Presenters: Tolgonay Kozhokanova and Zhuzumkan Askhatbekova, American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan - The maker Movement in Kyrgyzstan’s Libraries: Bringing Elements of STEM Education to Underserved Youth Population; Dr. Katy B. Mathuews, Ohio University and Dr. Daniel Harper, Grover Center, USA - Academic Libraries: Bridging Innovation Across the Curriculum and Into the Community; Peggy Seiden, Swarthmore College, USA - Swarthmore College Partnership.

2018 Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses: How libraries are serving immigrant and refugee populations”

Description: This workshop will focus on practical and real-life examples of services and outreach to immigrants and refugees. Librarians who have successfully implemented programs and services to this targeted population in the USA and internationally will share their experiences and advice. Pre-conference workshop attendees will be able to leave with concrete ideas of programs to implement at their home institutions including, for example, how to reach out to immigrants and refugees, how to develop programs featuring social, economic, health, literacy, and technology areas, and how to work out with decision makers to secure support for these programs.

Speakers: Adriana Blancarte-Hayward, Outreach Manager, The New York Public Library; Anne Barckow, Bücherhallen Hamburg, Stabsstelle Interkulturelle Dienste / Zentralbibliothek; Britta Schmedemann, Expert on Target Audience, Bremen Public Library; Eva Raison, Coordinator of Immigrant Services, Brooklyn Public Library; Adan Griego, Curator Latin American Studies, Stanford University; Helen Chou, Senior Manager of International Services, Houston Public Library; Madeline Peña Feliz, Senior Librarian, Digital Content Team, Los Angeles Public Library; Natalia Taylor Bowdin, Library Collections Coordinator/Associate Professor/ Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Program Coordinator, University of South Carolina - Aiken; Nicanor Diaz, Immigrant Services Manager, Denver Public Library; Oralia Garza de Cortes, REFORMA Children in Crisis Task Force Co-Chair/ Independent Consultant, Latino Children's Access to Books and Libraries; Sonia Bautista, Senior Librarian, City of Commerce Public Library; Patrick Sullivan, Emeritus Librarian, San Diego State University, REFORMA Children in Crisis Task Force Co-Chair; Silke Taubert-Vikuk, German Library Association.

2017 Supporting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals with International Open Access Initiatives:

Description: Are you interested in supporting the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development? As librarians, we are already invested in education, social justice, and information access issues. In this pre-conference we’ll be looking at the intersection between the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ways that Open Access (OA) efforts can be used to further those goals. We’ll hear from experts in both fields about where the SDG and OA movements stand and engage with a panel who are already implementing OA plans in the name of greater accessibility for all. There will also be time to exchange our own ideas and experiences related to OA and the SDGs.
Session attendees will leave with:
1. A greater understanding of the SDGs and OA as they currently stand,
2. Some examples of how OA is being implemented and leveraged around the globe,
3. Hands-on experience designing or working on OA/SDG projects, and
4. New resources, contacts, and possible collaborators for such a project in the future.

2016 Internationalizing Your Library: Strategies for All Types of Librarians: Public/School/Academic/National/Government

Description: Calls for internationalizing libraries are increasing in the library world, and among all types of libraries—public, school, academic, and government-national. But what does it mean to “internationalize?” It can take many forms. It can mean providing other-language materials or ESL/citizenship classes in a public library; it can mean adding literature from other lands in a school library; it can mean offering outreach and instruction to international students in an academic library; it can mean increasing foreign partnership collections in a government/national library; and much, much more. This preconference featured specialists from all 4 library types (public/school/academic/government-national), providing strategies for internationalizing. Participants gathered in subgroups of the 4 library types to hear their own specialists, insuring getting the most relevant (tailored) information.

2015 Leading from Any Position: Libraries which are Leaders in their Communities and Librarians who Lead

Description: The library profession is constantly adjusting to new technical developments, standards and innovative new services. These changes may occur without additional funding, or in an environment where the relevance of library services may not be widely known, or may be questioned as larger institutions (governmental, educational or corporate) face rethinking of structures. To survive and thrive libraries need to have strong leadership from within. Libraries need to be leaders in their communities in order to ensure they are full participants in the future of those communities.

2014 Training the Trainer: keeping up and staying ahead of new trends, standards, services and technologies

Description: The library profession is constantly adjusting to new technical developments, standards and innovative new services. Yet the current fiscal climate can make it difficult for librarians and libraries to invest in continuing training and professional development. This year the IRRT Pre-conference addressed professional development and continuing education initiatives and strategies conducted by librarians for their coworkers, organizations or the profession at large. Of particular interest for this year’s pre-conference were case studies of institutional/organizational support and/or staff buy-in, overcoming budgetary constraints, and other successes or educational failures. The following topics were covered.

· RDA: training cataloging and technical service department

· E-book: workshops, support and training for Librarians

· Initiating mobile services (Roving reference, etc.)

· New Librarianship

· Open Access Initiatives/Digital Repository

· Education of future librarians/changes in library school programs

· Marketing

· Fund Raising

· Introducing new standards/services/programs

· International librarian exchanges programs

· Mentor programs

2013 Innovative Library Services and Programs in Digital Era – An International Perspective

Description: IRRT Pre-conference addressed important issues, trends, and strategies that contribute to the understanding of the transformation of 21st century libraries along with the emerging technology. This year’s pre-conference program featured case studies related to digital library development and the preservation of local culture and historical heritages. The panel presentations highlighted the interrelationships among digital preservation, digital resource development and management, as well as their presentation and dissemination to the global community.

Speakers: Nancy E. Gwinn & Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Libraries. Creating the Global Biodiversity Heritage Library; Anton duPlessis, Texas A&M University; Kent Norsworthy, University of Texas at Austin. Los Primeros Libros: Digital Collaboration to Facilitate New World Patrimony; Constantia Constantinou, SUNY Maritime College. Representing Cultural Knowledge and Heritage to the World; Leslie McCartney, University of Alaska Fairbanks. Gates of the Arctic National Park Project Jukebox and Gates of the Arctic Research Portal: Case studies of UAF’s Approach to Preservation and Access to Local Culture and Oral History; Valerie Hill, Texas Woman’s University. 3D Virtual Museums and Library Exhibits Promote International Information Literacy; Seangill Peter Bae, Columbia University. Resource Sharing Starts from Information Sharing; Use of ShareILL Wiki for International Interlibrary Loan.

2011 Outreach through New Partnership: Strategies and Successes

Description: The IRRT Preconference was held in conjunction with the ALA Annual Conference (June 23 - 28 2011) in New Orleans, LA. It was a half-day program from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm with presentations and discussion among participants and presenters. Based on this year’s theme, Outreach through New Partnership: Strategies and Successes, the presentations emphasized one or more of the following areas: practical case study, application of unique outreach models, successful implementation of creative programs, and summaries of library strategies and approaches to developing sustainable partnerships with local organizations.

Spekers: Amed Demirhan, MLIS., MADR, Director, University of Kurdistan Hawler Library -Training Library Staff in Kurdistan, Iraq (ppt)|

Jane Kinney Meyers, President - The Lubuto Library Project (ppt)

Binh P. Le, The Pennsylvania State University Abington College- Village Library Collection Development Project (ppt)

Jo Bell, Whitlatch Evergreen Education Foundation - Rural Library Initiatives in China (ppt)

Cristina Vaileanu, IREX Romania, Peter Pearson, Library Strategies, Toni Garvey, Phoenix Public Library - Advocacy in Transylvania (ppt)

Laurie Kutner, Information and Instruction Services Librarian/ Library Associate Professor, University of Vermont.

Cindy Dykes, Project Associate, Monteverde Institute Digital Library Project.

Stefanie Havelka, Electronic Resources-Web Services Librarian/ Assistant Professor, Lehman College/ CUNY

Creating Collections Through Collaboration: An Innovative Digital Library Project in Monteverde, Costa Rica (ppt)

2010 Web 2.0 Tools and Mobile Technology - Building Global Connections

Description: Librarians around the world explored how libraries employ Web 2.0, social networking, and mobile technologies to enhance their services, expose their resources, expand their outreach, and enrich the life of diverse customers in the digital environment. This year, a diverse group of speakers showcased innovative approaches to employing new technologies within their services and products.

Speakers: Brandon Badger, Product Manager of Google Books, discussed Google’s efforts in digitizing print materials to create digital books that are searchable, social, and mobile.

Christopher Carlson, Supervisor of the Web Services Division at the Library of Congress, talked about LC’s web, mobile, and social networking strategies.

Carrie Gits, Assistant Director of Reference, Nova Southeastern University, shared her library’s experiences in developing a simple mobile-friendly library web portal.

Milena Dobreva, Senior Researcher, Centre for Digital Library Research, University of Strathclyde, discussed a usability study aimied at enhancing the digital library site, Europeana, with Web 2.0 and other features.

Tao Yang, East Asian Librarian, Rutgers University Libraries, described how the website FOREASt (Free Open Resources for East Asian Studies) utilizes blogs, Google Apps, social bookmarking, tag cloud, and twitter to promote open access in the context of international and area studies.

2009 Digitization in Developing Countries

Description: Digitization of scholarly information, research materials and cultural heritage achieved a global scale, or did it? Aiming to preserve, document, and provide access to legacy collections; digitization efforts require significant fiscal outlay for infrastructure and technology, as well as human resources. A lot has been written about digitization projects in industrial nations but do we know how (and if) developing countries grapple with the challenges of implementing digitization projects? How are potential partners/funding agencies being identified? What are considerations in selecting material for digitization?

Speakers: John Van OudenarenSr. Advisor for the World Digital Library at the Library of Congress presented the World Digital Library Project (PowerPoint)

Huang Chen, Director of the Digital Library R & D Center, Zhejiang University Libraries, China, presented the Collection and Service of the CADAL Project (PowerPoint)

Bukky O. Omotayo, Deputy University Librarian, K.O. Jagboro, Systems Librarian, Wahab A. Aboyade, Digitization Librarian, Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library, Ile-Ife, Nigeria presented Digitization of Library Collections in Developing Countires: the Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library's Experience (PowerPoint)

Chunzhi, Xie, Vice Director/Assoicate Researcher, Wuhan University Library, China, presented Digitization in China's Academic Libraries: taking the Yangtze River Repository as an Example (PowerPoint)

Krystyna K. Matusiak, Digital Collections Librarian, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Myagmar Munkhmandakh, Director, Press Institute of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, presented Undertaking a Newspaper Digitization Project in Mongolia (PowerPoint)

Bogdan Trifunovic, Information Manager, Digitization Center, Public Library Cacak, Serbia, presented Digitization Projects among Public Libraries in Serbia: Problems, Obstacles and Success Stories (PowerPoint)


Mr. Buenaventura B. Basco (Co-Chair, July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2024) - buenaventura.basco[@]

Work Phone: (407) 823-5048

Fax: (407) 823-5865

University of Central Florida

2401 Tree Ridge Ln

Orlando, FL 32817

Sandy Wee (Co-Chair, July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2024) - wee[@]

Work Phone: (650) 312-5276

Fax: (650) 672-4747

San Mateo County Libraries

125 Lessingia Court

San Mateo, CA 94002


Poornima Gunasekaran (Member, July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2024)

Lamar University

Po Box 10021

Beaumont, TX 77710

Deborah J. Margolis (Member, July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2024)

Michigan State University

366 W Circle Dr

East Lansing, MI 48824-3729

Ms. Teresa A. Quick (Member, July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2023)

South Orange-Maplewood School District

327 Valley Street

Floor 2

South Orange, NJ 07079

Mr. Ahmad Ali Shah (Member, July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2024)

University of Central Asia

310 Lenen Street

Naryn, 7200000 Kyrgyzstan

Dr. Barbara Marson (Round Table Liaison, July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2023)


Delin R. Guerra (Staff Liaison)


American Library Association

50 E Huron St.

Chicago, IL 60611-2788

Dr. Barbara Marson (Execuitive Board Liaison -Round Table Councilor, 2021-2024)

Committee Roster (Full contact information requires log in).