IRRT Chair's Program Committee

Statement of Role, Purpose, and Function

Develops and hosts program at annual conference for IRRT members and librarians interested in international librarianship.



Past IRRT Chair's Programs


Theme: Global Libraries As Advocates For Information Policy Change

Description: The pandemic has raised our awareness and understanding of the need for information policies that support the ability of libraries to serve their communities. 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.

2022 - Canceled

2021 --


Theme: Libraries as Social Change Engines.

Description: Changes in social structures, behaviors, values and organizations are inevitable and libraries are not immune to those changes. Embedded in their unique communities, libraries are social change engines. At times, they are driving the change, and at others, they reflect and respond to the social changes affecting their communities. The IRRT 2020 Chair’s program featured a panel of library innovators who identified a problem within their community and responded through outreach, services, programming, or other actions and were able to talk about the impact of the response. The panelists, representing national, public and academic libraries around the world, shared their experiences leading social change or cultivating sensitivity to marginalized groups in their communities.


Theme: "International Relations Round Table Chair's Program: Serving communities: Locally and Globally"

Description: As librarians and information professionals we assist our patrons to discover, create, transmit, and apply knowledge to address their needs and the needs of the communities they represent. The IRRT 2019 Chair's program will address how different types of libraries develop innovative services and programs to meet the needs of the communities they serve: locally, nationally and globally. The panel presenters representing national, public and academic libraries will share their experiences of programming and outreach in their libraries which situate them as centers of innovation, learning, and partners in moving their communities forward.


Theme: "Libraries Saving Lives: Serving immigrants and refugees."

Description: Global mobility and recent worldwide crises have led to an increase in immigrants and refugees seeking to improve their lives in sometimes unfamiliar countries and cultures. Libraries around the globe are responding to and welcoming the newcomers of all ages, languages, and nationalities into their communities. By developing services, programs, collections and spaces, they are assisting these particularly vulnerable populations with logistical and cultural adjustment through such programs as innovative language learning meet-ups, job-seeking guidance, and homework assistance. During this program, you’ll hear about how librarians in Malmö, Sweden; Cologne, Germany; and Kentucky, U.S., are using ground-breaking models and creating dynamic spaces to engage immigrants and refugees. Panelists will make suggestions on how you can adapt these ideas to transform your own libraries into socially inclusive spaces.


Theme: Acting for Humanity: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Libraries

Description: In 2015, 150 world leaders, with support from the United Nations Development Programme, adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to fight against injustice, poverty, inequality, and climate change. This program will address how we, as librarians and libraries, can take action to better the lives of all people and protect our planet. Presenters will be part of a panel that will describe and discuss topics such as 1. How individuals, libraries, or library associations are providing programming and education to advance peace and justice, alleviate poverty and hunger, reduce inequality, increase women’s rights and political participation, or protect the environment, 2. How individuals, libraries, or library associations are working with their governments, communities, and/or partners to advance peace and justice, alleviate poverty and hunger, reduce inequality, increase women’s rights and political participation, or protect the environment.


Theme: Best Practices of Internationalizing Libraries: Public, School, & Academic

Description: Calls for internationalizing libraries are increasing in the library world, and among all types of libraries—public, school, and academic. 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; and much, much more. This program will feature a showcase of “best practices” examples—in school, public, and academic libraries—of internationalizing efforts.Best Practices of Internationalizing Libraries: Public, School, & Academic


Theme: Library Leadership Initiatives: Stories from the World

The Chair’s Program shared the following:

1. how individuals, country associations, or international library organizations present, plan, and train for library leadership roles and/or succession planning, or

2. how international conferences or associations promote individual leadership skills of increasing internationalization.


Theme: Expanding the School Library: connecting students with students, across international boundaries, using modern technology - IRRT Chair's Program

Description: Speakers will address what school libraries are doing or can do to reach students from other countries with the use of modern technology.


Theme: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Description: Asi Burak, Co-President Games for Change, addressed the Annual Conference on Monday, July 1st. Sponsored by the IRRT, his talk focused on the power of video games as a maturing medium and a largely untapped tool "for good". Asi made an impassioned case for using games for social impact and learning, with an overview of the latest

trends and core challenges. He shared some case studies and success stories including his unique entry to the

field, leading the team behind the award-winning game "PeaceMaker" around the Middle-East Conflict.

Attendees learned about the field at large and how Games for Change is leading the future of this movement, including showcasing games in public spaces, museums and libraries. On February 17, 2013 the New York Times published an article about Games for Change's latest game "Half the Sky Movement: The Game," available on Facebook and inspired by the book and PBS television program.


Theme: Mātauranga Māori in New Zealand Libraries: A presentation and workshop on Maori knowledge in New Zealand libraries

Description: Treaty of Waitangi settlements are enabling iwi/hapu (tribal) entities to build repositories to house their own taonga (treasures) and mātauranga (knowledge) which can affect mainstream libraries throughout Aotearoa (New Zealand) , as iwi contemplate repatriation of their iwi/hapu taonga. Te Ropu Whakahau (Māori in Libraries and Information Management) has developed a one-day workshop, Mātauranga Māori in New Zealand Libraries. This workshop provides a professional development opportunity for non-Māori librarians, on how to work with iwi/hapu through true partnership, by acknowledging the importance of Matauranga Māori values and practices.


Theme: Resources: Funding, Gathering, and Digitizing and Providing Access to Cultural Heritage

Description: Gathering and digitizing cultural heritage easily accessible, with emphasis on materials and about developing countries.


Professional Development Around the World: Meeting the Challenge of Rapid Change in the Digital Environment

Description:An international panel addressed challenges and successes in providing professional development to librarians as they transition through the profession from the beginning to the middle and later in their careers, with an emphasis on technology.


Theme: International Library Partnerships: Walking Side by Side

Description:This session focused on strategies for developing successful and sustainable international partnerships. Partnerships can be wonderful vehicles to develop joint activities with other institutions, they also require a lot of work to establish and maintain. Michele Pierre-Louis, executive director of the Foundation Connaissance et Liberte (FOKAL) in Haiti, talked about her organization’s experience with international partnerships. U.S. speakers discussed their partnerships with libraries in Bulgaria, China, and South Africa.


International Program Form (PDF)

Please complete this form if you are planning any international programs at an upcoming annual conference.


Dr. Clara M. Chu (Co-Chair, July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2024)

Mortenson Center, UIUC Library

Urbana, Illinois


Dr. Barbara Marson (Co-Chair, July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2024)

East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina



Dr. Karen E. Downing (Member, July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2024)

University of Michigan

Ophelia T. Morey (Member, July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023)

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY

Ms. Christina Riehman-Murphy(Member, July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2023)

Penn State University

Penn State Abington Library

Abington, PA

Delin Guerra (Staff Liaison, July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2024)
Program Manager

American Library Association

225 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1600

Chicago, IL 60611-2788
Mark Mattson, Executive Board Liaison (Chair 2023-2024)
IRRT Chair


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