IRRT International Papers and Projects Committee

Statement of Role, Purpose, and Function

Founded in 1999, the committee's charge is to encourage the scholarly exchange of ideas on library issues between U.S. librarians and their colleagues from other countries; to develop a venue that fosters discussion and the exchange of opinion; to disseminate a global view of the library profession that will enrich and broaden the views of U.S. librarians; and to encourage our foreign colleagues to learn more about our professional associations and concerns.

Goals and Objectives

  • To select a theme for the annual call for papers that reflects the focus of the presidential theme
  • To announce and disseminate the call for papers
  • To review and select 4-5 presenters from foreign countries who represent a wide diversity of opinions and approaches to the library
  • To promote the international papers session in the conference
  • To work with other ALA committees to place foreign speakers on appropriate panels
  • To evaluate the success of the yearly program

2021 IRRT Papers and Projects session

Strengthen Libraries as Critical
ALA Annual Conference is quickly approaching. As you schedule your virtual experience, please consider viewing and supporting Strengthening Societies: Libraries as Critical Institutions in Helping Communities Manage Change, available On Demand. This session and pre-recorded Q&A are moderated by members of the ALA International Relations Round Table Papers and Projects Session Committee. The committee is pleased to welcome speakers from China, Singapore, and the US! This session explores how libraries support their communities during times of unrest and uncertainty that can cause collective trauma. Speakers will explore how their libraries play a role in keeping their communities strong and resilient, from disaster recovery, stepping up to address inequality, providing social and mental support, facilitating conversations and actions, whether it is social justice or bridging understanding, all the way to preparing for longer term changes in the way we deliver services and content. This session is not about COVID-19, as a pandemic is just one (albeit a very challenging one) scenario that can affect the fabric of society. In this session, participants will acquire new ideas on how to support their own communities facing possible disruptions, such as pandemics, natural disasters, political instability, violence, or economic downturns; will be able to identify what resources (financial, technological, human) may be needed in order to support a community in crisis; and will be able (if they choose) to connect with the speakers and share experiences of their own libraries in supporting communities in crisis.


Past ALA Papers and Projects session

2019 International Paper & Projects Session - Washington, D.C.: Preparing for a Changing World: How Libraries Facilitate the Acquisition of New Skill Sets in Communities.

Societies are constantly changing whether because of demography, socio-political climates or even new technology disruptions which require new ways of thinking and learning. All of these have an impact on communities, how they function, interact as well as a bearing on who gets ahead and who falls behind. Libraries have long sought to level the playing field, promoting equity and inclusively while trying to keep up with change. With an ever-widening scope, libraries increasingly play the role of a facilitator, bringing together different stakeholders in the community to strengthen and improve the lives of those it serves.

Handouts (PDF format):

Farewell to Arms – or How the Library Tries to Make Readers and Consciences Humans Out of Vulnerable Groups
Lisbeth Bryhl and Dorte Rugtved, Denmark

Quezon City Public Library: Innovative Outreach Efforts to Multiple Community Stakeholders
Mayor Herbert Bautista, Emelita Villanueva, Mariza Chico, Mary Ann Bernal, Paulo Dominik, Alistair Troy Lacsamana, and John Hickok, Philippines

Rewriting Possibilities Through Future Skills: Programming in Singapore’s Public Libraries that Facilitate the Acquisition of New Skill Sets
Stephanie Tan, Singapore

Tribal College Libraries Serving Diverse Needs: Resources and Programming for Students, Faculty, and Intergenerational Indigenous Communities - Sandy Toro, Mary Anne Hansen, Aaron LaFromboise, and Joy Bridwell, U.S.A



2018 International Papers & Projects Session


2017 International Papers & Projects Session-Chicago, IL-Libraries Transform: Programs and Services for Sustainable Environments, Social Justice, and Quality Education for All

Description: Because Libraries reach a large cross-section of the public, they are in a unique position to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the promotion of sustainable environments, social justice, and quality education. This program featured presentations and projects by librarians or professionals working outside the USA or involved in projects outside of the USA whose research, libraries, or projects are working to promote lifelong learning, provide inclusive and quality education for all, reduce inequality, promote just and inclusive societies, contribute to environmental sustainability.


Library services for indigenous societies in Latin America Experiences and lessons by  Edgardo Civallero
Public Libraries Improving Public Participation and Democracy by Anders Ericson Concept Developer Norway
Strengthening Innovative Library Leaders by Susan Schnuer and Rebecca McGuire Mortenson Center for International Library Programs
It’s More Than Just Saris & Samosas  by Sarala Uttangi Manager, Diversity and Adult Services Brampton Library


2016 International Papers & Projects Session-Orlando, FL: Borderless Libraries: Pushing Boundaries for Innovation and Leadership

Description: Learning and research today are increasingly global and interdisciplinary. To meet the challenges and needs of our interconnected world, libraries are reaching outside of their institutional and geographical borders to cooperate with institutions and agencies of all types. With increased awareness of shared missions and common challenges, libraries are forming learning networks to gain insights and achieve solutions to respond to community needs. This program featured presentations on projects and collaborations that cross traditional boundaries, both geographical and institutional, in order to innovate and lead.     


2015 International Papers & Projects Session-San Francisco, CA:Learning from One Another: Mentoring Across and Within Borders

Mentoring is an effective way of assisting people to progress in their careers through a partnership between two people, an experienced mentor and a less experienced mentee.  Formal mentoring programs exist in librarianship as in other professions and may be found within libraries, library associations, or other professional settings. Topics discussed: Mentoring programs that are international in scope, Analysis of successes and obstacles of intra-national mentoring, Mentoring as part of sister library partnerships, Comparison of mentoring programs in different countries, How mentoring across borders has strengthened international connections.

2014 International Papers & Projects Session - Las Vegas, NV: E-Books and E-Readers: Leveling the Playing Field or Widening the Digital Gap?

E-books and e-readers are revolutionizing reading and libraries the world over.  Digital information can provide solutions to problems of access and have a significant impact in places where funding for physical libraries and books is limited.  With their ease of distribution and availability in large numbers, they hold great promise for delivering currency and intellectual content to the information poor. At the same time, digital information is often only available to those who can afford internet access and the technological infrastructure needed to provide that access.  As developed countries increasingly invest in e-books and e-readers, the information rich grow richer. Can developing countries catch up? 

This program featured projects and research illustrating how e-books and e-readers have impacted libraries and readers globally in many different ways.  It featured various projects, trends and issues related to the use of e-books in libraries around the world.

Presenters considered the theme from diverse angles.

  • Delivery options for e-books in rural areas
  • eBooks and other forms of eContent for mobile devices
  • Consortia providing links to ebooks between information rich and information poor institutions
  • E-reader circulation studies


2013 International Papers & Projects Session - Chicago, IL:" Emerging Technologies, Emerging Economies: Transforming International Libraries."

Description: This program featured various projects, trends and issues related to the use of emerging technologies in libraries around the world. Particular attention was given to presentations which highlighted the transformation that has occurred in different areas of library service due to technological change. Specific limitations, restrictions and/or creative solutions implemented by librarians were also of interest.

Speakers: *Mr. Mads Gaml, Head of Project Management, Copenhagen Libraries, DENMARK; *Florencia García Oyandel, Encargada de Fomento Lector, Sistema Nacional de Bibliotecas Públicas, CHILE; *Lili Luo, Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Science, San Jose State University, CA, USA; * Wenyi Ding, PhD Candidate, Department of Information Management, Peking University, CHINA

2012 International Papers & Projects Session - Anaheim, CA: “Expecting the Unexpected: Libraries Respond to Profound Change”

Description: Increasingly, economic, political and human crises, along with natural disasters, constitute a recurrent reality around the world. The effect of large-scale disaster and economic disruption are being felt far and wide and impacting libraries in diverse ways. Libraries are casualties of natural disasters, from earthquakes to hurricanes, as well as civil unrest and wars. Sudden cuts in library budgets have resulted in severe staff reductions, privatization and even closures. Four presenters from around the world  shared their experiences about how they have prepared for or coped with profound change. Speakers: Carolyn Robertson, Christchurch City Libraries, New Zealand; Carol Brandenburg, Lincoln University, New Zealand; Megan Hodge, Chesterfield County (VA) Public Library, United States Presented: Michael R. Mabe; Beth Joy Patin and Maria Garrido, University of Washington; Carolyn F. Runyon and Meggan Houlihan, The American University in Cairo.

2011 International Papers & Projects Session - New Orleans: “Literacy Programs in Libraries around the Globe”

What innovative programs and practices are libraries employing to develop literate communities? How are libraries partnering or collaborating with other organizations around literacy programs? The challenge includes both adult and childhood literacy and involves reaching out to those who cannot read or who have limited reading skills. These issues are the core of this year’s program, which will explore successful literacy initiatives in libraries of all types around the globe.

"The Little Big Book Club – Linking Public Libraries, Publishers and  Early Readers" -  Patricia M. Genat, Managing Director, ALS Library Services Pty Ltd., Australia
"Expanding our Reach and Range: Developing Literate Students through Multiple Program and Partnerships at City University of  Hong Kong" - Dr. Steve Ching and  Bethany Wilkes, City University of Hong Kong
"Fostering Children of the Nation’s Future at the Library through  Literacy and Reading Promotion Efforts" - Sook Hyeun Lee, National Library for Children and Young Adults, Republic of Korea (presented by Ms. Hye Jin Kim, Planning and Coordination Division of the National Library of Korea)
"Lubuto’s Zambian Language Literacy Project – Creating Computer Based Tools to Teach" - Jane K. Meyers, Lubuto Library Project, Inc.

2010 International Papers & Projects Session - Washington, D.C.: "Libraries as Gateways to Local History around the World"

This year’s program will explore successful projects and initiatives implemented by libraries around the world to preserve local history and to open up their cultural heritage to the global community.

“Digital Preservation of Belize's National Collection” – Felene Swaso & Michael Bradley

“The Pacific Digital Library: Local Culture, Global Access” – Jane Barnwell & Karleen Manuel Samuel

But Prized Elsewhere: Local History, Collection Development, and the Study of Modern Hellenism” (PDF file) – George I. Paganelis, Curator, Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection, University Library, California State University, Sacramento, CA

2009 International Papers & Projects Session - Chicago, Illinois: "Libraries Serving Multicultural Communities"

Societies around the world - both urban and rural - are increasingly multicultural and libraries of all kinds and sizes are adapting their services, programs, and collections to serve culturally diversified communities of users. "Multiculturalism," as defined by IFLA's Library Services to Multicultural Populations Section, is the "co-existence of diverse cultures, where culture includes racial, religious, or cultural groups and is manifested in customary behaviors, cultural assumptions and values, patterns of thinking, and communicative styles." Consequently, "multicultural library services include both the provision of multicultural information to all types of library users and the provision of library services specifically targeted to traditionally underserved groups." This inclusive approach is at the core of this year's theme, which will explore successful projects and initiatives implemented around the world to improve library services to their evolving communities.


" Developing Cultural Competence to Create Multicultural Libraries" (PDF version) - Patricia Montiel-Overall, Ph.D., University of Arizona


" The Role of Genocide in the Development of Libraries and Librarianship in Rwanda" (PDF version) - Musa Wakhungu Olaka, University of Missouri, School of Information Science and Learning Technology


" Masiphumelele Satellite Library - Multipurpose Service in a Poor Multicultural Community" (PDF version) - Ms. Sharon Brijmohun, Chief Librarian of Cape Town's Central Library, South Africa; Susan Alexander, Deputy Librarian, Fish Hoek Library, City of Cape Town, South Africa (Author)


" Identifying the Information Seeking Behaviors of Chinese Undergraduate Students in Canada and the Implications for Canadian Academic Libraries" (PDF version) - Guoying Liu, Systems Librarian, University of Windsor, Leddy Library, Canada; Danielle Winn, Information Literacy Librarian, University of Windsor, Leddy Library, Canada


World-Class Library Services at a World-Grant University (PDF version) - Christine Tobias, Reference and Technology Librarian; Lucas W.K. Mak, Catalog and Metadata Librarian; Stephanie Parentesis, Library Instruction Coordinator


2008 International Papers & Projects Session - Anaheim, CA: "Re-Assess, Reassign, and Reinvent: Collection Building Without Global Borders"

The 2008 International Papers Program theme was "Re-Assess, Reassign, and Reinvent: Collection Building Without Global Borders." Librarians have long been interested in resource-sharing and collection enhancement on a worldwide basis. Political turmoil, economic restraints, and lack of professional personnel impede on collection development efforts of many libraries. This program explored global efforts to improve distribution of publications to library collections. The focus was on successful initiatives, and provided helpful advice on assuring that library surplus materials reach their destinations in a timely, cost-effective manner


" The Role of Charity in Collection Building: Four Models for Cooperative Collection Development" (PowerPoint version) - Sharolynn J. Pyeatt, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT


"Collection Development through International Partnerships" - Leslie Alter Hage, Director, Notre Dame University-Louaize, Lebanon


"Cooperation and Resource Sharing between Academic Libraries in Lebanon" - Dr. Fawz Abdallah, Assistant Professor, Beirut Arab University, Lebanon; President, Lebanese Library Association


"Resource Sharing & Collection Building Through a Consortium: an Indonesian Model Created by International Collaboration"

Luki Wijayanti, Central Library Director, University of Indonesia
Ida Fajar Priyanto, Library Director, Gadjah Mada University
Liauw Toong Tjiek (Aditya Nugraha), Library Director, Petra Christian University
Ridwan Siregar, Library Director, North Sumatra University
Welmin Suharto, Central Library Director, Brawijaya University
Yooke Tjuparmah, Library Director, Pendidikan University
Nanan Hasanah, Librarian, Institute of Technology Bandung
Safirotu Khoir, Librarian, Gadjah Mada University
John Hickok, Library Instruction Coordinator, California State University Fullerton



" Digitization of Collections of Late Usuman Dan Fodio: A Gateway Model of Resource Sharing Among Libraries" (PDF Version) - Ibrahim Alhaji Usman



Felicia Zhiran Chan (Co-Chair, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022)
Email: felicia.adrienne[@]
National Library Board, Singapore
Singapore, 188064 SINGAPORE

Miroslava Nezar (Co-Chair, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022)
Email: mnez[@]
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540


Jana De Brauwere (Member, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022)
San Francisco Public Library
San Francisco, CA 94102

Brea E. Henson (Member, July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2021)
University of North Texas
Denton, TX 76203

Michael Bailou Huang (Member, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022)
Stony Brook University
Health Sciences Library
Stony Brook, NY 11794

Ms. Mary Kathryn Oberlies( Member, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022)
William & Mary
Earl Gregg Swem Library
Williamsburg, VA 23187

Dr. Oluwatosin Fisayo Oyerinde (Member, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022)
The Polytechnic Ibadan
The Polytechnic, Ibadan Sango
Ibadan, 00000 Nigeria

Nurhak Tuncer (Member, July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2021)
Elizabeth City State University
Elizabeth, NJ 

Delin R. Guerra (Staff Liaison)
American Library Association
50 E Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611-2788 

Committee Roster (Full contact information requires log in)



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