Call for Papers – Libraries as learning organisations: how to nurture growth in our staff and our communities

 World Library and Information Congress:

79th IFLA General Conference and Assembly

‘Future Libraries: Infinite Possibilities, 17-23 August 2013, Singapore 

IFLA Sections for Education and Training (SET) and

Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning (CPDWL)

Call for Papers

Session Title: Libraries as learning organisations: how to nurture growth in our staff and our communities

The concept of the Learning Organization (LO) is a model that can help organizations become successful and grow in a fast changing information environment.  Learning organizations are agile and flexible with the ability to challenge the role of entrenched bureaucracy and rigid rules.  There is a clear focus on continuous improvement: this means that workplace learning is actively encouraged at all levels of the organization, with the open exchange of information enabling managers and staff to share their ideas and experiences. 

While the concept of learning organizations has been discussed in management literature for more than 25 years, it is clear that in recent times the concept has become ever more relevant to the library sector.  The powerful combination of individual learning and collective learning in the library environment contributes to the process of stimulating creative ideas which can transform our institutions and support the development of innovative programs and services for our users.   In turn, our communities look to the library as the source of formal and informal learning opportunities to improve their own lives and livelihoods.  The connections between libraries and learning are widely acknowledged, but we actually know very little about how these connections are shaping today’s public libraries, academic libraries and special libraries.  Beyond the theory – what is the practice?  How do libraries effectively nurture growth in their staff and in their communities?

The IFLA Sections for Education and Training (SET) and Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning (CPDWL) are seeking papers on the topic of learning organizations in the context of the library and information management profession.   Paper proposals are invited that address the following range of topics:

• Has your library actively used the learning organization model to help it achieve continuous improvement?

• Can your library be described as a ‘learning organization’?   Does it thrive on change?

• What strategies does your library have in place to help both staff and the community adapt to the rapidly changing socio-cultural and technological environments?

• How is learning mapped to your institution’s strategic planning process?

• Has your institution developed policies and practices that promote the integration of learning concepts through libraries?

• Do your communities recognise the library as the centre of learning because of the programs it delivers and the services it offers?

• How are LIS education programs developing a new generation of library and information professionals who are committed to embracing change as a positive force?

• What internal learning programs does your library have in place to promote a shared vision of individual and collective learning?

The takeaway from this session will be a series of vibrant examples where the broad concept of the learning organization is either in operation or where the idea has been tried and evaluated.  The ultimate objective is to build a body of literature on this topic that will help to guide librarians who want to implement this concept.

To submit a proposal

Proposals should include:

• An abstract of paper approximately 500 words

• A summary of the author(s) details (name, institution, position) and brief biographical statement of no more

Proposals should be submitted electronically to Sylvia Piggott at spiggott@sympatico.ca with a copy to Gillian Hallam at g.hallam@qut.edu.au  no later than January 31, 2013 and indicate ‘IFLA proposal’ in the subject line. 

 Selected presenters will be notified by March 28, 2013.

Full papers

The deadline for the final version of the full papers accepted for the session is May 14, 2013.  Papers should be in English (or in one of the official IFLA languages1, with an English translation attached).  The language of the session will be English. Presenters will have 20 minutes in the programme session to deliver their papers, and time will be allowed for an open forum to allow audience interaction.

Please note that the Programme Committee has no funds to assist prospective authors: abstracts should only be submitted on the understanding that the expenses of the attending the Singapore conference (including travel, expenses and conference fee) will be the responsibility of the authors(s)/presenter(s) of accepted papers. At least one author will be expected to attend conference to deliver the paper. Some national professional associations may be able to help fund certain expenses, and a small number of grants for conference attendance may be available at: www.ifla.org/III/members/grants.htm

For more information, please contact:

Sylvia Piggott spiggott@sympatico.ca or

Gillian Hallam g.hallam@qut.edu.au

References

Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization.  Revised edition.  London: Random House.

Smith, M. K. (2001). The learning organization.  Retrieved October 24, 2012 from http://www.infed.org/biblio/learning-organization.htm

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