IFLA 2014 Congress Section Call for Proposals


80th IFLA General Conference and Council: Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge

Lyon, France, August 16 – 22, 2014


Programme: Literacy, community and responsibility

The IFLA Literacy and Reading Section is seeking proposals for a programme to be held at the IFLA Conference in Lyon, France in August 2014.

Literacy has long been identified as a precursor to success in academic achievement and the workplace. Literacy problems have been directly linked to healthcare issues, workplace safety, equity and access to work, while poor literacy exerts a serious negative drag on the overall GDP per capita of a country. The correlation between poverty and literacy is irrefutable (PISA, OECD, Bailey, 2010). Society rewards individuals who have higher literacy levels, not explicitly, but it’s inherent in the system. While schools are responsible for literacy in children and young adults, there are many individuals who graduate from school with low levels of literacy, and others who are considered to be illiterate. There are many adults who are also alliterate or reluctant to read which can have serious repercussions for their health and well being as participative citizens. In the last twenty years there has also been a large-scale movement of people from around the globe, so most countries are experiencing high levels of multiculturalism which means that many communities are now comprised of multilingual groups who may literate, but not in the language of the country where they are now permanent residents. Libraries have always been based on equity and access to information. As institutions they are ideal places where individuals can establish a sense of community and a feeling of belonging. They are public spaces where both newcomers and native citizens have opportunities to gain literacy skills, forge community and national identity, and gain access to knowledge and skills.

Proposals chosen for presentation will examine how libraries have developed community programmes, partnerships or liaised with other community groups to develop literacy in the 16+ age group. They should be grounded in theory, research, and/or practical applications and where applicable should also consider how these themes link up with issues addressed in the IFLA Trends report. Building on the Section’s theme Literacy, community and responsibility, presentations will be considered which:

  • discuss research in adult literacy and the role libraries can play in developing community and identity;
  • concept papers which review the literature in this area;
  • practitioner programmes designed to cater for children and their parents;
  • practitioner programmes designed to develop adult literacy;
  • community programmes designed to assist new citizens to develop literacy and become part of the community; and
  • partnerships between libraries or libraries and other organizations to develop adult literacy.

Proposals are requested for as many as eight/ten tabletop presentations which will be given as part of round table workshops. After an opening plenary keynote address, audience members will rotate to three/four different fifteen-minute presentations of their choice.  Presenters will therefore be asked to repeat their presentation three times for three different sets of people. Since these projects will be presented in an informal, small group setting, speakers should plan some visual accompaniment such as a poster that can be set up on the table.  Presenters may also want to bring brochures or flyers to hand out.  People submitting successful proposals will be asked to write a brief paper summarizing their library programme or project for publication in the IFLA Proceedings.  All chosen presenters will be listed in the official Conference programme.

Proposals should provide the following information:

Name and institution of speaker(s)

Brief biographical information

Proposal title

Brief (300 to 500 word) description of project and presentation format

Language of presentation

Proposals should be sent to Barbara Combes (Secretary of the Literacy and Reading Section) at bcombes@csu.edu.au by Monday 20th January 2014. Please indicate “IFLA Proposal WLIC 2014” on the subject line. Finalists will be notified by 3rd March 2014 and will be expected to submit final versions of their papers in one of the official IFLA languages by 15th April 2014.

For more information, please contact Annie Everall (Chair of Literacy and Reading Section) at annie@alannie.demon.co.uk

Please note that it is the speakers’ responsibility to find funding for their participation in the conference.