Do you dream of traveling to exciting places like Cape Town, Columbus, and Wrocław? Have you considered becoming involved with an energetic and passionate group of international library workers? International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is in full swing for its annual World Library and Information Congress (WLIC). This year the conference takes place in Kuala Lumpur.

You can, of course, get involved by merely attending the conference in Malaysia in late August. For those looking to present, I have highlighted some opportunities with particular appeal to those who work with youth.

Satellite Meeting in Singapore: Inclusive Library Services for Children and Young Adults

IFLA calls them satellite meetings, but satellite meeting is just a fancy name for pre-conference. Usually they are held in a city close to the conference site. The focus of this meeting, sponsored by Libraries for Children and Young Adults (my section!) and Library Services to People with Special Needs Section is inclusive library services. The deadline for the call for papers is February 15, 2018.

Main Session: Catalysts for environmental and social sustainability

The session, sponsored by Libraries for Children and Young Adults and the Environment, Sustainability and Libraries Special Interest Group, explores the way that libraries supporting teens’ quest for a better future. The neat thing about this session is that proposals can be for more traditional paper presentations or a lightning talk. The deadline for the call for papers is also February 15, 2018.


When in doubt, go for a poster presentation. The call for posters entices, “Are you involved in an interesting project or in an area of work that you would like to discuss with or show to other congress attendees? Why not present your work in the IFLA Poster Sessions?” Posters can be a great low-key entry to the world of professional presentations. And, it’s fun to talk to librarians from all over the world during the poster session’s open hours.  The deadline is February 1, 2018 so don’t delay!

Participation Grants

There’s no getting around the cost. The WLIC is prohibitively expensive for most stateside librarians. But, perhaps you’re like me and you dump all your income into take-out, fancy cocktails, and travel anyway. IFLA kindly helps me select my yearly destination. There are 9,391 miles between Brooklyn and Kuala Lumpur, but somehow I will get there. I am very fortunate that my institution grants me leave to support my international library work.  I pick up the tab for my registration, accommodations, travel, and meals. For those looking for extra support, participation grants cover the cost of registration.

If Kuala Lumpur isn’t calling your name, the WLIC heads to Athens, Greece in 2019. And, if you wait long enough, the WLIC will return to the U.S.!

Karen Keys, Coordinator of Young Adult Services at Brooklyn Public Library, oversees programs and services for teens at 59 libraries. She supports a teen-centered service model and provides training, guidance, mentoring, and coaching to young adult services staff throughout Brooklyn.

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