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British Columbia Library Association

Call for Proposals for the 2021 BC Library Conference

November 14, 2020

The Call for Proposals for the 2021 BC Library Conference is open until December 31st, 2020.

You can read the submission FAQs and submit a proposal here:

The 2021 BC Library Conference focuses on reflection, rejuvenation and recommitment to the work and values that define libraries. We are using a quote from Antonio Machado’s book Boarder of a Dream: Selected Poems, to inspire our thinking and provide a tone for the 2021 Conference.

Traveler, there is no path. The path is made by walking.

The 2021 conference will be an opportunity to examine the themes that have been at the heart of library evolution over the past years. COVID 19 interrupted some of our thinking and actions, but now is the time to connect the issues and values of past years with our thinking and planning for the future.

Asked to identify key themes for the 2021 conference members of the BC library community identified the following as their top choices:

  • Libraries and Anti-Racism
  • Mental Wellness and Library Staff
  • Indigenization in Libraries
  • Library Values (Intellectual Freedom, EDI, and Privacy)
  • Libraries, Inside and Out (Climate Crisis, Public Space)
  • Libraries and Children’s Services: Visiting and Revisiting BC Summer Reading Club

We are calling for proposals that connect to and help illuminate one or more of these themes. Our plan is to highlight one theme, or more, per day of the conference.

We have resisted the urge to define these themes and instead call on potential presenters to prepare session proposals that approach, illustrate, and distinguish these themes in different ways. We would like to emphasize how important it is to connect these themes to our current and future work.

The 2021 BC Library Conference themes provide an opportunity to share the ways libraries currently do work, to examine the values that guide and inform our work, and to explore how we intend to broaden and deepen the contributions libraries make to society.

If you have any problems accessing the submission site, please contact our Conference Coordinator, Shannon Stumph at:

BCLA is committed to supporting new members of the library community as well as to showcasing our community’s expert voices. We strive to present the most interesting and the most difficult topics in a non-judgemental environment that fosters learning and sharing of information and opinions.

We are privileged to present the 2021 BC Library Conference from all parts British Columbia and recognize that this broad area represents the ancestral and unceded territories of First Nations peoples.

How the 2021 Conference will be different from past Conferences?

We feel certain that an in-person conference is not an option in 2021, but neither is a virtual conference that simply mirrors the in-person conference format. Our goal is to build a conference grounded in the benefits of the existing technology, while also recognising the limits of the technology. Our focus remains, as always, on the content of the conference sessions and presentations.

HOLD THE DATE: BC Virtual Library Conference, May 3rd to 7th, 2021

We plan to hold the virtual conference over 5 days, for limited hours, and mostly composed of single streamed sessions. Each day will have a theme or two and will begin with a keynote speaker. Following the keynote will be two consecutive TED-Style talks of 20 minutes each. A break with networking opportunities and activities and an invitation to visit the virtual Tradeshow will follow. The afternoon will have two choices of four 45 minutes sessions. In all, we expect the full day to be a maximum of 5 hours. In the evening we will invite guests back for entertainment such as author readings, music, or comedy acts.

There will be a reasonable charge to attend the conference for the full 5 days and an option to attend a single day, or a combination of single days.

The virtual format conference is a new and important evolution for BCLA and signals our intent to reach as many members of the library community, from as many parts of the province, as possible. Thank you for helping us shape your conference!

(Via British Columbia Library Association)

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