CFP & Conf.: Libraries & Public Rights to the Law – Dublin, Ireland


The IFLA Law Libraries Section and Copyright and other Legal Matters (CLM) Advisory Committee seek proposals for papers to be presented at a session to be held at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Dublin, Ireland on Aug. 15-21, 2020. The deadline for proposals is Feb. 21, 2020. 

Session title:

“Libraries and Public Rights to the Law: International Perspectives on Barriers to Free Legal Information”

Session Theme:

In spite of the advancement of freely available online legal information, considerable tension still exists between the governments of the countries of the world and commercial publishers when it comes to the need to provide the laws of the countries of the world freely to all people. The public has a fundamental right to the law in all democratic countries, and yet, in many instances, the law remains locked behind paywalls, terms of use, and even copyright assertions that restrict the public’s and libraries’ rights to use and preserve the law.  In many ways, the Internet has not freed the law, but offered publishers the opportunity to explore more pernicious practices when contracting with governments and courts to publish legal information. Some publishers restrict the ability to access and use the law through copyright restrictions, restrictive terms of use, and fee for use services. In some instances, these practices limit a library’s ability to provide primary legal material to all users and to preserve the law. This program will explore how restrictive use policies (copyright, terms of use, pay for access) affect the public’s ability to publicly access the law and libraries’ abilities to share law and preserve it.

We invite papers that:

  • Discuss how libraries have encountered restrictions on access to legal information, including how libraries have responded to these restrictions to make law more accessible for their users.
  • Discuss the role of libraries/librarians in advocating for access to the law, including successful advocacy efforts in any country to expand access to the law.
  •  Discuss legal restrictions to free access to the law in a particular country (examples can include copyright, terms of use restrictions, etc.) and how those restrictions affect people’s rights to access the law and libraries’ in their ability to help them.
  • Discuss perspectives or offers expertise outside of a North American perspective.

Papers should reflect the overall conference theme, “Inspire, Engage, Enable, Connect”.

Language of the session:

Papers should be in one of the seven IFLA’s official languagesArabicChineseEnglishFrenchGermanRussian and Spanish, however, abstracts should be in English. The Presentation for this session must be done in English, as no interpretation services will be available for this session.

Important dates and submission guidelines

Deadline to submit proposals/abstracts: 21 February 2020

Proposals should include:

– Title of proposed presentation

– Abstract of proposed paper (no more than 300 words)

– Name of presenter plus position and/or title

– Employer / affiliated institution

– Contact information including e-mail address, telephone number

– Short biographical statement of presenter

Send proposals via email to:

Leslie Street

Important dates:

13 March 2020: Proposals will be reviewed and successful candidates will be notified.

29 May 2020:  Deadline for selected presenters to submit formal paper to coordinator (for inclusion on the IFLA conference website and the Section’s website).  Details regarding the format and length of the final paper will be sent to candidates whose abstracts are accepted.

All proposals must be received by 21 February 2020.

About the author

Research/Instruction Librarian, Hugh & Hazel Darling Law Library, Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University