#RLUK23 Virtual Conference :: 22-24 March 2023

Partners and Pioneers: Reimagining the modern research library

The research library is a place of experimentation, working as a partner and pioneer in the research process and as a catalyst for change within scholarship and society. It is central to the learning and research experience, operating in a complex and constantly shifting ecosystem.

We are emerging from a period of rapid transformation that has challenged not just the way that our libraries work, but their role within the campus and in relation to the wider community. The RLUK23 Conference will explore how research libraries have navigated this period of unprecedented change, and how positive decision making and planning can help us build more inclusive, diverse, and equitable libraries. As we move from a reactive mindset to now having the space to consider a more long-term perspective, RLUK23 will consider how library missions are being shaped in this new landscape.

The scale and acceleration of the digital shift has transformed our ways of working and the scope of the library offer, but it has also exposed skills gaps and is requiring libraries to reassess and realign their talent strategies to an expanded digital offer.

Wellbeing is now an essential part of many universities’ mission, encompassing a comprehensive range of issues. The research library is well placed to provide for and monitor the welfare of the community it serves, therefore it has become integral to many university health and wellbeing strategies, for both staff and students. How can a holistic approach to wellbeing, that manifests through all aspects of the library, help strengthen the library’s support of research and its staff?

RLUK23 will celebrate our collections. Hybrid and remote working has transformed expectations of the research and learning experience, and has made collections more accessible than ever. We will explore the next steps to realising collective collections at a consortial level, and in a hybrid world, we will explore the dynamic ways in which the treasures of our collections are being showcased in the physical and digital sphere.

About the RLUK23 Conference

RLUK22 will be a virtual conference held on 22-24 March 2023.

The conference is open to all, and is an excellent opportunity for professionals to connect, discuss and debate together in order to help shape the research library of the 21st century.

The Call for Papers for RLUK23 is now open – see further details below – and the deadline for submissions is Friday 25 November 2022.

RLUK23 bursaries will be available and details will be announced later this year, along with details of the conference fee.

Call for Papers

RLUK23 is an open, international conference, and we welcome submissions from all colleagues who share our commitment to reshape scholarship and the role of the research library, and we look forward to hearing from a range of voices that will challenge, disrupt and inspire us. 

Innovation in the library

  • Charting the course: the role of leadership in libraries to navigate the long cultural shift
  • What is a library? Developing a new vision for the research library
  • Open research infrastructure and the role of the library

Libraries and wellbeing

  • Designing library spaces to support student wellbeing
  • The role of technology in promoting wellbeing
  • The role of leadership in developing a healthy and happy library

New ways of working

  • Hybrid working: a new normal
  • Diverse and representative: building the future library workforce
  • Bridging the digital skills gap in libraries

Celebrating the collection

  • Cultivating a Collective Collection: challenges and solutions
  • The hybrid collection: dynamic approaches in showcasing our collections
  • Inclusive approaches to collections, audiences and engagement

Submission formats

 will be up to 15 minute presentations, with or without accompanying slides. Proposals may have multiple authors, but should have a maximum of two speakers. Papers may be pre-recorded, but authors should be available during the session for questions and answers. Where possible, papers should relate to the conference sub-themes listed above, but can also relate to other topics pertinent to the conference theme.

Interactive workshops are up to 2 hour practical sessions focused on the themes of the conference. All workshop proposals should clearly demonstrate a high level of interactivity and audience participation. Workshops may utilise virtual networking spaces, online collaborative tools and may also include breakout groups.

 are discussions engineered for smaller groups that may focus on a specific theme, offer opportunities for networking, and facilitate peer-to-peer experience sharing. Submissions should include details of a moderator and up to four speakers. 

Provocations have a moderator and up to four ‘provocateurs’ to deliver short (no more than 5 minutes) verbal presentations on a single theme, and then discussions will open up to members of the audience. This format is a way to interrogate an issue from different perspectives, and as the title suggests, these perspectives should offer an intellectual challenge to assumed or accepted norms.

Hackathons/solution rooms may or may not have a technological focus, however, the crux of this format is to bring people together for creative problem solving of a particular topic or issue. Proposals should articulate clear objectives for the session, and an idea of desirable solutions or outcomes.

Speed presentations are short, fast paced presentations with speakers restricted to five minutes in total – they can be pre-recorded if preferred. Presentations must relate to the conference sub-themes listed in the call for papers.

Virtual posters will not be presented live, but will be shared on a virtual space on the RLUK Conference platform. Posters may be submitted as a PDF, slide, interactive whiteboard, or video (no more than 10 minutes)

Submission guidelines

The conference organisers welcome submissions from all colleagues with a professional interest in the issues affecting research libraries, and we look forward to hearing from a range of voices that will challenge, disrupt and inspire us, including those from underrepresented groups. The conference is open to all.

Those unfamiliar with the RLUK Conference can view previous presentations by clicking on ‘previous events’ in the top navigation bar. If you are new to the RLUK Conference and would like to have an informal chat about submitting a proposal, please do get in touch with one of our conference mentors, who can offer general advice only about the conference and submissions:

 All RLUK23 submissions should include:

  • Name, job title and organisation of all speakers 
  • Submission title
  • The theme that your paper/workshop/session applies to. We welcome themes that are not listed above but that are related to our overall theme
  • A short summary of no more than 100 words. If your submission is selected for the conference, this summary will be published in the conference programme
  • An abstract of no more than 500 words (not required for poster or speed presentation submissions)
  • Any scheduling conflicts for speakers

Successful submissions will be eligible for complimentary conference tickets (up to two speakers for papers, one speaker for speed presentations and posters; up to four speakers for workshops and hackathons; up to five places for roundtables and provocations). RLUK will not be able to cover any other incidental costs for speakers.

Submissions will be reviewed by the RLUK Conference Committee, and will be judged on the following criteria:

Relevance: submissions should address the topics and challenges highlighted in the conference theme, or others that will be of relevance and interest to our audience.

Approach: for workshops and interactive sessions we are looking for submissions that demonstrate a high level of interaction, and are clear on the benefits and value they will bring to the conference and delegates

Innovative thinking: we are keen to receive submissions that break new ground or tackle new perspectives on the conference themes

Occasionally the RLUK Conference organisers may suggest a submission is delivered in a different format than that which was initially proposed. Authors will be fully consulted in this instance.

Submissions should made via this form – deadline extended to Friday 2 December 2022. Any submissions received after this date will not be considered. We aim to notify applicants early in the new year