#RLUK25 Conference | Liverpool | 19-21 March 2025

Champions of knowledge: Libraries as beacons of trust and integrity

Libraries seek to build their practices on strong foundations of integrity, critical thinking, and ethical values. These foundations underpin a commitment to civic duty, positioning libraries as highly trusted partners and authorities in their communities.

In an age of misinformation and disinformation, maintaining information integrity is fundamental to a well-functioning society and democracy. The spread of false narratives, fake news, and censorship poses significant challenges that require a multifaceted approach to address. It is a complex challenge and one in which libraries play a crucial role.

RLUK25 will explore the philosophical and pragmatic challenges for research libraries and their role in upholding the values of trust and integrity.

About the conference

RLUK25 will be an in-person conference held in Liverpool on 19-21 March 2025.

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 RLUK25 is now open – see further details below – and the deadline for submissions is Friday 25 October. Any submissions received after this date will not be accepted.

RLUK25 registration

We will confirm conference fees and details about bursaries when registration opens for the conference towards the end of 2024.

Call for papers

RLUK25 is an open, international conference. 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.

The main conference themes will include, but are not limited to, the following: 

Partnering with our communities: The role of research libraries in cultivating physical and digital civic spaces, literacy, and engagement. 

Libraries as partners in research: Surfacing the value libraries bring to research excellence, and the potential for greater research engagement. 

Embedding ethics in AI: developing ethical AI policies and practices in relation to our collections, metadata, and services. 

Expanding the record: How can we ensure our collections and collection practices are inclusive? Whose voices are heard, who do we engage with, who has access to the scholarly record, and who contributes to that record?

Ensuring capacity: How do we build capacity in our workforce to provide the skills required to navigate a continuing changing environment? Can we diversify the routes into working at our libraries and embrace more inclusive recruitment practices to expand the range of expertise throughout the sector?

Building bibliodiversity: achieving diversity and plurality of knowledge through scholarly publishing and communication. 

Uncomfortable conversations: Libraries on the frontline of censorship, book challenges and bans.

Ethical procurement: How do we reflect our values in the decisions we make on who to partner with or purchase from? What is our role in greening the supply chain?

Submission formats

Papers will be up to 20 minute presentations. Proposals may have multiple authors, but should have a maximum of two speakers. 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 1.5 hour practical sessions focused on the themes of the conference. All workshop proposals should clearly demonstrate a high level of interactivity and audience participation. 

Roundtables are 1 hour 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 are 1 hour sessions that 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 are up to 1.5 hour sessions that 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. 

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. 

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 RLUK25 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
  • Any scheduling conflicts for speakers

Proposals must be submitted here by the end of Friday, 25 October 2024.

Successful submissions will be eligible for discounted conference tickets ** (up to two speakers for papers, up to four speakers for workshops and hackathons; up to five places for roundtables and provocations). RLUK will not be able to cover accommodation, travel or any other incidental costs for speakers.

Please note: the information submitted via the RLUK25 call for papers submission form will be held by RLUK in accordance with its data privacy policy. Further details of this policy can be found here: https://www.rluk.ac.uk/privacy-notice/.

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

** RLUK25 Conference fees have yet to be finalised but we anticipate discounted speaker fees will be:

  • Full conference (RLUK): £175 + VAT
  • Full conference (Non-RLUK) £225 + VAT
  • Day ticket (RLUK) £75 + VAT
  • Day ticket (Non-RLUK) £90 +VAT

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