#RLUK22: Mapping the new open for research libraries

Open: to be visible, accessible, welcoming, receptive to knowledge and experiences, expansive, and within reach.

Now is the time to look forward to the new possibilities for research libraries.

Across the research and higher education sector libraries have demonstrated their ability to adapt and thrive, and have underlined their importance and value to research and scholarship.

The RLUK22 Conference will delve into what the new open will mean for research libraries. We don’t look back to restoring what once was, but instead look forward to the future library now.

This period of disruption has accelerated the evolution of our libraries, across the digital and physical space. We have an opportunity to rethink all aspects of our libraries with an openness agenda in mind: our priorities, our infrastructure, our staff and ways of working, our services and relationships with our users, and what our libraries mean to them. How can we use the transformative power of the library to affect change on campus and in the wider research landscape?

The discussions from RLUK22 will align with the new RLUK Strategy for 2021-24 which seeks to drive change, enable dialogue, and promote collaboration across the research, information, and cultural sectors.

We look forward to your joining us on 14-16 March 2022, as we map the new open for research libraries

About the RLUK22 Conference

RLUK22 will be a virtual conference held from 14-16 March 2022.

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 RLUK22 is now open – see further details below – and the deadline for submissions is Friday 19 November.

RLUK22 bursaries will be available and details will be announced later this year, along with details of the conference fee.


Call for Papers – the journey to the new open

RLUK22 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. 

Point of departure

  • Cultivating organisational change and fomenting cultural shifts: reflections from the pandemic year
  • Making a difference: addressing the structural, cultural and digital inequalities of our libraries
  • Navigating the physical and digital shift: the changing nature of library spaces

The expedition

  • Exploring different framings for open – open access, open research, open knowledge, common knowledge
  • An integrated open: facilitating open research, creating open infrastructures
  • Approaches to digital technologies, tools, and techniques to transform research library collections, services, and user expectations.
  • Advocacy and the library on campus
  • Out of office: the effect of digital on our ways of working and the impact on library services
  • Teaching and learning: the challenges for libraries post-Covid
  • Digital closeness: the role of the library and remote learning
  • Beyond the campus: libraries and their role in societal change 
  • Competencies and capabilities: re-skilling the library workforce for the fourth industrial revolution

The destination

  • Envisioning the campus of the future
  • Positive change: what will a truly inclusive library look like?
  • Beyond virtual reading rooms: open collections and the future of collections and information access
  • The library as partners and pioneers in the research process
  • The new leaders: the Library Director of 2050


Submission formats

Papers will be up to 15 minute presentations, with or without accompanying slides. Proposals may have multiple authors, but should have a maximum of one speaker. Papers may be pre-recorded, but an author 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.

Roundtables 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 about the conference and submissions:

 All RLUK22 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 one speaker for papers, 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 by Friday 19 November 2021. Any submissions received after this date will not be considered. We aim to notify applicants early in the new year