2020 Annual Conference

In an effort to reduce opportunities for the potential spread of COVID-19 the Executive of the NLLA has decided to temporarily suspend non-essential gatherings and external events of more than 25 people. As such, at this time we are postponing the 2020 Annual Conference. Given the current uncertainty about when it will once again be safe and prudent to hold such an event, the new date of the conference remains to be determined and will be announced later.

In his book Palaces for the People, sociologist Eric Klinenberg describes how a group of planners met to discuss ways to restore resilience to 21st century cities. Someone proposed a compelling idea for a “resilience center” – a place that would be a community gathering place, open every day, welcoming to everyone, staffed by trained professionals, with flexible space that could be adapted for many uses. Klinenberg realized that most communities already have such a place – their local library.

Resilience acknowledges that we live in a state of constant change, in systems that are larger, more complex, and more interrelated than we know. Libraries are much more than just houses for collections that preserve community memory, identity, history, and a sense of place. The reason libraries are so effective to re-ground and re-center communities in crisis is that they already serve a similar, if less urgent, role in more normal times, with goals for literacy, civic engagement, and community resiliency.

For over five decades, the Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association has witnessed and supported both our ongoing values and our continuing transformations. Through the ups and downs, cuts to funding, and a perceived move away from the printed word, and the “usefulness” of libraries, our industry has survived. Libraries and change are therefore two words welded together in this century.  This can be seen by the many news stories in today’s society that discuss libraries making major shifts in direction in order to retain vitality in an age of rapidly emerging technologies, and community needs.

Now is the time for us to celebrate our resilience – as library workers and Newfoundlanders – and we want to hear from you, our members and supporters.  What does resilience mean to you? How does your library exhibit resilience? What role does the library play in community resilience?


For our 2020 conference, we are seeking proposals for the following presentation types:

  • Long presentation or workshop: 45-minute sessions, composed of either a 30-minute presentation and 15-minute question period, or a 45 minute workshop.  May be either practice-based or research-based.
  • Panel: We will ask a series of questions, and a moderated discussion will be led around the topic of resilience.  Please tell us why you would like to be on the panel.
  • Lightning talk: 7-10 minute timed presentations, designed to give attendees a brief glimpse into an idea, project, program or activity.
  • Book teaser: 10-minute presentations consisting of a book talk and reading of a short excerpt.  Teasers can be based on any book chosen by the presenter, including fiction, non-fiction, adult or children’s literature (does not have to be authored by the presenter).  Please state the book title in abstract.

The deadline for proposals is Monday, March 30th.  Please submit your proposal using our online form and remember to include:

  • An indication of the presentation type (long presentation, short presentation, lightning talk or book teaser).
  • The presentation title plus a brief abstract (max. 250 words for a long or short presentation; max. 100 words for a lightning talk or book teaser) describing your topic and the goals of your presentation.
  • Contact details (name, library, position, telephone number and email address) for each speaker.
  • A brief (max 50 word) biography for each speaker.

For questions or comments, please contact Conference Chairs Elyse Sparkes Coombs (elysecoombs@gmail.com) or Jessie Cahill-Bouzane (Jessica.Cahill-Bouzane@mi.mun.ca),  or Wendy Rogers (wrodgers@mun.ca) and Erin Alcock (ekalcock@mun.ca) of the NLLA Conference Program Committee.