Academic Libraries North 2021

Conference 2021: Call for Papers

New beginnings: aspirations and optimism for the future

We invite you to submit a proposal for the 2021 ALN Conference, to be held online on 8th and 9th September 2021.


The last year has shown how libraries have successfully demonstrated resilience, flexibility and innovation in a rapidly changing environment. Many challenges have been faced and overcome, such as finding ways to continue to provide our users with access to physical and online resources, and adapting successfully to new ways of working and collaborating with our partners. This conference is an opportunity to showcase and celebrate how lessons learnt during the pandemic, along with a new online confidence, could shape the future for academic libraries. 

We welcome submissions which acknowledge and recognise achievements and challenges including, but not exclusive to, the following subthemes:

Partnerships & Connections 

  • Libraries as university hubs for staff and student engagement

  • Widening participation with local communities

  • Building and managing relationships with new stakeholders

  • Remote collaboration and hybrid working

  • Partnering or collaborating with different departments, universities or external organisations

  • Flexible and holistic approaches to developments in education


  • Celebrating equality, diversity, and inclusivity among staff and students (including potential future students)

  • Stakeholder engagement and relationship management 

  • Physical and online accessibility and inclusivity 

  • Personal experiences, resilience and wellbeing amongst library staff

Content & Collections 

  • Decolonising and diversifying our collections, reading lists and curriculums

  • The future of content acquisition and ebook purchasing models

  • Maximising the potential of digital collections, and physical collections in digital spaces

  • Open research, transformative agreements and the changing landscape of open access publishing

Services & Workflows

  • Lessons learned for service provision and future planning 

  • Innovations in the development of online library spaces 

  • Hybrid approaches for teaching, learning and open research support 

Who can submit a proposal?

We welcome papers from all colleagues working within any institutions, whether they are ALN  member institutions or not, and we particularly encourage submissions from those who are looking to present for the first time.

Submissions are invited from individuals, as well as collaborative contributions from within one institution, across institutions or between an institution and a collaborative partner working outside the institution.  They can be focused on, but not limited to, the above topics. We also welcome submissions that may fall outside of these themes but will still be of relevance and interest to our delegates. 

To have a truly engaging conference, we believe we need presenters who bring a variety of perspectives and backgrounds. We therefore particularly encourage and welcome submissions from members of ethnic minority groups and all other communities who are under-represented in our sector. There will be no charge for presenting at, or attending, the 2021 ALN Conference.

What types of paper can be submitted?

Proposals are welcome for either traditional presentations or interactive workshops. The sessions we are hosting online will be a mix of:

  • Lightning talks (10 minutes, with time for questions at the end of the session)

  • Short papers (25 minutes including questions)

  • Workshops (40 minutes including questions)

Other types of sessions (e.g. extended workshops) can also be proposed using the submission form, and scheduling will be discussed with the planning group. The expectation is for papers and lightning talks to be presented live, but pre-recorded presentations will be considered. Please note that all content will need to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines at the time of the conference. We particularly encourage proposals which include innovative methods of presentation that aim to engage and interact with the audience. 

Call for Papers now closed

Our Call for Papers closed on 11th June 2021.  All submissions will be reviewed and selected by a panel comprising planning group members, and outcomes will be notified by the end of June.

If you have any queries or questions about your proposal, please contact