Robots in Libraries: Challenge or Opportunity?

The rapid development in robotics and artificial intelligence technologies as well as the commercial availability of these products are making in-roads into libraries. Beyond automated storage and retrieval systems, we now have autonomous shelf reading robots, telepresence and humanoid robots, and chatbots and voice activated systems. Robots are becoming our co-workers and a number of libraries around the world have deployed different robots for internal operations as well as public services. This combination of skilled human resources and robotics technologies also complements library services in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) era.

This conference is organized by the IFLA IT Section and hosted by the Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau, Berlin.  We welcome you to submit proposals and to join us to explore robotics technologies, applications and use cases, human-robot interaction and multiplicity as well as their uses and impact on library operations and services.

We invite proposals on topics including but not limited to the following:

  • human-robot interaction, multiplicity
  • robotics-related software, AI, machine learning, etc.
  • robots for automation like book transport and inventory duties (excluding automated storage and retrieval system or ASRS)
  • robots to teach coding in software
  • robots as eye-catcher and for fun (promotion)
  • humanoid robots for social interaction with clients and customers

Submission Guidelines

All submissions must be original, previously unpublished work, and abstracts must be in English but the full paper when accepted may be in any of IFLA’s official languages. Abstracts must include:

  • Title of proposed presentation
  • Abstract of the proposed paper (no more than 300 words)
  • Name(s) of presenter(s) plus position/s and/or title(s)
  • Language of presentation
  • Employer/affiliated institution
  • Address
  • Email
  • Short biographical statement of presenter(s) (no more than 80 words)

Please submit abstracts in MSWord or PDF format by 15 March 2019 to ifla.its.officers(at) All submissions will be reviewed by the Organizing Committee and submitters will be notified by 15 April 2019. Camera-ready papers must be submitted no later than July 1, 2019.

Please note:

At least one of the paper’s authors must be present to deliver a summary of the paper during the programme in Berlin. Abstracts should only be submitted with the understanding that the expenses of attending the conference will be the responsibility of the author(s)/presenter(s) of accepted papers. Authors of accepted papers must also complete the IFLA Authors’ Permission Form.

Dates to keep in mind:

15 March 2019: Deadline for proposal abstracts to be submitted
15 April 2019: Accepted papers and presenters will be notified
1 July 2019: Full papers to be submitted to IFLA
21-22 August 2019: Satellite conference



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