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61st IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 20-25, 1995


Blanche Woolls, Professor, School of Library and Information Science, University of Pittsburgh


The Second World Conference on Continuing Professional Education concluded with a unanimous "vote" to begin plans immediately for World Continuing Professional Education Conference III. These discussions continued through the Roundtable meetings in Barcelona and Havana. This paper suggests points for consideration.

The Second World Conference was designed to Make CPE for library and information science professionals a significant part of local, national, and international library and information science efforts

Identify elements that yield quality CPE, and develop means to achieve these elements.

Study alternative delivery systems for CPE and their relative effectiveness.

Take stock of CPE achievements, needs, problems, since the First World Conference and work for proposed solutions.

Improve the ability of librarians worldwide to contribute to the lifelong learning of individuals both within and outside the profession.

This paper is designed as a formal discussion of possible topics, possible audiences, possible conveners, how to plan, and where to seek funding, among other topics. It must be interactive, and requi res audience participation at each part. We begin with possible topics flowing from the success of the first and second world conferences.

Possible Topics

The theme of the First World Conference, Continuing Education: Issues and Challenges, indeed challenged participants. Malcolm Knowles suggested ways for understanding the adult learner, and Alan B. Knox discussed strengthening the quality of continuing education. Ronald Gross explained conjoining of the humanities and lifelong learning with libraries, Margaret Trask described interconnections in the library and information science career development process, and Norman D. Kurland cited the potential of study circles for continuing education. Glen R. Wilde presented a model for one continuing education program in a rural area. Distance education panels followed concurrent demonstration sessions of teleconferencing and computer conferencing as a tool for instruction. Several presentations considered the role of government, professional associations, library schools, and employing agencies in continuing education. Other presenters discussed experience with continuing professional education in their countries and regions or detailing the needs and proposing solutions. Poster sessions featured training of trainers, long range planning, sel assessment for CE, conference programs and CE, rural libraries and multitype cooperation for CE, one state 's experience, and a CE program for implementing new cataloging rules.

The Barcelona Conference had for its major theme, Continuing Professional Education and IFLA: Past, Present, and a Vision for the Future. A reactor panel discussed a paper written by CPERT founder, Elizabeth W. Stone. Duncan Smith proposed that librari anship's continuing educators should become the "visionary leaders and chart a new course not only for ourselves but for our professionThe sessions on distance education presented a variety of views from several countries. Haycock reported on the research in professional and staff development. A variety of speakers shared experiences from their countries, both worthwhile and always of interest.

Based on a review of the objectives of both these conferences and their proceedings, the following topics are proposed for your consideration. Others will be added.

Old and New Methods for Providing Continuing Education (reports from the field concerning successful programs, programs currently in place, and programs being planned to be tested)

Charting a New Course for Continuing Education and the Profession

Distance Education for Continuing Education: New Perspectives (Who is conducting continuing education over distance education, how to make it feasible for more participants, particularly those in non industrialized nations.)

Research in Professional and Staff Development (An update on current research, how to conduct research for needs assessment through evaluating professional programs)

Continuing Professional Education around the World: A Report

Making CPE a Significant Part of Local, National, and International Library and Information Science Efforts.

Attracting Audiences

Audiences for all CPERT activities are open to all who have an interest. Because both World Conferences were held in conjunction with IFLA, the primary audience for World Conference III should logically be persons planning to attend IFLA.

Continuing Education Providers: Persons who provide continuing education experiences have always been interested in the activities of CPERT. Many of them are on our current mailing list.

Continuing Education Provider Beginners: Persons who have responsibility for continuing education training and who are just beginning will need to be encouraged to attend. Locating names and addresses of these persons will provide a challenge.

Library School Educators: Issuing invitations through deans and directors of library education programs should be a simple way to encourage attendance from this group.

Librarians: Publicity through IFLA will help reach the IFLA membership. Suggestions are needed for inexpensive ways to invite a wide audience of librarians.

Government Officials: This group, always essential, remain a most difficult audience to attract. What would attract government officials to World Conference III?

Speakers as Audience: Being able to attend a conference often is tied to direct participation in the conference by presenting a paper. This makes it easier for persons who wish to attend to get permission and funding.

Possible Conveners

A conference planning committee was established for both previous conferences. Because the first conference was held in the United States, principal members were from the U.S. Since many persons interested in continuing professional education attend mee tings of the American Library Association, these conferences provided a venue for larger planning groups to meet with little additional expense to CPERT. It was logical at that time that the convener be someone in North America who could meet regularly.

Through the advent of e-mail and FAX machines, communication is not as difficult as it was at the time of the First World Conference. The fact that many papers were sent by e-mail to be published is an indication that the convener can be off-site. Howev er, anyone who plans to manage World Conference on Continuing Professional Education III must have financial backing from a home institution because IFLA may expect the Conference to be self-supporting.

Choosing a convener needs to be done at this conference in order to allow enough time to share in the selection of a theme, establish the location, choose the committees, and send a call for papers. Should this be done by appointment, through an applica tion, hope for a volunteer, or what other means? The application or appointment process hse merit if the persons interested can demonstrate their ability to carry out the tasks needed to make this event successful. Certainly a first criterion would be the ability of the convener to attend the Beijing Conference as well as to go to Copenhagen.

How to Plan

Where to hold the conference becomes a first question to answer because where it is held determines some of the types of committees and where their membership will be located. Since it has been tentatively scheduled for 1997, this places the c onference in Europe if not in Copenhagen itself. Holding the conference in close proximity to Copenhagen will mean less transportation costs for participants. Because the Second World Conference was held in Barcelona, participants could travel to that city, move into their accommodations, and remain there for the remainder of IFLA. Moving cities adds to the cost of participating in IFLA.

A second step is to determine how many persons are needed to carry out the work for World Conference III. Suggestions include several committees, a Planning Committee, Publishing Committee, Funding Committee, Local Arrangements Committee, Pu blicity/Marketing Committee, Evaluation Committee, Dissemination Committee, and The Conference (local arrangements, registration, small group discussion leaders).

Length of time:
The First World Conference was four days, the Second was three days. The length of the conference affects the number of sessions that can be offered. Yet, when the conference is held for a longer period, it becomes more difficult for pe rsons to get funding for this and for the week of IFLA.

The First World Conference had more opportunity for small group discussion and interaction, partially because participants had come together to plan a strategy to make continuing professional education a formal part of the IFLA structure. If CPE RT is to identify elements that yield quality CPE and the means to achieve them as well as to study alternative delivery systems, small group sessions could be very helpful.

Poster sessions:
Poster sessions allow persons to display and discuss their informationduring the conference in a more relaxed atmosphere. It expands the number of presentations without expanding the time. If this is to be a part of the conference, a Poster Session Com mittee should be added to the committee structure.

Number of speakers:
As stated earlier, the number of speakers depends somewhat upon both format and length of the conference. A further consideration is given based upon funding for the conference. No funding was allocated to pay persons for presentatio n for the Second World Conference.

Related activities:
Planning for these requires attention because delegates need to know what time will be available to meet and discuss issues with the participants. Some of these are scheduled as a part of social event.

Vists to continung education facilities provide additional experiences for delegates.

A committee will be assigned for this task. However, the number and types of efforts that will be needed must be determined as well as any possible funding that will be available. Brochures to distribute in Beijing or to mail when information is requested all have financial implications.

Publishing the Proceedings:
The proceedings of the first two conferences were published by K.G. Saur and made available to delegates when they arrived at the conference. This meant that papers were prepared and submitted at some time in advance of the conference. The publishing committee will need to confirm with IFLA and Saur if the same process can be implemented for World Conference III. An editor(s) should be chosen somewhat in the manner of the convener. That is, will the editor be appointed, apply, or volunteer? For the first conference, a fee was available to assist the editor in the process. This was not available for the editor of the papers for the Second World Conference. As stated earlier, many papers were sent by FAX and by e mail. Any potential editor should be able to receive papers in this manner or plan for an even longer lead time for submission of papers. It is assumed that the publishing committee will help evaluate and select which papers are given for the conference.

Where to Seek Funding

It has been suggested that a funding committee be established to help secure additional funding for this conference. Because the first world conference was held in the United States, U.S. governmental support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the H.W. Wilson Company, the Council of Library Resources, and the Association of College and Research Libraries all made donations to the effort. Funding committee members need to start immediately to analyze and seek sources of funding.

Certainly participants who have attended one or both of the previous World Conference on Continuing Education for the Library and Information Science Professions can attest to the excitement of participants as well as the quality of information they received. CPERT is moving forward with plans for World Conference III. Your help in planning any phase of this will be greatly appreciated.


1. Duncan Smith. "The Greening of Librarianship: Charting a New Course through Continuing Library Education." pp. 11 23.