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To Bangkok Conference programme

65th IFLA Council and General

Bangkok, Thailand,
August 20 - August 28, 1999

Code Number: 097-104-E
Division Number: VII
Professional Group: Continuing Professional Education
Joint Meeting with: -
Meeting Number: 104
Simultaneous Interpretation:   No

Fourth World Conference on Continuing Professional Education for the Library and Information Professions, Boston, Massachusetts, August, 2001

Blanche Woolls
School of Library and Information Science
San Jose State University
San Jose, California


The foreword from the first World Conference on Continuing Education held in Palos Hills, Illinois, U.S.A. August 13-16, 1985 stated the belief of the organizers, Elizabeth W. Stone and Brooke E. Sheldon. They wrote, "continuing education for library personnel should be a more significant part of local, national, and international library and information science efforts."(1) This conference would be "one important step in developing a world-wide network for library leaders in continuing education, to explore mutual concerns, share research, and demonstrate the state-of-the-art in practice."(2)

Elizabeth (Betty) Stone presented the idea of a world seminar at the 1977 meeting of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) in Brussels. Brooke Sheldon expanded the concept as President of the American Library Association (ALA) in 1983-84. Betty and Brooke organized a committee and secured the necessary resources for the first conference. Most of the donors were U.S. based, the Council on Library Resources, H.W. Wilson Foundation, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), General Bookbinding Company, and the Continuing Library Education Network and Exchange (CLENE), now a round table within the ALA organizational structure. K.G. Saur Verlag has continued to support the Continuing Professional Education Round Table by publishing the proceedings for the next two conferences. These three conferences resulted in significant publications on continuing education.

Through the efforts of Betty and the group of professionals she drew around her, a Continuing Professional Education Round Table was formed within IFLA and two conferences, Barcelona and Copenhagen, followed. We are proposing a Fourth World Conference on Continuing Professional Education for the Library and Information Science Professions to be held as a pre-conference to the Boston conference of IFLA, August 2001. This proposed conference as well as the success of CPERT from its early years can be attributed to the two women who led the planning for the first World Conference. Both have been dedicated to providing continuing education from their early careers.

Dr. Stone became interested in continuing professional education as a young technical assistant in the Pasadena, California library. She had recently completed her master of library science degree and was determining how she would continue her education. She noticed that others on the staff who completed their degrees some time before did not seem particularly interested in further education. It was difficult for her to understand their disinterest in what she considered vital to the profession. When it was time for her to undertake research for her doctoral degree, she chose this as her topic.

In another major step, Dr. Stone created CLENE. This organization supported continuing professional education in the U.S. Housed on the campus of The Catholic University of America where Betty was Dean of the library school, she wove this into her other duties, maintaining a viable and active association. CLENE provided an opportunity for continuing education providers to meet and discuss their problems and solutions. CLENE had an active publication program, and a growing membership. In order to give CLENE a stable future, it was moved to the ALA as a round table.

With the success of the 1985 World Conference as a positive example, Dr. Stone turned her attention to IFLA where she worked to create a round table within that organization. Her efforts were rewarded with the creation of CPERT, our forum today. She served ably as its leader and as editor of its newsletter assuring its successful beginning and continuation.

Dr. Sheldon became interested in continuing education in her position as Director of Library Development in the New Mexico State Library. She recognized the need for training opportunities for librarians in the many very small cities that make up most of a state with one major population center (Albuquerque) and very few other cities with populations of 10,000. Prior to that time, the only educational opportunity for librarians in the state was to take Loyola University's correspondence courses. While some librarians were taking these courses, Brooke determined that, if they enrolled students in the courses and they then brought the authors of the courses to New Mexico, students could network and talk with the leaders in the field. Brooke herself then and later has conducted many continuing education workshops.

Brooke recognized that no single agency, even one as large as a state library, could be the only provider of continuing education. As a library school dean, she recognized that library schools should take some responsibility. When she became interested in international affairs, she learned how helpful it was for those who could attend IFLA. Others from developing countries benefited by the learning opportunities offered by UNESCO. She knew that IFLA, through CPERT, could play an enormous role in helping people in various countries to share their knowledge and create continuing education opportunities.

It is because of their efforts that we are able to plan a Fourth World Conference on Continuing Professional Education for the Library and Information Science Professions.


The theme of the Boston Conference is "Libraries and Librarians: Making a Difference in the Knowledge Age." One of the sub-themes, "Delivering Lifelong Learning Across Space and Time" can be easily modified for our pre-conference would be "Delivering Lifelong Continuing Professional Education Across Space and Time."

Dr. Stone and Dr. Sheldon have agreed to attend the conference, and we suggest that this conference be a celebration of their efforts to make "continuing education for library personnel a more significant part of local, national, and international library and information science efforts."


After the successful Copenhagen pre-conference, it was proposed to K.G. Saur that a festschrift be prepared to honor Dr. Elizabeth Stone during the Boston conference. To create the festschrift, a committee was formed to review the proceedings of the first three conferences and make them the core. When it was learned that Dr. Stone could attend an event in Boston, the concept was moved into a pre-conference. The addition of papers from the Boston conference will expand the selections from the past.

An editor, Dr. Viki Ash-Geisler, Texas Woman's University, has been chosen to edit the proceedings for the Fourth World Conference. Dr. Ash-Geisler previously co-edited the proceedings from a five-day institute held at the University of Texas at Austin, Achieving School Readiness: Public Libraries and National Education Goal No. 1 published by the American Library Association. She is presently on the faculty at Texas Woman's University.

Conference Site:

The proposed conference site is located in Chester, Vermont, a small New England town. Participants will be collected at Logan Airport in Boston on Tuesday, August 7 and driven in small vans to Chester. This is approximately a two and one-half hour drive through lovely countryside. Using smaller vans will mean that the wait at the airport should be no more than two hours, assuming participants are arriving the day before the pre-conference begins. A buffet dinner will be served in the evening. Should participants arrive earlier in the day, they may stroll to the Village Green and have lunch in a charming tea shop, Rosemary & Thyme.

All participants will be returned to Boston to the IFLA headquarters hotel on Friday at the close of the pre-conference. When at all possible, vans will deliver participants to their hotels.

This facility includes a conference center with five one- or two-story houses that are divided into small apartments. Each apartment has two or three bedrooms and two baths. These will accommodate 52 persons in shared rooms.

Participants who bring their spouses may prefer to stay in one of the bed and breakfasts within walking distance. Three B&Bs, Fullerton Inn, The Chester House, and the Hugging Bear Inn, are within five minutes walk. Other lovely accommodations are available in the area should a participant have an automobile and wish to drive.

The conference center has a large group meeting room and small breakout rooms for concurrent sessions. If requested, technology is available in a laboratory setting for use by participants.

Participants will be fed breakfast and dinner at Fletcher House. Because breakfast is as participants arrive, it will be inside. A tent on the lawn will accommodate evening meals. Lunch, morning coffee, and afternoon tea will be served in the conference center.

The conference costs are divided into four plans. For the full conference package (Plan A), participants will be met at Logan Airport in Boston, moved to Chester and housed in conference housing. For Plan B is for those persons who will arrive in Chester on their own. Plan C is for participants who wish to choose their own housing in one of the local inns within walking distance. Plan D is for participants who register only for the conference and meals. They take responsibility for transportation and housing.


This pre-conference is limited to 80 persons including speakers as well as observers. This will be a working pre-conference and participants must pre-register by a deadline so that they will have time to review and react to information that will be sent to them before they leave their homes.

Conference Planning Committee:

A conference planning committee has been established. Their most recent meeting was held in New Orleans during the annual conference of the American Library Association. The work has begun. It is up to you to help with suggestions today so that our conference in Boston is as successful as the preceding three conferences have been.

Abstracts and papers are invited on these topics:

  • Defining lifelong learning needs for continuing professional education
  • Models to expand shorter continuing education experiences into lifelong learning
  • Meeting the needs of information professionals for lifelong learning: predicting their needs
  • Effects of new technologies on both the need for continuing education as well as the use of new technologies to provide the actual opportunities
  • Acknowledging differences; how to structure learning sessions so that "one size fits all" when our students live in different countries and cultures, speak different languages, and have widely varying educational systems in their countries.
  • Sharing continuing professional education programs across time and space

The IFLA conference in Bangkok becomes our opportunity to expand the planning for this pre-conference. We invite your comments, suggestions, and assistance in preparing for this event. The questions that follow allow the discussion to begin.


  1. What additional topics should be chosen for papers to meet our theme?
  2. What keynote speakers would you suggest?
  3. To whom do you suggest that we send personal invitations to submit papers?
  4. Have we anticipated the correct number of participants?
  5. What about the proposed registration fees?
  6. What social events should be planned?
  7. Other?


(1) "Foreword" of Horne, Esther E. Continuing Education: Issues and Challenges: Papers from the Conference Held at Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills, Illinois, U.S.A. August 13-16, 1985. New York: K.G.Saur, 1985. [n.p.]

(2) Ibid.


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