Call for Proposals, ARLIS/NA 2024 Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Annual Conference,

The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) will hold its 52nd annual conference, POP! in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania April 2nd to 5th, 2024.

As the Society’s second conference held in Pittsburgh during the twenty-first century, POP! offers an opportunity to draw from our past and create change for our future, using both our host region and its distinctive artistic legacy as inspiration. The theme POP! invokes the playful vibrancy of Pop Art and its history in Pittsburgh and the wider Ohio Valley. From canonical icons Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein to the first nationally syndicated Black woman cartoonist, Jackie Ormes, the history of Pop is baked into the DNA of the region. More contemporary Pop artists like street artist Jordan Wong, Jenny Holzer, and Keith Haring–all born and raised in the Ohio Valley–underscore that our history and our future are made richer as they become more inclusive and diverse.

As a membership and a profession, we are reckoning with and expanding our understanding of the past while also considering what lies ahead. POP! offers the Society an open-ended prompt to interpret and explore–we look to POP! as a source of renewal, imagination, and with a sense of expansiveness that begs the question, what sort of future can we create together? 

The Pittsburgh Conference Program Committee invites librarians and library professionals, archivists, curators, museum professionals, visual resources specialists, publishers, educators, artists, designers, architects, students, and scholars to propose papers, sessions, workshops, and speakers that reflect the theme POP! as it relates to the practice of visual arts information and scholarship. In the spirit of Pop Art, the committee also encourages submissions that stretch the bounds of traditional conference scholarship in terms of format and delivery as well as content by drawing on the movement’s use of irony, playfulness, and parody.

Prospective presenters interested in funding and support for conference attendance are encouraged to apply to the Society’s Conference Attendance and Travel Awards or to contact their local ARLIS/NA Chapter about the availability of additional awards.

The program committee encourages submissions that include, but are not limited to:

  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

  • Local Art and Architecture

  • Advocacy, Social Justice, Anti-Racism, Public Policy, and Activism

  • Archives, Rare Books, and Special Collections

  • Collection Development and Management

  • Critical Librarianship

  • Digital Humanities and Digital Scholarship

  • Alternative Publications, Artists’ Books, Graphic Novels, Zines, etc.

  • Teaching and Pedagogical Practice

  • Fair Use and Copyright Issues

  • Leadership, Mentoring, Management, and Professional Development

  • Visual Literacy

  • User Experience

Types of Submissions

PAPERS: An individual paper presentation, potentially addressing new research, a case study, or an innovative idea with a total time of 15-20 minutes. Presentations provide attendees with new tools, strategies, or inspiration that they can apply in their own practice. The Conference Program Co-Chairs and the Conference Program Committee will group individual presentations into paper panels with a common topic or theme, which will run from 60 to 90 minutes, including a Q&A. 

LIGHTNING TALKS: A short individual presentation (5-10 minutes maximum) addressing a topic that is particularly timely or specific in scope. Lightning talks provide attendees the opportunity to hear about a range of innovative projects or ideas from a broad and varied group of colleagues in a short amount of time. Lightning talks will be grouped into sessions that may or may not be themed. Lightning talk sessions will be 60 minutes, including a Q&A.

PRE-COORDINATED PANELS: A pre-coordinated session of up to 4 presenters with a moderator addressing a common topic or theme with a total time of 60-90 minutes, including a Q&A. Panels provide attendees with multiple views/strategies on a single topical area, a comparison of tools or methods, or a number of case studies on related topics. It is not necessary to identify all potential presenters before submitting. Naming a moderator, who will advocate for and develop the session, is required.

SPEAKER SUGGESTIONS & PLENARIES: A plenary may be a prepared paper or discussion panel of significant importance to the profession. Plenaries are 60-90 minutes in length. No other meetings, sessions, etc. are scheduled during plenaries. The content of plenaries should be current and of broad interest to attendees. Non-member speakers who will speak on a significant topic of interest to ARLIS/NA members may be suggested here.

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS: Small, informal group discussions around a common theme or issue. In the abstract field, facilitators should identify a topic and submit at least three potential questions that will keep the discussion moving. Roundtable discussions are 60 minutes in length.

WORKSHOPS: An opportunity to teach and explore current and emerging topics in an intimate atmosphere. Workshops encourage a focused, hands-on experience led by experts who combine presentation, active learning, collaboration, and discussion. They may last two, four, or eight hours. Consider ways to benefit from local educational or cultural institutions in Pittsburgh.

ARLIS/NA POP! is an in-person conference happening in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. While there may be a limited number of all-virtual sessions available, attendees and presenters should plan their submissions and attendance accordingly. Panels of combined in-person presenters and virtual presenters cannot be accommodated due to technical constraints. If you are proposing a pre-coordinated panel and one or more presenters will not be able to attend in-person, please indicate on your submission that you will not be able to attend in person under any circumstances. We will not be able to accommodate all virtual requests. Priority will go to those whose panels that deal with DEIA issues, particularly accessibility, or other topics of benefit to the entirety of the Society’s membership.

Additional Details

The following fields will be used by the programming committee to review proposals. In addition, some non-personally identifiable demographic information will be used by the reviewers to ensure that the papers, lightning talks, workshops, and invited speakers are inclusive and diverse, both in the voices present and content delivered.

WORD LIMIT: All proposal abstracts are limited to 500 words or fewer.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: You’ll be asked to list 2-3 learning objectives, takeaways, or goals for your proposal.

TOPICS: You’ll be asked to select 2 to 5 topics relevant to your session.

AUDIENCES: You’ll be asked to pick up to 5 target audiences for your session.

DEIA-AR: You will be asked if your presentation addresses issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and/or anti-racism. The committee is particularly interested in seeing papers and sessions that include attention to DEIA-AR.

YEARS IN PROFESSION (optional): You’ll be asked to select how long you have been working in the field.

FIRST TIME PRESENTER (optional): You’ll be asked if this would be your first time presenting at an ARLIS/NA conference.

SELF-IDENTIFICATION (optional): You’ll be asked if you are a member of a marginalized group. This information will only be used to help us coordinate diverse sessions and is not required to propose a paper or panel.

How to Submit Proposals

The review of proposals is a blind peer review process. You must anonymize your proposal description. All personal or institutional names must be removed from the description and learning objectives (however, these details must remain in other fields of the form), and may be replaced by terms such as “presenter,” “author,” or “speaker”, or in the case of institutions, terms such as “large academic library,” “small museum library,” etc. Non-anonymized proposals may be ineligible.

Submit your presentation, panel, roundtable, and workshop proposals via OpenConf.

The deadline is August 31st at 11:59pm ET.

The call for posters and constituent group meetings will be announced later this year.

Please direct any questions to the Program Co-Chairs: 

Courtney Hunt, Ohio State University (

Michele Jennings, Ohio University (