After careful consideration, we have decided to cancel the OCLC Library Futures Conference (EMEARC 2020), which was scheduled to take place on 2-5 March in Vienna, Austria. Our primary goal is to help ensure the safety and health of conference participants and staff.

The escalation of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Asia and Europe has resulted in a situation that is changing rapidly and difficult to predict from day to day. Several speakers and attendees have advised us this week that they have been forced to cancel their plans to attend or are restricted from traveling. After careful analysis of the news, updates, and data provided by agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO), we have decided that the best course of action is to cancel the event.

We take our duty of care to members, speakers, and staff very seriously. With participants scheduled from 27 countries, we believe the decision to cancel is advisable and prudent. We also know that libraries and librarians are essential to preparedness as governments, universities, schools, and communities grapple with this serious health threat. We will be assessing library roles in the coming days and will share pertinent information accordingly.

OCLC will proactively reimburse conference registration fees for registered participants.

We sincerely hope to see you at an OCLC event soon and wish you all safety and health.

The conference program is designed and driven by member leaders

Library leaders across all library types will come together to share ideas, learnings, and insights to guide the library profession into the future. We invite you to contribute to the conversation.

We are seeking member proposals that will spark conversations around library futures—more specifically, how libraries act as catalysts within their communities by providing new solutions, partnerships, and services to inspire change and innovation in the following categories:

  • Exceed user expectations: Meet evolving needs
  • Create measurable impact: Become indispensable
  • Lead with technology: Innovate with confidence
  • Build powerful networks: Achieve more together

Please submit a topic for a 15-20-minute presentation that provides insights, ideas, and experiences around one or more of the theme areas listed above. The proposed presentation should be applicable to library leaders across all library types. Proposals can have up to two speakers.

Submission details

  • Selected speakers will receive complimentary registration to the EMEARC20 Conference. Speakers are responsible for their own travel and hotel expenses.
  • The deadline for proposal submissions is 22 September 2019. Speakers will be notified of the program selection by 6 October 2019.
  • Direct any questions about the proposal process to

The above link will redirect you to SurveyMonkey Apply. You will need to create a free site account before continuing.

Idea starters

Listed below are some topics that would support conversations around the future of libraries. Please do not limit yourself to these suggestions; we are seeking your ideas and experience to generate discussion around these key areas.

Exceed User Expectations

  • Reshaping the customer journey
  • Personalized customer/patron services
  • Smart spaces—reconfiguration/reuse of space
  • Evolving needs of library users

Create Measurable Impact

  • Libraries leading transformational change
  • Moving from outputs to outcomes
  • Assessing student success
  • Securing stakeholder support

Lead With Technology

  • Balancing human engagement with automation
  • Use of artificial intelligence/robots
  • Libraries in the digital age
  • Use of new innovative technologies

Build Powerful Networks

  • Community collaborations and engagement
  • Extending the reach of library
  • Scaling capacity through partnerships
  • Integrating infrastructure and technology