Librarians’ Attitudes, Needs, and Barriers to Participating in International Conferences: A Survey of ALA Members

How to Cite

Liu, G., Frank, S., Dawson, E., & Olaniyi, O. (2023). Librarians’ Attitudes, Needs, and Barriers to Participating in International Conferences: A Survey of ALA Members. International Journal of Librarianship, 8(3), 4–25.
Received 2023-04-12
Accepted 2023-07-07
Published 2023-09-16


This article presents the results of a survey of American Library Association (ALA) members exploring the interests, barriers, reasons, decision-influencing factors, support needs, and preferences of librarians in attending international conferences. The study reveals that although a majority of librarians expressed a strong interest in attending such conferences, more than half of them never or rarely participate, primarily due to a lack of institutional funding, which is more prevalent in public libraries. The primary reason for attending international conferences is to gain exposure to new perspectives and library practices in other countries. Factors such as the overall cost of the conference, its theme and reputation, and the availability of financial support also significantly influence librarians' participation decisions. To enhance and improve librarians' participation in international conferences, we recommend that professional institutions provide funding, advocacy, and informational support to help build their capabilities, networks, and awareness. Overall, the study highlights the significant potential for librarians to broaden their horizons and expand their professional development opportunities through attending international conferences and underscores the need for greater support and resources to facilitate their participation.


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