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Annual Meeting of the AIL

2017 Annual Conference

ILA 28th Annual Conference


We are delighted to announce the 28th Annual Conference, held at one of our newest member libraries, Chawton House Library in Alton, Hampshire. This is the second to be held in the new conference format, after the successful launch in 2016 at Bromley House Library, Nottingham. We have more than doubled the number of speakers and we look forward to welcoming delegates from across the UK and the world.

The programme allows delegates to hear from some of the world's most unique library and archive collections, while also allowing delegates the chance to explore one of the UK's finest independent libraries, Chawton House Library. All are welcome - librarians, archivists, researchers, academics, as well as the general public who might like to learn more about one of the UK's key cultural industries. The ILA conference is a weekend of learning, networking, discussion and #librarychat. The ILA's AGM is held during the weekend, so all member libraries and independent members will have a chance to have their say. Please use the links below to explore our programme, and direct any enquiries to

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Full conference rate: £75
Day rate (Saturday only): £45

Please use the links below to explore the 2017 programme, as well as abstracts and biographies of contributors:

Registering Your Attendance:

Prefer to book via telephone? Contact Chawton House Library on 01420 541 010. Please download and complete a Registration Form (Word), and return it to Chawton House Library (you can also find a Registration Form at the end of the Programme, above). All details are given on the form itself, as well as a variety of payment options:

Previous Annual Meetings:

Bromley House Library, Nottingham, Friday 10th June – Sunday 12th June 2016

Please click below to see the full programme for the Annual Conference and AGM

Independent libraries occupy a unique place in the world’s cultural life. Rather than seeing independent libraries as niche or elitist, the Financial Times described the UK’s independent libraries as ‘havens of books, conversation and cultural events with histories stretching back centuries.’ The role and function of the independent library is a little-explored area, but growing numbers of scholars and researchers are joining the public in working in and around these institutions. As a space, the independent library generates lively debate around literacy, the role of the state, local and national identity, and cultural value.

The Association of Independent Libraries is therefore delighted to announce the launch of an interdisciplinary conference that will mark developments in the emerging and dynamic field of independent library studies. This new conference will bring together librarians, archivists, researchers, students and academics in a new forum to discuss the independent library’s role in the fields of library and information studies, cultural studies, education, and the humanities. Held in the atmospheric surroundings of Nottingham’s Bromley House Library, this weekend is committed to hearing a variety of perspectives from the UK and beyond.

Venue for 2015 Annual MeetingThe 2015 Annual Meeting took place at the Morrab Library, Penzance, on Saturday 13th June, with a reception on Friday 12th. Please click on the link below to see the full programme.

Exterior view of buildingEach year a member institution hosts the Annual Meeting of the AIL, which generally runs throughout a weekend in June. Gladstone's Library in Hawarden, Flintshire, was our generous host for 2014 over the weekend of Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd June. The theme for the meeting was centred around Securing the Future which was chosen to reflect global trends in libraries and reading generally.

All are welcome at our Annual Meetings - whether or not you belong to any of the member institutions.

Providing a quick overview of what such weekends have in store, traditionally the weekend begins with a Welcome Reception on the Friday evening, giving old colleagues and new friends an opportunity to catch up with what's happening in and around their libraries - and a little gossip, of course! The early birders then retire to one of the town's excellent eateries to continue their discussions. The following day is filled with talks, lectures and presentations around the chosen theme, generally including a history of the institution and its environment and, of course, a slot for the Annual General Meeting of the AIL at which mainly members and prospective members are present. The day ends on another convivial repast in the town, to round up the day's events and, for those making a well-earned weekend-break of it, the Sunday includes a visit or a tour.

The Annual Meetings provide excellent opportunities to not only meet with like-minded individuals who share the same working environment, but also to visit the some of the many magnificent institutions that make up the Association of Independent Libraries.