The Critical Approaches to Libraries Conference is an opportunity for library workers, library users, researchers and other interested parties to discuss, debate and learn about all aspects of critical thought in libraries and information workplaces. Our aim is to provide a safe, supportive and inspiring space for all attendees; this includes all delegates, organisers, volunteers, venue staff and presenters. As such, all attendees are expected to show respect and courtesy to all other attendees during all aspects of the conference including breakout sessions, keynote talks, social events, refreshment breaks and online spaces associated with the conference (e.g. uses of the conference Twitter hashtag). In order to be transparent about the expected behaviour during the conference all attendees at the conference are required to read, understand and conform to the following Code of Conduct.  

  1. Conduct during the Conference

Unacceptable conduct towards any conference attendee will not be tolerated. Unacceptable conduct includes, but is not limited to, intimidating, aggressive or abusive behaviour, harassment, or discriminatory behaviour. This includes conduct directed towards another attendee or conduct between two or more attendees about another attendee and includes behaviour both in person and in online spaces associated with the conference.  

– Intimidating, aggressive or abusive behaviour includes, but it not limited to, conduct that seeks to silence, denigrate or belittle other attendees, bullying behaviours, exclusionary or offensive jokes and excessive and inappropriate swearing.   

– Harassment includes, but it not limited to, inappropriate comments or statements about or towards another attendee (whether verbal or written), stalking behaviours or unwelcome following of attendees, display of sexual images in public spaces, sustained disruption of talks or other events, harassing photography or recording, deliberate and/or sustained misgendering of an attendee and unwelcome or inappropriate physical contact and unwelcome sexual attention.  

– Discriminatory behaviour includes negative or offensive comments related to gender, age, sexual orientation, race or ethnic background, nationality, religion (or non-religion), disability, social class, physical appearance or body size. Comments that seek to undermine or unfairly critique the opinions or experiences of an attendee based on their qualification level, level of experience, perceived status of their workplace, level of seniority or sector of work may additionally be considered discriminatory. 

2. Reporting an Incident

The CALC organisers will investigate all incidents reported during the event with discretion and confidentiality. Attendees can report incidents in person to the conference organisers; a private space will be provided for this conversation. Incidents may also be reported via an email to An additional facility to report incidents anonymously will be provided and advertised in advance of the conference.  

CALC organisers will treat each complaint on a case-by-case basis and work with the complainant to risk assess the situation. In beginning an investigation, we will take the lead from the complainant to ensure they feel safe. Those reporting an incident will be asked to provide a description of the incident, identifying information (name, badge number, online identity) of the accused attendee, approximate time and the location of the incident, surrounding circumstances and any other attendees involved. Investigations will continue only with the consent of those making the complaint. The attendee will be asked for contact information (except in anonymous reporting) in order that the outcome of the investigation can be shared.     

CALC organisers will investigate further including speaking to the alleged offender/s when appropriate. During an investigation it may be required that the alleged perpetrator avoid all contact with the complainant if appropriate and requested by the complainant. Where a complaint is upheld, sanctions may include giving a verbal or written (when online) warning to the offender, requesting the offending material be removed or deleted, requiring the individual avoid any interaction or physical proximity to the complainant and ejecting the offender from the event without refund. Receivers of any bursary funding, travel or speakers’ costs would be expected to refund these to the conference. 

The attendee making the complaint will be informed of outcome of their complaint. When there is common knowledge of an incident, the organisers may (with the consent of the original attendee who made the complaint) make a public statement either at or after the conference. Any such statement will not include personal or identifiable details of either party.     

CALC organisers will endeavour to investigate any reported incident thoroughly and fairly. The decision of CALC organisers is final (e.g. a decision to remove a person from the event following an investigation cannot be further contested). Following the event, we are open to feedback and further discussion that does not deny the facts of the occurrence.  

If an attendee feels in immediate threat the Code does not apply. University Protection service can be contacted on 024 7765 8555 

If an attendee’s complaint concerns the conduct of a CALC organiser this can be reported to another organiser, via email or through our anonymous reporting option. An investigation into the facts of the complaint will be undertaken by a member of management at Coventry University Library. Their conduct will be judged against the CALC Code of Conduct and the professional standards expected of a university employee. It is likely that the conclusion of any investigation will be reached after the end of the conference. The original complainant will be notified of the investigation’s conclusion if they have chosen to provide contact details. Internal disciplinary procedures will apply if conduct is seen as falling below the expected employee standards.

3. Conduct for Speakers

In order to ensure a safe, inclusive and enjoyable conference for all attendees the following are additional requirements for those leading or involved in keynote or breakout session.  

– Sessions may cover content that could cause distress to some attendees. This does not necessarily mean it should not be included but sufficient warning should be given in session descriptions and as such content comes up in the session. The aim should be to inform not shock attendees.  

– Presentations should not include explicit, offensive or sexualised content or images. Some legitimate exceptions to this may exist (e.g. using the image as an example of a misogynistic or stereotyped portrayal) but this should not be excessive and sufficient warning should be given in the session description and ahead of the image’s display.  

– Presenters should be mindful of including activities (particularly physical tasks) that some attendees are unable to engage in and therefore feel excluded. When planning presenters should consider alternatives to this, CALC organisers can advise further.   – Presenters may chose, but are not obliged, to provide time at the end of their presentations for questions and/or comments. Session chairs will help ensure that the difference between questions and comments are maintained.  

– Presenters will be given guidelines for session delivery in order to improve the accessibility of content. CALC organisers will work with presenters in order to improve the accessibility of their sessions.  

General Conference Etiquette

Whilst these points do not constitute part of the Conference Code of Conduct below are some general guidelines that we believe help improve the experience of the conference for everyone.  

–   Time for questions at the end of presentations should be used for questions that clarify a point the presenter has made or to request further information about their presentation. They shouldn’t be used as a cover to express the ‘questioner’s’ opinions or theories in the form of a question. Presenters may choose to plan additional time for comments where attendees are welcome to share their thoughts and opinions.  

– Twitter and other social media can be a useful tool to continue and further discussions from the conference. Care should be taken however that discussions are productive and kind. While attendees have the freedom to criticise, this should be used constructively, and when critiquing a point made it is generally preferable to wait until a speaker has finished so they may read and respond also. Intentional subtweeting is never acceptable. 

– Taking photographs of slides during a breakout can be useful as a reminder but be quite off-putting or distracting to the presenter and potentially block the view of other attendees. It is often better to make a note of the slide and find that on the conference website after or alternatively ask the presenter to go back to the slide at the end for your to photograph. If you find taking photographs of slides particularly helpful (or use them for accessibility reasons) it is courteous to ask permission/inform the speaker at the start of the session.