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Public Libraries 2030 2019: What we've achieved

From the director

Our first year as PL2030 has been both amazing and terrifying! With European elections looming, we successfully launched our new organisation in February with a refreshed brand, website and social media presence - but no budget! So we set out to:

  • Secure operational funding
  • Establish governance and organisational structures
  • Keep European libraries on the political agenda in Brussels.

We've achieved an amazing amount this year to help ensure that public libraries are open places that empower citizens.

Ilona Kish, Director, Public Libraries 2030

1. Secure operational funding

We successfully applied for three EU-funded Erasmus+ projects, which totalled €236,898:

Digital Travelers: To promote social inclusion by fostering the basic digital skills of persons who are not digitally active

Social Hackademy: To foster the digital skills of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through collaborative educational activities

BIBLIO: To develop skills and competences in the library sector by introducing the concept of digital transformation, through sustainable cooperation between libraries and vocational training providers.

2. Establish governance and organisational structures

As a tiny team, we know that our success and impact is dependent on our network and so we’ve worked hard to:

Strengthen the relationship between our team and our Founding Members.

Establish our Advisory Committee from a diverse range of influential sectors including the arts, finance, technology and media.

Create Lighthouse Libraries. This now consists of 26 leading innovative libraries in Europe.

3. Keep European libraries on the political agenda in Brussels

We partnered with the European Parliament to promote election materials in libraries across Europe and we continued key activities from the PL2020 programme including:

MEP Library Lovers: We re-launched the group after the European elections in May and recruited 87 MEP Library Lovers from 27 EU member states.

Generation Code 2019: We staged the fourth annual Generation Code: Born at the Library in the European Parliament, welcoming 70 librarians and 92 MEPs to this year’s event.

20 Books for Summer: We curated a list of 20 books, recommended by librarians from our Lighthouse Libraries, to target new members of the European Parliament.

Libraries & Skills fact sheets: We updated the fact sheets that bring together data from libraries across Europe alongside EU data on digital skills.

We also began the following projects:

We partnered with Newsguard to create a media literacy programme in our network of European libraries.

We co-hosted the first meeting of EU library leaders and the European Cultural Foundation to prepare a European public space citizen engagement programme in 2020.

We began a pilot project to install air quality sensors in libraries in Brussels and develop an educational programme around the data collected. We plan to seek further funding in 2020 to run this programme around Europe.

The future

We are delighted to have completed such a successful year for PL2030 but we know we still have a long way to go to deliver on our ambitions.

So we will work to develop our core group of MEPs and our network of influencers, who support public libraries and to expand our existing projects.

We are confident that we will be able to build on the success of our first year to put in place an ambitious programme of work in libraries.

Ilona Kish, Director, Public Libraries 2030