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Public Libraries 2030 2020: What we've achieved

From the director

This has been a challenging year for us all. The plans we had in place for 2020 had to change rapidly as the growing impact of the pandemic hit communities around Europe. Our priorities were to:

  • Ensure that public libraries are supported to continue to serve their communities
  • Strengthen and grow our network of partner libraries and MEPs
  • Promote opportunities for libraries to improve their communities’ access to digital skills and resources.

We’ve also begun working on a range of exciting EU funded projects with libraries and organisations across Europe which put us in a much stronger position to deliver on our objectives for public libraries as we hopefully (!) emerge out of the pandemic.

Ilona Kish, Director, Public Libraries 2030

1. Ensure that public libraries are supported to continue to serve their communities

Our Lighthouse Sessions with the support of the European Cultural Foundation and Tortoise Media examined the impact of the coronavirus on the library sector and we were joined by 80 library professionals across Europe.

BIBLIO: Bridging the digital skills gap for library professionals and individuals interested in a library career in librarianship. We led on mapping the training needs of librarians in Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, and Latvia.

European Digital Academy: In partnership with digital pioneers and educators, we’re building a catalogue of training courses on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and internet of things.

NEWCOMER: A partnership between six leading European libraries, NEWCOMER looks at how we can build a network of exchange between libraries around adult education.

2. Strengthen and grow our network of partner libraries and MEPs

Generation Code: Born at the Library 2020 went online with 22 exhibits from European libraries showing how they responded to the pandemic. This included a webinar with MEP Library Lover Brando Benifei and over 100 people.

Over 30 members of the MEP Library Lovers group made suggestions for the 2020 edition of 60 Books for the Summer. The chosen books reflect the diversity of European culture and offer an inspiring reading list.

Placing emotions at the heart of the reading experience, Libraries of Emotions will translate Love for Livres’s digital resource into book collections in the four partner libraries in Belgium, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia.

3. Promote opportunities for libraries to improve their communities’ access to digital skills and resources

Digital Travellers: With Bibliothèques Sans Frontières France and Belgium, FRSI, the Finnish Library Association, and the National Library of the Netherlands, we’re on a journey to bring digital education to underserved communities.

Social Hackademy: We plan to train underprivileged young people in digital skills such as application development and graphic design and have them participate in hackathons based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

European Digital Skills and Jobs: A resource for citizens, businesses and national coalitions to find skills intelligence, national digital strategies, training opportunities and digital themed events.

The future

European libraries offer a unique space at the heart of communities that connect local citizens and global concerns. In the coming year, we want to focus on developing a network of libraries dedicated to the work and process of democratic participation.

Many of Europe’s 65,000 libraries already host debates, meetings and consultations of all kinds, as trusted, local spaces for the diverse communities they serve.

Increasingly, the critical issues we face are global and so we’re genuinely excited about the potential of this idea and the benefits it could bring to communities across Europe and beyond.

Ilona Kish, Director, Public Libraries 2030