Representatives of European public libraries associated organisations, senior staff members of the Reading and Writting Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation met in Brussels to share experiences and inspire each other to joint action.
H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, who is also the honorary chair of the Reading and Writing Foundation of the Netherlands, addressed the participants and moderated a discussion with Ms. Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Vice-President of the European Commission.
It was an honour to have Mr Xavier Prats Monné, Deputy Director General, DG Education and Culture and Ms Marie-Paule Roudil, head of the UNESCO Brussels office sharing their perspectives on EU advocacy and policy opportunities for the EU public libraries. Mr Xavier Prats Monné was particilarly inspiring when talking about the role of libraries: "I can not think of a better way to express civil society than through libraries. We need critical and articulate citizens and libraries can help them develop". Ms Marie-Paule Roudil has perfectly illustrated the uniqueness of public libraries saying that "we need to constantly look for the right inter-disciplinary approach; libraries have both and thus can build bridges".
Public Libraries 2020 Programme Director Ilona Kish presented the programme Roadmap for the coming years, including positioning of public libraries during the upcoming EC Presidencies and strategies for working with the newly elected Members of the European Parliament.
The meeting gathered stakeholders and partners from over 25 European countries and was a stimulating and exciting springboard for the programme!