'Libraries Change Lives' (e)publication launched

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 14:30

How can libraries contribute to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe? What is the link between public libraries and the digital single market? These were just some examples of the thought provoking questions discussed at a high level event in Brussels on 16 June which brought together decision-makers, library users and other important stakeholders to discuss the changing role of libraries in European society. The event also marked the launch of the Libraries Change Lives publication – a fascinating compilation of personal reflections on libraries by Members of the European Parliament and citizens from 15 countries across Europe.  Watch the trailer video here.

The first copy was presented to European Commissioner for Education Tibor Navracsics by H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Founder and Honorary Chair of the Reading & Writing Foundation. The message to the Commissioner and other public officials in attendance was to think of libraries as a unique but under-used resource from a policy perspective.

With employment creation at the heart of EU policy objectives, 250,000 European citizens found a job thanks to public libraries in 2013. As the EU struggles to meet 2020 targets for life-long learning, 24 million Europeans participated in training courses organised by libraries in the same year. And while an estimated 90% of jobs will require digital skills by the end of the decade but one fifth of the EU population has never used the internet, public libraries provided digital literacy courses for over 20 million European citizens.

It was agreed that the challenge for policy makers and the library community itself is to build on this potential through concrete initiatives, and ensure public libraries can play an ever more significant role in changing the lives of European citizens for the better.