Day 2: Transforming Access to Digital Europe Day 2 considered the transformative roles of Europe’s public libraries, by examining the wider impact that they can have to empower the Digital Citizen and include those with barriers to access whether economic, skills or accessibility based. The presentations and workshops looking at the following core topics: • • •
Repositioning the role of libraries within the digital landscape Sustainable partnerships for the future Libraries as a key tool of transition
Key Calls for Action The wealth and breadth of contributions during the conference set in motion fresh dialogue on the opportunity that public libraries offer Europe as a solution for delivering E-Inclusion goals. Contributors from public libraries and associations around Europe detailed the impact of investment in public libraries around Europe and, in return, to gain advice and support from EC policymakers and advocacy experts on what public libraries can be doing to promote best practice at an EU level. A number of key challenges and opportunities for public libraries were identified during the conference as key calls for action: •
For public libraries to be considered as eligible actors in EU policy and funding programmes, they need to provide compelling evidence to demonstrate that they have the capacity to deliver key solutions at an EU level. The functions and services provided by public libraries need to demonstrate a synergy with Europe 2020 flagship policies such as ‘Digital Society’, and show where key goals can be delivered by library functions. There is an opportunity for public libraries to consider new models and reposition services in the fields of inclusive e-government, lifelong learning and health information. Public libraries need to focus on consumers’ needs and respond to the pressures of the labour market (for example, by 2015, 90% of jobs will require ICT skills in some form).
The European Commission has, since the conference, reiterated that public libraries who are providing innovative access to digital services and knowledge are very important eInclusion players. Moving forwards, they have highlighted the importance of public libraries actively take part in consultation for EU eInclusion policy.
Published on Sep 17, 2011