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All over the world libraries are being used as Internet hubs. Based on evidence regarding the activities of online people across all ages, Mr. Iakovidis identified a number of new business models and services for public libraries in the field of inclusive e-government, life long learning and health information. These potential future roles of libraries would be in line with several of the Europe 2020 flagships, f.e. ‘Digital society’, which formulates a digital agenda for Europe. In closing, Mr. Iakovidis stated that concerning the USP of public libraries and their unique added value for EU policy, public libraries have the benefit of being close to the people, during all the stages of their lives. He highlighted that in order to get every European digitally competent and to combat social and digital exclusion, public libraries can play a role to reach out to those who are the most vulnerable. Influencing Policy at the EU Level Nathan Ducastel, Consultant, HEC Europa unit Nathan Ducastel shared his experiences as an adviser to the Dutch policy agencies in order to get to grips with what is happening in Europe and how the library sector can position itself in EU discussions. He advised the audience to look at the EU policies, like the e2020, as the ‘bible’ and most importantly to look for a ‘win-win’ situation within the policies. Mr. Ducastel stated that although an initial motive for reaching out to Europe often involves the need for extra funds, getting involved in European projects gives one the opportunity to influence EU legislation and to realize one’s own goals through Europe while at the same time building up a network of partners. Regarding the legal status of EU policies, Mr. Ducastel introduced the difference between hard and soft laws but also stressed the importance of a third option, namely research projects. Since research takes up the third largest budget item in the EU it is an important factor in agenda setting and certainly also policy oriented. After having given some insight in different influencing models Nathan Ducastel stressed that libraries and library organizations should form a coalition and reach out to the European platform with a common network and common objectives. Mr. Ducastel concluded that libraries certainly have a big role to play bridging the digital divide but that they have to work together to prove to Europe that they have the capacity to realize all the work. Mr. Ducastel offered some definitive guidelines for influencing policy: • • • • • •

Have something to offer, create content and be willing to share it In a EU context, be aware that everybody is talking to everybody all the time Make alliances, even if they are temporary or only focus on single issues Use your politicians, both on a EU, national and local level. EU priorities are shared with all other policy levels Gather evidence, figures and facts Focus on the impact libraries can have on the behaviour of people, in line with the agendas of the EU 5

ECEI11 Conference Report  
ECEI11 Conference Report  

Conference Report of the European Congress on e-Inclusion 2011