Libraries for Europe
Libraries are curated, public, safe spaces where people of all kinds of national, cultural backgrounds and ages meet.
We regard the establishment of a programmatic connection between (public) libraries all over Europe engaging millions of citizens as a stimulus for the emergence of a new European Social Network that can fuel a culture of solidarity between individuals and communities, across differences, borders and nationalities.
Public Libraries 2030
ECF supports PL2030 – a network of European public libraries – to research and prepare for the launch and implementation of a Europe-wide programme which will leverage the potential of public libraries to meaningfully engage with citizens, nurture communities, and connect across borders, thinking in particular about re-building trust and solidarity post-lockdown. In June 2020 Public Libraries 2030 hosted a series of sessions to explore topics concerning the impact and implications of the Coronavirus for the library community.
Driven by the common interest in the contemporary and future meaning of a public space, the digitalisation as a fundament of building new communities and Europe as the living context of local engagement and international collaboration, ECF and the OBA (Amsterdam Public Libraries) explore programmatic collaboration that will seek to further consolidate and strengthen Amsterdam’s position as a European cultural and learning hub (both offline and digital).
ECHO Mobile Library
There are approximately 115,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Greece, many of whom live in camps that lack basic facilities, let alone sources of adult education, knowledge exchange or any kind of cultural enrichment. They are often stuck in the interminable insecurity and boredom that arises from navigating the Greek and EU asylum processes, a limbo between unsafe origins and uncertain destinations. In this context, ECHO Mobile Library distributes language-learning resources and lends from a collection of over 1000 books – literature, non-fiction, educational and children’s books – in 13 languages from Farsi to French. ECHO acts as an interface of cultural and linguistic exchange on the Southern border of Europe. Read an interview here.
The Europe Challenge
With seven public libraries ranging across Europe – both big and small, avant-garde and traditional, capital-based and rural – there is already a wealth of safe public spaces serving as centers for knowledge, social interaction and support for their communities. The Europe Challenge seeks to strengthen the position of the public libraries as relevant, safe and open public spaces in Europe and a place to solve local challenges by involving the knowledge of their communities.
ECF and the Amsterdam Public Libraries (OBA), in collaboration with Public Libraries 2030 and Democratic Society, kicked-off the development of the Europe Challenge 2021: How do different communities around Europe contribute to the building of public spaces? What is the role of public libraries in this? The Europe Challenge aims to address some of Europe’s pressing challenges in a networked way, by working with libraries – small and big across Europe. Click on the button below to read more about the Europe Challenge.