The Europe Challenge Back

The Europe Challenge

In short


Annual programme for libraries and their communities to design, test and deliver solutions to local problems that can benefit all of Europe.


Across Europe.


Current edition: 2022-23. The next edition will be launched in 2023. Open call will be announced here.

Who is it for

Libraries & their local communities. Examples of current participants: a Scottish prison library, a Bulgarian library working with Ukrainian refugees, a Greek comics library exploring ‘bibliotherapy’ to tackle loneliness and mental ill health.

The Europe Challenge addresses some of Europe’s most pressing challenges by working with libraries and their communities across Europe.

We launched the European Challenge in 2020 to offer support, resources and funding to libraries and communities – to help explore how people can meet, live together and work in the Europe of today.

If we are to respond to challenges including war, polarisation, cultural and economic crises, the people of Europe must lead the way in solidarity.

People need safe spaces where they can come together and build understanding leading to a stronger sense of solidarity. Libraries offer just that opportunity. As trusted democratic spaces that provide deep-rooted connections to communities, municipalities and local governments, libraries offer a safe space for people across Europe to come together with their neighbours and fellow citizens to identify common problems and find solutions.

Local questions are often shared questions in a European context. With the Europe Challenge, we support libraries working with their communities to prototype solutions to some of the most pressing challenges we face across Europe. Whether it is war, climate change, economic crisis or polarisation, our greatest challenges can only be solved when people – across Europe – lead the way in solidarity. Libraries, with their connections to communities and to municipalities and local governments, are safe spaces where people can come together to work on identifying challenges and solutions.

What is the Europe Challenge?

The Europe Challenge is a rolling one-year programme that brings together delegates from libraries and communities, starting with an open call each year and finishing on Europe Day – 9 May – of the following year.

The 2022 edition, launched in May 2022, includes 32 libraries and communities from 14 countries and 29 different locations – from the Outer Hebrides in Scotland to one of the most easterly islands in Greece – representing schools, prisons, universities, volunteer libraries and special issue libraries.

Their prototypes and ideas will be presented in May 2023 – when we’ll also be launching a new open in autumn 2023.

Sense of Belonging

‘Sense of Belonging’ showcases the 39 initiatives created during the Europe Challenge between 2021 and 2023, and tells the back-story: why and how the programme was conceived.

Inviting partners & funders

The Europe Challenge was launched in 2020 by ECF, in collaboration with Democratic Society (DemSoc), Public Libraries 2030 and Amsterdam Public Library (OBA).

The 2022 edition of the Europe Challenge is supported by ECF, Fondazione Cariplo (Italy) and the Scottish Library Information Council.

Are you a municipality, local or regional public institution or foundation, and do you support citizen-led change in your local area?

Then join us in growing and scaling the impact of the Europe Challenge locally and across Europe. Get in touch with us to discuss opportunities for collaboration at

Get in touch

If you have any questions about The Europe Challenge, please contact Nicola Mullenger, Programme Manager, or Olga Alexeeva, Programme Manager.

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