Libraries of the Future – a nationwide debate

Libraries of the Future – a nationwide debate

On the 15th of April, the Book Institute will inaugurate in Krakow a program of nationwide conferences entitled Biblioteka Nowa (New Library), the aim of which is to elaborate the assumptions and direction of development of Polish public liabilities for the upcoming years. The 1st edition, entitled Biblioteka 2020, czyli nowe wyzwania dla bibliotek publicznych (Library 2020 – new challenges for public libraries), will be devoted to the changing role of libraries in modern society. It will be attended by the most outstanding experts in this field from Denmark, France, Germany and Great Britain. The project is co-organised by the Krakow Festival Office.

During the first meeting, foreign speakers will present strategies and visions regarding the functioning of libraries that were prepared in their respective countries. Participants in the conference will learn what the ideal library of the future should look like and which tools must be used as a basis for creating strategies of its development. The presentation will concern social, legal and political frameworks that must be created in order for libraries to perform properly their information, educational and integrative tasks.

The first seminar will include speeches by: Brian Ashley – Director of Libraries in Arts Council (England), appointed twice for the National Executive of the Society of Chief Librarians, Jens Thorhauge – the long-year director of the Danish Agency for Libraries and Media, Emmanuel Aziza – the deputy director of Bibliotheque publique d’information (Centre Pompidou), as well as Klaus-Peter Böttger – the director of the municipal library in Essen. The debate summarising the seminar will be hosted by Grzegorz Gauden – Director of the Book Institute and Tomasz Makowski – Director of the National Library.

The seminar is a closed meeting addressed mainly to industry specialists who create the role and function of public libraries every day: directors and employees of public libraries, as well as representatives of municipal and provincial offices. Altogether, it will be attended by 200 recipients from the entire territory of Poland.

Biblioteka Nowa seminars will be held cyclically twice a year: in winter and in autumn. The program of five conferences will be carried out in the years 2015-2017. Further seminars will be devoted to the following topics, respectively: new concepts of libraries on the examples of the best European institutions, new architecture, a new offer and a new librarian. Further editions will be held in Warsaw and in Wrocław.

’For the last few years, the Book Institute has carried out programs aimed at helping public libraries to change into “centres of access to knowledge and culture” and into places meeting various expectations, such as: reliance on electronic media and digital resources, the support of “media literacy”, the creation of space for searches and inspirations, or the support of various age groups.Thanks to programs such as Biblioteka+, Infrastruktura Bibliotek, MAK+ or Szkolenia dla bibliotekarzy (which are being implemented within the framework of the National Readership Development Program), these changes are possible.From 2011 till the end of 2015, 245 library buildings in small towns will be built or modernised.Since 2010, 5,300 librarians have been trained.At the same time, however, it seems necessary to determine the direction of development of Polish public libraries on a more general basis in response to social needs in the times of advancing digitisation.And this is the purpose that the cycle of Biblioteka Nowa seminaries will serve,’says Grzegorz Gauden – Director of the Book Institute.

‘Krakow can boast the organisation of the most prestigious literary projects in this part of Europe,’ says Magdalena Sroka, Deputy Mayor of the City of Krakow for Tourism and City Promotion. ‘Krakow is becoming a global city, and the title of a UNESCO City of Literature and events related to it serve as a perfect intermediary between worlds of readers and writers.’The support of program events concerning the offer and functioning of municipal public libraries is one of the key elements of the strategy of Krakow – UNESCO City of Literature formulated in the application filed by Krakow in 2013, the Krakow Festival Office as an institution responsible for the preparation of the application and the operator of the title of UNESCO City of Literature supports and actively engages in initiatives on the municipal and nationwide level aimed at adapting the offer and function of public libraries to dynamically changing needs of the contemporary recipient of culture by organising a series of debates, events and projects aimed at improving the professional qualifications of librarians.

The seminar will be held in the ICE Kraków Congress Centre, which is operated by the Krakow Festival Office.

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