I Love Libraries – an EU Event

By Lo Claesson

Generation Code
Oct 17th – 18th at the European Parliament, Brussels

In October I represented together with Jenny Nilsson and Ulrika Domellöf Mattson the Swedish Library Association at the event Generation Code at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event was a part of the EU Code Week.

EU Code Week, launched in 2013, is a grass-roots movement that celebrates creating with code. The idea is to show children, adults and the elderly how you bring ideas to life with code, to demystify these skills and bring motivated people together to learn.

The event had three parts:

1. The exhibition
The Generation Code exhibition was designed to demonstrate to EU policy makers what libraries are already doing to offer citizens an outlet to develop their digital skills, and show how libraries can play a crucial role in the future provided the receiving enough funding and policy support. By empowering individuals, Europe’s 65,000 public libraries build stronger communities and change lives. In the afternoon, there were also a Kids session at the exhibition.

2. Meet & Greet speed dating session
Library representatives met with MEPs at the exhibition. In beforehand each country’s library associations had invited “their” MEPs for a brief meeting. You could take the opportunity to advocate and discuss library matters that were especially important for your country’s libraries while you were also visiting the exhibition. We talked about the Swedish library association’s positions concerning the EU Commission’s proposal for copyright directive.

3. Debate:
A debate also took place in the parliament: Is contributing to building digital skills part of the modern libraries core role? There is a MEP Library Lovers Group that brings together Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from across the EU and from both sides of the political spectrum who are passionate about libraries. Eva Maydel, Bulgaria, member of this group started the discussions.
The event was arranged by Public Libraries 2020. PL2020 brings together library organisations and advocates from across the EU to raise awareness of the value of public libraries as partners for social and economic development under the Europe 2020 strategy. PL2020 promotes how libraries are contributing to European policy objectives in three main areas: social inclusion, digital inclusion, and lifelong learning.

This event provided a good opportunity for library representatives from EU countries to meet and talk with their MEPs in an environment that presented what a modern library could be.

Photos: Swedish Library Association http://www.biblioteksforeningen.se/