Europeana Public Libraries Network is recruiting more members

29 August 2013 Comment

A network of public libraries being formed as part of the Europeana Awareness project wants new members.

The network currently stands at 55 libraries across 31 countries in Europe, which is a great start and the organisers now want to double the membership.

Mary Rowlatt of MDR Partners - a partner in the work package developing the network - says 'We're looking at ways to develop new partnerships for Europeana and there are many synergies between public libraries and Europeana. Public libraries are under pressure to offer their customers new digital services and Europeana, which provides one stop access to the rich digital resources of Europe's museums, libraries, archives and audio visual collections, is a natural partner for them.'

The Marius Katiliskis Public Library in Pasvalys, Lithuania, is a member of the Public Library Network

By joining the Public Library Network, organisations also benefit from cooperation with other public libraries and access to all Europeana’s digital expertise. Together, public libraries and Europeana can devise innovative uses of digital content and raise awareness of Europeana’s resources with library users.'

First Europeana Public Libraries Network meeting in Burgos. 11 October 2012.

Public libraries can also play an important role as collecting centres for user-generated content, for example, by hosting events to collect, digitise and describe memorabilia, objects, photographs, documents and stories. The Public Library Network will be sharing guidelines and experiences from libraries which have taken part in the Europeana 1914-1918 and Europeana 1989: the fall of the Iron Curtain campaigns. So, joining the network and working closely with Europeana also offers participating libraries new opportunities to interact with and develop relationships with their own audiences.

Vitalija Kazilionyte, head of the Pasvalyus Public Library's Cultural Heritage Documentation Centre, explains how librarians digitise and upload documents to the internet.

The Marius Katiliskis Public Library in Pasvalys, Lithuania, is a member of the Public Library Network and also part of the Europeana 1989 project. Librarians there have uploaded documents and stories (such as newspapers and a chart of the Baltic Way, and handwritten poetry) to the Europeana 1989 Baltic Way map. Jūratė Genytė says, 'The librarians take involvement in Europeana 1989 as a great opportunity to promote the history of Pasvalys online and to strengthen local people's patriotic feelings by inviting them to share their personal experiences from the Reform Movement of Lithuania. It also helps us to involve our local young people in the events that their parents and grandparents were a part of.'

The Pasvalys Public Library website includes a Europeana search function that gives results from Europeana about Pasvalys.

Any public library can join the network - regardless of whether or not they currently provide data for Europeana. Public libraries will also be encouraged to join the Europeana Network - an open forum for experts across Europe, from content providers and aggregators to providers of technical, legal and strategic knowledge and the creative industries. This forum represents and reflects the diversity of Europeana and gives its members an opportunity to voice their views.

One key benefit for Public Library Network members is an invite to the public libraries conference on 9-10 December in Athens. Europeana Awareness is hosting this event in partnership with the Future Library project in Greece. Some funding will be available for members to attend - further details and the numbers that can be supported will be provided at a later date.

To join the public libraries network please contact:
Mary Rowlatt
MDR Partners