We in Civic Agenda have been working with technology in Libraries since 2005. Our sister company RegnerateIT led the way in providing Wi-Fi in UK Libraries from 2004 and we now provide Wi-Fi to many UK Libraries and most prestigiously the British Library.
Our real interests are how technology can be leveraged for Economic and social benefit and we identified the Public Library as a key point for delivery in this sector for reasons you as Librarians will know better than we do.
We began an annual discussion here in Brussels in 2009 when we began the European Congress on E-Inclusion and of course we found many voices from across Europe interested in this topic, but we wanted to get the European Commission to become more aware of this conversation and in 2010 the Conference was taken under the wing of the Belgium Presidency of the European Union. This meant that delegations from across the European Union attended and we were given strong support from the team at the Commission dealing with E-inclusion.
In 2011 we were able to link the Conference to the Polish Presidency of the European Union and we were part of the Gdansk Conference at which we were able to bring the Library experience to a mainstream conference on ICT across Europe.
This coincided with the Global Libraries team at BMGF asking us to support their European Union Working Group of 5 countries and their plans to advocate to the Commission for more recognition of the role of Libraries in education and social and e-inclusion and we have had a great year helping them develop their plans.
As the EU plans and funds it’s time towards 2020 we now believe the time is right for Public librarians and their supporters to “ride” to the European Parliament to meet MEPs and to present to them the fantastic opportunity that Public Libraries have to empower citizens of the European Union across its 27 borders and to change lives for the better as part of the EU 2020 European project.
While you take to your bicycles to change the Commission’s perception of Libraries Civic Agenda’s job here in Brussels will be to prepare for your arrival, welcoming you and to make sure your MEPs know you are coming. We will ask a host MEP to bring you into the Parliament building to meet MEPs and their assistants. There will be a reception and activities during the day to give the best chance to meet the Commission and to share your ideas with them.
Civic Agenda will work with you and the team in Finland to develop a “key message” for you to bring and an “ask” to MEPs, to ensure we help them see the link between their EU2020 goals and the work of Librarians in across Europe’s communities.
We look forward to welcoming you to Brussels in June!