On March 28 and 29, the BIBLIO project partners met in Brussels for the final project meeting and the final policy event. After 42 months of work, the BIBLIO project was presented in a breakfast meeting with European Parliament Vice-President Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Marc Angel (S&D, Luxembourg). This event was the opportunity to present to various MEPs and their offices the BIBLIO project and its methodology as well as the policy recommendations developed from the feedback given by the training participants as well as mentors. We were delighted to have representatives from MEP Dace Melbārde’s and MEP Eva Maydell’s offices as well as being joined in person by MEP Chiara Gemma, MEP Massimiliano Smeriglio, and MEP Andrey Kovatchev.
To kick us off, MEP Marc Angel introduced himself and his interest in libraries. Funnily, he mainly remembers using libraries to study so he is thrilled to see how libraries are developing in the wake of the digital transformation. From then on, we heard from Associate Professor at the University of Bari Aldo Moro, Nicola Barbuti, who explained the BIBLIO project and its methodology, namely its focus on work based learning. Before breaking into a discussion, we heard from Norman Röhner, Policy Officer at ALL DIGITAL, who explained the policy recommendations emerging from this project. These included adopting a user centric approach in any library strategy, regular training opportunities for library staff and encouraging collaboration with other libraries and cultural institutions among others. This gave us a constructive framework to jump into discussion with the trainees and mentors present in the room!
We heard from Katiuscia, one of our Italian trainees, who spoke of how this training helped bolster her view of libraries as pillars of democracy and the need to have skills to navigate the digital age. From there we also heard from Leonidas, a Greek trainer, about the impact of this project in the Greek library sector. Notably he highlighted that this brought a much needed change and hopes that this will continue beyond this initial run.
After hearing from the trainees and mentors, we were able to hear from some of the MEPs in the room. MEP Andrey Kovatchev highlighted that he has a high respect for libraries and hopes to see future projects like the BIBLIO project. With these final remarks, the event wrapped up and we headed to the Muntpunt Library for our final project meeting. We left the European Parliament feeling energised by the remarks made by MEPs and motivated to continue the BIBLIO project beyond this first work period!