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Conference to mark the 50 th anniversary of the Central Library of the European Commission Brussels, 2 December 2008 Libraries, creativity and innovation.

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Presentation on theme: "Conference to mark the 50 th anniversary of the Central Library of the European Commission Brussels, 2 December 2008 Libraries, creativity and innovation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Conference to mark the 50 th anniversary of the Central Library of the European Commission Brussels, 2 December 2008 Libraries, creativity and innovation Maruja Gutiérrez Díaz Head of Unit Creativity and Innovation DG Education and Culture

2 A personal reflection on libraries Libraries of my life Libraries and internet Libraries and education Libraries, creativity and innovation Challenges for libraries: going digital Challenges for libraries: lifelong learning Some other challenges

3 Libraries, a lifelong love story I was four when my parents taught me to read because books were good friends for life A passion for reading was difficult to sustain in poor times, in a city without libraries So, my discovery of libraries was the beginning of a lifelong love story I keep fond memories of libraries. Four in particular have taught me a lot of all I know.

4 Some important things libraries taught me/1 School of Architecture, Madrid –Access to world-class knowledge, –Access to unaffordable books –The quality and special beauty of technical books University of Edinburgh –Libraries as a part of university studies: live learning lists, support to students, support to research –Libraries as a profession: interlibrary loans, keywords –Libraries as friendly and social learning spaces

5 Some important things libraries taught me/2 CIDAMM (Regional Centre for Information and Documentation, Madrid) –Libraries as public information services: openness –Libraries as tools for making unpublished public sector information available to citizens: accountability –Libraries as multimedia repositories: maps, books, studies, audio-visual material, planning archives –Libraries as cooperation between public administration and universities –Libraries as tools for modernisation of public services

6 Some important things libraries taught me/3 Central Library, European Commission –Libraries as multilingual and multicultural services –Libraries as multifarious repositories – readers may be as interested in the Treaties as in past organigrammes –Libraries as key access point to published and unpublished information: accountability and openness –Libraries as support to officials for better work quality –Library networks: the importance of sharing and collaboration (Reseaubib, Eurolib) –Libraries require hard and motivated work

7 Libraries and Internet I left the Central Library to become a member of the [very] small team launching the europa server My work with internet made soon clear that - The best metaphor for internet is that of a huge, wild, splendid library - Libraries are natural nodes in the new digital infrastructure - Libraries are natural PIAP (Public Internet Access Points). Conversely, PIAPs are natural digital libraries - Libraries and Internet hold a huge mutual potential which needs to be developed

8 Libraries and education Libraries are fundamental education tools –Supporting teachers and learners in their personal work –Teaching information skills, the best basis for digital skills –Developing an interested, curious, and positive but also a selective and critical attitude to information. –Facilitating social inclusion, providing multilingual and multicultural support to users –Supporting both traditional and digital learning Librarians are fundamental education agents

9 Libraries, creativity and innovation/1 Innovation hinges in efficient transfer of knowledge Libraries are efficient knowledge transfer services Innovation requires a wide range of knowledge (patents, photos, recordings, books…) on a wide range of subjects (science, arts, design…) with a wide range of approaches Libraries are one of the most powerful knowledge management systems existing

10 Libraries, creativity and innovation/2 Creativity is better served and grown than taught Creativity requires familiarity and manipulation of past and present knowledge, traditions, skills, trades; it requires diversity and multiculturalism; it requires above all support and some guidance Libraries are a precious resource for creative people and for their teachers, parents and tutors Libraries can be geared to become an essential piece of the new creativity and innovation policy

11 Challenges for libraries: going digital Huge cultural transformation: from the library as a building to the library as a concept Many models are possible (from europeana to google); the challenge deserves strong public support Access to knowledge as a public service can reach unprecedented levels in the digital world There is also a need to design and test new business models, for private and public services; IPR issues New and transformed roles for librarians: carrying library skills (searching, referential, monitoring) into the digital context

12 Challenges for libraries: lifelong learning Any true lifelong learning policy needs a strong learning support infrastructure, necessarily including libraries Libraries should be friendly learning spaces, providing access and guidance, reaching out to new users and to users more in need of support Libraries are not only for utilitarian learning. They have a crucial role in providing access to cultural heritage. In a context of growing diversity, this role is essential Libraries are a bridge from traditional to digital learning resources. Libraries are a much needed support for informal learning

13 Some other challenges At Commission level –Keeping up the libraries programme –Supporting europeana –Supporting the Central Library as a role model At DG EAC level –Developing a library reflection also for education –Exploiting better the Central Library for information European Year of Creativity and Innovation –A good opportunity for mutual support

14 Best wishes for the next 50 years!


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