The title of the 26th EBLIDA Annual Council Meeting & EBLIDA-NAPLE Conference is ”Libraries bridging borders”, a theme that suits Strasbourg perfectly, in itself an international city right at the heart of Europe.
Libraries and librarians are increasingly working in a cross-border environment, be it related to countries, disciplines, preservation, knowledge, copyright or any of the issues in relation to free access to information. For free movement of knowledge to happen, we need libraries bridging borders.
Europe is at a crossroads in its history. Over the past couple of years, political tensions have risen among the citizens of Europe and globally. Governments throughout Europe have been taking various steps and measures to open or close down their borders to refugees.
Meanwhile, terrorism has had a huge impact throughout the continent, challenging the free circulation of people in the EU. At the same time, the mass digitisation of our world, and the advancement of the sharing economy is impacting the way citizens access culture and challenges the notion of borders itself.
There is a strong global demand from citizens for access to content anywhere any time. As Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Estonia) mentioned in a declaration in February 2017 before Estonia took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU, “Striving towards a seamless physical and digital connectivity is in the interest of the whole European Union as economic success cannot be separated from the free movement of goods, services, people, capital, and knowledge”.