– By Erna Winters, PL2030 Board Member and Managing Director of Public Library Kennemerwaard

Advocating for the importance of libraries EU decision makers and working together with European library leaders to increase innovation and collaboration is a critical part of my role. That’s why I’m a member of Public Libraries 2030 and why I’m so excited about our new project, Lighthouse Libraries.

Last month, a group of library leaders and innovators met in Brussels to explore the role of this new project and all that it could achieve. Some of the people there I already knew well from our work together as part of PL2020’s Advocacy Lab, while others I met for the first time. This was the first meeting for the group and gave Ilona and Hannah the chance to present their vision for Lighthouse Libraries as a group of European libraries that are committed to promoting libraries to the EU as well as creating exciting new cross-European projects and programmes of work.

Our first session focused on the projects that the partners who were present were already involved in and mapping these against target groups, sources of funding, and topics and themes that we felt had most potential. We then moved on to a brainstorming workshop that explored what kind of projects we could create to respond to specific funding opportunities from the EU as well as private institutions.

We closed with a discussion of next steps that included how to establish the group as a vibrant space for sharing experiences and opportunities, with a particular focus on establishing a pool of potential partners for PL2030 curated European library projects that aim to address common challenges together.

As Managing Director for the Public Library Kennemerwaard, I know the basis of our success is working together with our great team of library staff to innovate and improve our services. I’m genuinely thrilled to have the opportunity to extend this practice to work together with other European libraries and institutions to create vital new international projects and to further advance the case for public libraries in Europe. I’m really excited by the opportunity to share ideas, work and learn together and to be inspired by this great network.

Find out more about our Lighthouse Libraries project.