As part of the Advancing Digital Empowerment of Libraries in Europe (ADELE) project, Public Libraries 2030 hosted 27 librarians from Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Ireland, Slovenia, and Finland in Brussels for the second ADELE Learning Teaching Training Week (LTTA) from August 28 to September 4. This follows the first LTTA which took place in Italy in Nocera Umbra.

 From visits of the European institutions, to ADELE case study presentations, and guided visits of local libraries in Brussels – the week’s programme was full of exciting activities! Read more to discover what our librarians got up to during the week.

House of European History

The week began with a guided tour of the House of European History’s temporary exhibition ‘THROWAWAY: The history of a modern crisis’. During the visit, we explored the hidden history of waste in Europe, examining how we have adapted to dealing with rubbish. The exhibition highlighted the significance of waste as a marker for social change, and helped us reflect on the way we think (or don’t think) about waste, as well as the current waste crisis we are facing.

Discovering Brussels’ local public libraries & Belgium’s National Library

Sans Souci Bibliotheek
We visited a local branch of the Dutch speaking public libraries network in Brussels, Sans Souci public library in Elsene . Freya DeCoster, the library’s director, gave a guided tour of her library, sharing the ways in which they have organised the space, as well as their outreach initiative to engage with the different social groups living in the neighbourhood. She also discussed the benefits and challenges of being a local library, and many of the librarians shared their experiences within their own libraries.

KBR & Museum
The KBR (Koninklijke Bibliotheek) is the national library of Belgium, which manages over 8 million documents. Through a guided visit of the library and museum, the librarians discovered the 17-floor book tower, and how the national library works to preserve Belgium’s cultural and historical heritage. In the KBR museum, we explored the collection of precious manuscripts from the 15th century and the digital interactive elements of the exhibition.

The librarians were given a guided tour of the Muntpunt Library and its makerspace, ‘De Grid’. As one of Brussels’ (and Belgium’s) biggest dutch speaking public libraries located in the city centre, Muntpunt is a crucial point of information for its population. The librarians also discovered Muntpunt’s seed library and the various digital services it offers the population of Brussels, such as the digital helpdesk ‘App-o-theek’.


Visiting the institutions: European Commission and European Parliament

In the visit to the European Commission, participants learned more about the role of the European Commission as the political executive of the EU; the Digital Education Action plan 2021-2027 and access to quality education; and the role of the EC Library and e-resources centre. Participants also received a guided tour of the European Parliament. Beginning with a short presentation on the role and functioning of the EP, we then had the opportunity to see the Parliament hemicycle, where the plenary convenes.

ADELE: Webinar #2, ADELE tool workshop, presentations of case studies

As part of the ADELE project, PL2030 is organising a series of 4 webinars on digital skills development in public libraries in Europe. During the Brussels LTTA, PL2030 organised the second webinar “A digital strategy for the public library”. We invited Koen Vandendriessche (Cultuurconnect) to present digital services and tools for Flemish public libraries, and Jacob Svaneeng (Berlin Central Library) to share the ‘Digital Zebra’ project, an inclusive digital strategy for public libraries in Berlin.

We are also collecting 100 case studies of digital innovation in public libraries. Having the librarians together in one room provided an incredible opportunity for them to share their library’s case study with fellow librarians from Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Ireland, Slovenia, and Finland. Many discovered what other libraries are doing in their own countries and abroad – and learnt about innovative projects and tips on how to do similar topics. The PL2030 team took the participants through the ADELE tool and the user manual to support them in the testing phase of the tool. 

Guided visit: Is this Molenbeek?

On the last day of the LTTA, the BRUKSELBINNENSTEBUITEN association took the group around the Molenbeek neighbourhood of Brussels for a guided visit. Tracing its history from 1829, the tour explored Molenbeek’s working class and migration history, its industrial boom in the 1900s (earning the nickname ‘Little Manchester’), gentrification, and how urban divides like the canal have influenced socio-economic divides within Brussels. A lunch at Brussels’s Labour Museum ‘La Fonderie’ followed the visit!

About ADELE 

The Advancing Digital Empowerment of Libraries in Europe (ADELE) project aims to support adult education organisations operating in the non-formal education sector adapt to new digital technologies. ADELE offers a free customisable web-based tool that helps adult education organisations reflect on how they use and where they can further integrate digital technologies to improve their services. The tool developed builds on the SELFIE tool for schools developed by the European Commission with the aim of supporting adult education organisations offering non-formal education. In doing so, the tool will help non-formal education organisations be digitally ready and forward-looking.

Discover the ADELE website to find out more