Over the course of the Future of Europe for Public Libraries (FEPL) project, nearly 200 library professionals gathered in Belgium, Denmark and Portugal for in-person thematic meetings on the topics of digital, sustainability, and democracy. The FEPL partners produced a series of posters summarising all the collected insights and co-created knowledge from the thematic camps in an accessible and visual format. The posters include common language, trends identified, and policy recommendations for each of the thematic areas (digital, sustainability, and democracy). We aim for this to be used as a resource for library advocacy work at local, national, and European level. For example, insights from the sustainability camp in Aarhus contributed to developing the city’s local library policy.

Curious to learn more about the outcomes of the different camps and projects? Discover the posters below! 

Lighthouse Session (2024) #1: Presenting the outcomes of the FEPL project

With the project wrapping up, PL2030 invited library professionals from the Lighthouse Libraries network for a one hour online ‘Lighthouse Session’ focused on presenting the outcomes of the FEPL project. In this session, the project partners from DOKK1, De Krook, and Lisbon Libraries Network discussed the insights and knowledge gained from the three thematic ‘camps’ which took place in Ghent, Aarhus, and Lisbon.

Libraries were shown to be trusted partners and a place for peer learning. Els Van Rompay (De Krook) presented the outcomes and findings of the Digital Futures camp. As citizens come to the library for help, Els highlighted the importance of providing library staff with support and training to ensure they can fulfil the evolving role of librarians.

It is part of the library DNA to be circular, create community and connections. When presenting the Sustainability Camp, Sidsel Bech-Petersen (DOKK1 Aarhus) underlined that libraries can be crucial actors in bringing the community together to do something to take action, and create a more sustainable future. Having identified a lost connection to nature, Sidsel posed the question: What role can libraries play in reconnecting with nature (through literature, fiction, poetry)? And how can libraries be dream labs for citizens?

Filipa Barros (Lisbon Public Libraries) presented the Democracy Camp, which took place in Lisbon in October 2023. During the camp, participants investigated further what it concretely means to say that libraries foster democracy. Filipa highlighted the importance of bringing in artists, having self-awareness as public libraries, and the possibility for libraries to be experimental spaces for exploring politics, political literacy and citizenship. What does it mean to be aware of our power as citizens?

The formats of the camps allowed for deep reflections on the three topics of digital, sustainability, and democracy, and provided the space to develop a common language to discuss these themes from a library perspective that transcends borders. Through this project, library professionals from across Europe had the opportunity to discover what other libraries and practitioners are doing, and exchange on good practices. This project demonstrated the added value of in-person meetings for building strong networks and connections, and transnational partnerships.

About the project

The Future of Europe for Public Libraries (FEPL) is an Erasmus+ project which ran from 2022 to 2024, with the aim of creating a strong network of public libraries across Europe interested in engaging with EU policies and initiatives on the themes of digital, sustainability, and democracy. Through in-person meetings (‘thematic clusters’ focusing on one policy area each), the project set out to build a common language among this network of practitioners on these policy areas, and how this can be integrated by public libraries.

In November 2022, a kick-off meeting was held in Brussels by PL2030 at the Goethe Institute. In March 2023, the first thematic meeting on digital futures (Digital Camp) was hosted at the De Krook Library in Ghent. In May 2023, the sustainability thematic meeting was held at DOKK1 in Aarhus (Sustainability Camp) in the context of the Next Library Festival. Finally, in October 2023, the democracy thematic meeting (Democracy Camp) was held in Lisbon by the Lisbon Libraries Network. Overall, the project gathered nearly 200 library professionals in Belgium, Denmark and Portugal.