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The community Hub of Libraries in Europe!

Striving towards an equitable, democratic and sustainable society

The European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations is an independent umbrella association of library, information, documentation and archive associations and institutions in Europe.


Libraries are « non seulement Lieux du livre, mais aussi Lieux du vivre » (not only Book places, but also Living places) [Orsenna-Corbin report to the French Ministry of Culture, 2018].

Public libraries pursue educational and cultural objectives and provide free access to information. Technological change, social inclusion and democratic participation are becoming key drives in their action.

A new political framework is needed – and this framework can be clearly identified in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and, in Europe, the European Union 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. EBLIDA activities take place within the framework of the EU 2030 Agenda.

 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


EBLIDA is implementing the EU 2030 Agenda through the 2019-2022 EBLIDA Strategic Plan, and in particular:


Strand n.1:
Advocacy at Political Level

There is no need to quote Rousseau to claim that direct democracy maximizes participation. On the other hand, deliberation through direct democracy is emotion-driven if it is not accompanied by the conditions required to make good deliberations. The misuse of direct democracy can be contrasted by a well-informed debate with clear questions and outcomes, especially at local level.

At Political level, EBLIDA collaborates with Public Libraries 2030 in implementing:


In collaboration with IFLA, Public Libraries 2030, LIBER and SPARC Europe, EBLIDA is advocating for Libraries in Europe.

Strand n.2:
Enhance Library Legislative Framework

A revision of current Library legislations in Europe is needed to attains minimal requirements for a library system supporting an equitable, democratic and sustainable society.

The flagship project linked to this Strand is to revise the  Council of Europe EBLIDA Guidelines on Library Legislation and Policy in Europe approved by the Council for Cultural Co-operation at its 68th Session (19-21 January 2000) and  by the EBLIDA Executive Committee in January 2000.

Moreover, EBLIDA is continuing its effort focused on Copyright, undertaken in collaboration with IFLA, LIBER, SPARC Europe, CENL and other associations, and the Marrakesh Treaty.

Strand n.3:
Policy-Making in Libraries

Library statistics in the European Union started to be collected in a more systematic and intensive manner around 1990-2000, thanks to funding provided by the European Commission. There have been numerous attempts to collect library statistics thanks to EBLIDA (2013-2015), the IFLA Library Map of the World. In 2017, PL 2020 combined IFLA Library Map of the World with other indicators in its EU Library Factsheets.

Usual figures about EU libraries record 65,000 public libraries which are attended by some 100 million annual visitors.

However impressive library statistics may seem, they are far from satisfactory. The number of 100 million annual library visitors, for instance,  can be dismissed with a scorn by a biased economist who might infer that similar, and perhaps better, results are achieved by social media, search engines and similar channels.

New library indicators are therefore needed, which assess rather than the intensity of use of library resources, how libraries are used. Library performance indicators which take into account Europe-wide sustainable development indicators based on Eurostat.

One of the tasks of ELSIA (European Libraries and Sustainability Implementation and Assessment) Expert Group, set up by EBLIDA on 7th October 2019, is to examine appropriate methodologies for the assessment of library performances in the social and economic field, in association with general socio-economic indicators of a general nature, such as the Eurostat-based SDG Indicators, the OECD Well-Being Index, and similar. ELSIA results are available in the EBLIDA Matrix.

Strand n.4:
Support Library Educational and Socio-Cultural Development

In the 19th century, literacy skills were linked to the progress of the concept of nation. After the 2nd World War, in a post-totalitarian era, public libraries were identified as agents of democratic change. In early 1970’s, this idealistic notion left the floor to a more “utilitarian” attitude based on technical applications and technologies.

At the turn of the second Millennium, information service providers broke the monopoly libraries had enjoyed for years. In the current economy of attention, many services – like Google services – are accessible free of charge and are at the users’ fingertip. A new political framework is therefore needed – and this framework can be clearly identified in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and, in Europe, the EU 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

Look at the numerous products elaborated by EBLIDA under Strand 4: The three reports A European library agenda for the post-Covid 19 age - Work in Progress, the Sustainable Development Goals and Libraries - First European ReportThe European Structural and Investment Funds 2021-2027: Funding Opportunities for Libraries. These three reports have been aggregated into Think The Unthinkable: A post Covid-19 European Library Agenda meeting Sustainable Development Goals and funded through the European Structural and Investment Funds (2021-2027). See also the European Workshops organised by EBLIDA (October 2020), and the National Workshops.

Strand n. 4. Action is supported by the EBLIDA ELSIA (European Libraries and Sustainability Implementation and Assessment) Expert Group.

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