Goal 11: 2. Library Policies and Best Practices
In many European cities, libraries are an essential element of contemporary urban planning. City administrators and urban planners place libraries along strategic urban development axes in order to enhance socialization, the aggregation of people and inter-ethnic integration in large as well as in small cities. The regeneration of depressed and deprived city areas has often started with the creation of libraries and their qualification as “meeting places” for citizens.
Examples of libraries being the focus of, or a chain for, urban regeneration are present in many European cities, from Aarhus to Helsinki, from Paris to Copenhagen.
Cities may also be the ideal ground field from which to develop Citizens Science projects. In Belgium The air seekers is developed by Transport and Development, an NGO with its headquarters in Brussels. T&D allied with several Belgian libraries to develop a citizen science project that aims at creating as much data as possible on air pollution. Sensors detecting the air quality are given to users of public libraries and data are transmitted to research centres analysing the quality of air. The air seekers project is a perfect match for SDG 11.6.
Book heritage projects qualify for Target 11.4 which aims to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage. Most library cultural heritage projects create links with Europeana, which provides access to millions of books, music, artworks and more – with sophisticated search and filter tools.
In Bulgaria, a number of projects on cultural heritage have been funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds, namely:
a) the “St. Cyril and Methodius” National Library of Bulgaria, which has been established as a Centre of Excellence for the Bulgarian Heritage;
b) the “Written treasures of the Lower Danube”, also involving a library in Craiova, Romania; and
c) the “cultural and historical destinations”, in collaboration with a Turkish library.*
In Germany, two projects were funded through the European Structural and Investment Funds in Oranienburg - a city of 40,000 inhabitants in the region of Brandenburg - and Waltershausen - 13,000 inhabitants, in Thuringia. In Oranienburg, the region decided to restore the library with a tourist information and a Galerie after having requalified the Old Castle, the Castle Park and the Havel promenade. The Stadtbibliothek Waltershausen was re-qualified in an historical complex, which also includes the town hall (1441).*
* See EBLIDA. Funding Opportunities in Libraries. The European Structural and Investment Funds 2021-2027, http://www.eblida.org/publications.html
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