Advancing Digital Empowerment of Libraries in Europe – ADELE

The ADELE project was designed to empower libraries in the digital era by making staff and managers aware of the needs they have to face to drive change within their organisation. To do so, the project developed a free self-evaluation tool and training opportunities to help libraries reflect on how they use and where they can further integrate digital technologies to improve their services.

Project description

Digital technologies have profoundly changed our personal, professional and educational lives. The changes due to digital progress are far-reaching and the library sector is now exploring new roles, methods, and services in lifelong learning to better reach users and make their services more user-friendly. But how can libraries know if they’re using digital technologies to their full potential?

The project aimed to answer this question by offering a free self-evaluation tool and training opportunities to help libraries reflect on how they use and where they can further integrate digital technologies to improve their services. 

The ADELE project was implemented by 5 organisations coming from 4 countries:

For the development of the project activities, the partnership involved 100 libraries first in the validation and testing of the ADELE tool and then in the capacity-building activities:

  • Ireland: 25 from 6 local authorities;
  • PL2030: 22 from several European countries;
  • Bulgaria: 25
  • Italy:28

The ADELE Self-assessment tool is built on the SELFIE tool, a well-known and appreciated EU tool for the assessment of schools’ digital readiness.

Our tool is geared toward the library sector to help libraries assess their digital readiness and preparedness. The snapshot generated from this tool will serve as a jumping-off point for libraries to identify where they can improve their digital readiness and work to better this. As the tool provides static snapshots of the state of play of a library, the assessment can be taken again to evaluate the progress made.

The ADELE tool can help your library gain a better understanding of how digital technologies are used to support its services. It involves users, library staff and managers in a collective reflection on the use of digital technologies in the library. Its results can highlight issues including:

  • In what areas is digital technology used effectively and where can the library make improvements?
  • Does the library have a vision for how it wants to use digital technology and, if so, do staff and users know what it is?
  • What kind of training do library staff find most beneficial?

The ADELE tool can help a library make informed decisions by reviewing and continuously improving how digital technologies are used in the library.
The ADELE tool is:

  • Free
  • Customisable
  • Currently available in English, Bulgarian, German, Irish and Italian
  • Easy to set up and answer questions
  • Designed and tested with 100 libraries across Europe

The ADELE tool is structured around 6 competency areas and more information and guidance on this can be found at

The ADELE project also foresaw the creation of the ADELE Digital toolkit, which included several digital resources:

  • a series of 4 webinars on digital skills development in public libraries in Europe;
  • User manual on how the ADELE tool works;
  • Communication kit to increase the visibility of the project in the long run. The kit contains resources and information on how the ADELE project should be communicated on various platforms, channels and mediums;
  • Educational videos on the topics of digital communication for librarians, national library strategies, European frameworks, as well as a training on how to organise a Human Library;
  • A collection of 100 case studies of digital innovation in public libraries. These best practices have been compiled and made public to initiate the integration of technology into non-formal education activities within public libraries;
    • Additionally, a booklet was created to spotlight 20 best practices from the collection of 100 case studies to highlight various innovative projects and initiatives being implemented by public libraries across Europe

 The participation in project activities engaged the libraries to:

  • validate the ADELE questionnaire through the submission of an evaluation survey;
  • implement 2 testing rounds of the tool;
  • participate in focus groups and webinars evaluating the tool;
  • join 4 training webinars;
  • attend a 1-week international mobility and organise an internal meeting to share with colleagues what they learned
  • contribute with an innovative case study
  • be active and disseminate the ADELE resources

Finally, the ADELE project included the delivery of four international training events, addressed to librarians and library professionals, focused on social and digital innovation in public libraries. The mobilities took place in Italy, Belgium, Bulgaria and Ireland.

All resources and materials are available on the website:

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