32nd Eblida Anual Council and Conference 2024

9 April 2024

Staffing the library of the future

In many countries in Europe libraries, library academies and library associations struggle with the question of how to staff the library to prepare for the future.

The EBLIDA conference “Charting the future of libraries” in Lisbon April 9, 2024, places this question as the central topic.

Due to economic challenges, demographic changes, developments within the information society – in social media and in artificial intelligence- and the threats to democracy, the needs of citizens and of society are changing in an unprecedented speed and direction.

Libraries – as always – try to adjust to the needs of the community they serve. Looking back, the changes in libraries in the past decades have been enormous, transformative and are reflective of a strong and flexible profession.

During the 2023 EBLIDA conference in Luxemburg, we learned how librarians have become used to (re)creating library services every day in the interactions with their users; the so called ‘librarising’.

With the ever-changing new demands on the library, it is no longer the case that training in library academies sufficiently prepares students for the profession at hand. The speed of change has surpassed the time needed to prepare traditional curricula and execute training programs. Training programs in library academies therefore lag behind the demands of the sector.

In many countries, there are discussions about recruiting staff without a library qualification. Some believe it is more realistic to hire staff without traditional library training for marketing, communication, media education or programs. In other countries, a library qualification is indispensable. There is also an emerging opinion that it is the commitment to library values and goals rather than the qualification, that is important.  

Unions play an independent role; often trying to protect the interest of current staff with conservative actions.

Those trying to recruit staff face other challenges and complexities. One is the image of the library that for many in the outside world is still defined by books. Although libraries have adapted to new roles like being a hub for information, a meeting point for the community, a centre for personal development, in practice, it is hard to shake off the image of walls of dusty books, making it difficult to attract young employees.

Additionally, it’s often difficult to retain and manage the expectations of newly acquired staff members, especially since due to organisation culture, opportunities for self-employment and/or personal development are limited. 

Apart from all of the above, there is the harsh economic reality that in the competition for valuable human resources, the primary labour conditions are not competitive in libraries due to lack of funding.

Europe provides an interesting pallet of differing situations and approaches to deal with the issues mentioned above. In some countries, library academies still thrive and are in demand and in others, they have completely disappeared.  

In some European countries, the library association is defining the skills and competencies and the educational program, while other countries focus on auditing the performance of the library instead of the input of staff.

The conference will start with an outline of the changes in society and the resulting changing demands on libraries. This will be elaborated on from the perspective of the practitioner, the teaching of library students and that of the policy maker.

Through a series of interviews, presentations and interactive workshops, we will explore how to address the above issues, showing you examples of good practices and lessons learned from different countries.

We want every participant to leave Lisbon with a sense of possibilities and inspiration to be put into practice.

It is our aspiration that the conference will lead to new initiatives for exchange and cooperation to the benefit of the future of libraries in Europe.

  • Programme


    The Conference venue: Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, Alameda da Universidade, 1649-010 Lisbon, Portugal

    14:30 – Tour in Lisbon, for those who come early (TBA)

    Internal Meetings (Pre-Conference Day)

    11:00    EBLIDA Executive Committee Meeting & Photo Session

    13:00    Lunch

    14:00    EBLIDA Annual Council Meeting
    (for EBLIDA Members only)

    Photo Session with Council Members

    16:30    Coffee Break

    Photo Session with Council Members, Incoming and Outgoing EBLIDA Executive Committee Members)

    17:00    EBLIDA Executive Committee Meeting – with newly elected members.

    9:00 – 9:15          Welcome – Ton van Vlimmeren, EBLIDA President

    9.15 – 9:45          Keynote speech – Rolf Hapel, University of Washington Information School

    9:45 – 10:15       Keynote conversation: Ton van Vlimmeren, EBLIDA President and Nicolas Georges, Director, French Ministry of Culture

    9:50 – 10:50       Panel Session: What comes first: future libraries or future librarians?

    Chair: Ton van Vlimmeren, EBLIDA President 
    Jannie van Vught, Association Public Libraries: Educational platform for Dutch Library Network, Netherlands
    David Gonçalves, University of Lisbon, Portugal
    Andrew Cranfield, Director, Helsingør Municipality Libraries, Denmark

    10:50 – 11:00    Q&A

    11:00 – 11:30    Coffee breaks

    11:30 – 12:45    Workshops

    Workshop 1: Librarians’ skills: universal and specific, rather than core and additional
    Chair: Nicole Krüger, ZHAW University Library, Switzerland

    Workshop 2: Matching the offer and the demand of librarians
    Chair: Marie Oestergaard, Director, Public Libraries of Aarhus and DOKK 1, Denmark

    Workshop 3: The knowledge gap, the generation gap
    Chair: NEDLIB project / Marina Encheva, Bulgarian Library and Information Association – BLIA, and University of Library Studies and Information Technologies – ULSIT, Bulgaria and
    Spaska Tarandova, Global Libraries Foundation, Bulgaria

    13:00 – Lunch

    14:15 – 15:15    Plenary Session: Digital literacy for digital libraries
    Chair: Mairead Owens, City Library of Dublin, Ireland

    What Skills does library staff needs in the digital age?
    Eloy Rodrigues, University of Minho Documentation Services, Portugal

    What the Council of Europe Recommendation on Library Legislation and Policy says in terms of digital technologies and AI: Implications on library staff

    What is digital literacy? A matter of indicators and a vision for the future
    Jasenka Pleško, President of the Croatian Library Association and

    Dunja Marija Gabriel, National and University Library in Zagreb, Croatia

    15:15 – 15:25     Discussion and Q&A

    15:25 – 15:55     Coffee break

    15:55 – 17:05     Workshops

    Workshop 4: Library Directors
    Nora Neuhaus

    Workshop 5: AI: strengths and opportunities for libraries, librarians, and users
    Chair: Teresa Pombo, Ministry of Education and Science, Portugal

    Workshop 6: Attracting and retaining new staff: strategies for talent acquisition and employee retention
    Chair: Ute Engelkenmeier, Chairwoman of the Professional Association Information Library (BIB e.V.), Germany

    17:05 – 17:20    Workshop wrap ups and Q&A – Hella Klauser, Bibliothek & Information Deutschland – BID, Germany

    17:20 – 17:30 Conclusions – New EBLIDA President

    19:30    Conference Dinner (TBA)

    More details coming soon!

    The RL:EU event is designed in a hybrid format, blending in-person engagement with virtual accessibility. There will be in-person speakers and activities, some of which will be live-streamed. Simultaneously, online participants joining via Zoom will have the opportunity to engage in parallel activities.

    11:30    Introduction of the RL:EU project (15’) [In person and live-streamed]

    11:45    EU frameworks and programmes on digital literacies and Table discussions (45’)

    Part 1:    EU frameworks and tools to foster and evaluate digital competences by PL2030 (10’)
    Table discussion #1 (8’)

    Part 2:     EU programmes supporting digital upskilling: CERV and Erasmus+ by PiNA (20’)
    Table discussion #2 (8’)

    The presentations will be in person and live-streamed. The table discussions following each presentation will also take place on Zoom and will be moderated by PiNA. The in-person table discussions will be moderated by PL2030.

    12:30    Lunch & Networking

    13:30    Living Library of EU projects on digital literacies in libraries (60’) [In person and live-streamed]

    In person: in different tables around the room, 7 speakers will present their EU-funded project. Participants will move around the room every 20 minutes and ‘visit’ 3 projects. [The in-person Living Library session will be moderated by PL2030.]

    Online: participants joining online will be placed into 3 groups in break-out rooms and will listen to 3 different project presentations (20 minutes each) delivered by a speaker from an EU-funded project. [The online Living Library session will be moderated by PiNA.]

    14:30    Wrap-up & lessons learnt (30’) [In person and live-streamed]

    15:00    Networking

    19:30    Council Dinner Solar dos Presuntos (Map)

  • Registration


    All participants, presenting authors, chairs, or moderators will need to register.

    • EBLIDA, NAPLE, PL2030 Member: € 170
    • Non Members: € 220
    • Students: € 50 (Student ID or official letter of University must be provided)
    • Speakers (organising committee): € 0
    • EBLIDA, NAPLE, PL2030 Member: € 220
    • Non Members: € 250
    • Students: € 50 (Student ID or official letter of University must be provided)
    • Speakers (organising committee): € 0

    Receipt of your registration will be acknowledged, and an invoice will be sent by email.
    Payments can be made by Bank transfer, using the bank details on the invoice.

    Payments must be done in advance of the Conference, there is no cash desk at the Conference venue.

    Please note: By attending the Conference, you consent to photos, videos, being taken for reproduction and distribution for news, educational, or promotional purposes.

    • Notification of cancellation must be done in writing and sent to EBLIDA by email:
    • If the written notification of cancellation is received before 10 March 2024, the paid registration fee less an administration fee of  € 30 EUR will be refunded. Cancellations after this date will not be refunded.
    • In the event that you are unable to attend, please consider sending a replacement. In this case, an administration fee of € 30 will be charged.

    There will be no refund for no-shows. EBLIDA recommends that you check that your travel insurance covers costs in case of cancellation, e.g. registration fees, travel / hotel booking costs.

    Please note that, for organisational reasons, eventual refunds will be done after the Conference. All refunds will be made at the exchange rate applicable on that date. EBLIDA cannot be held responsible for any loss resulting from alterations in exchange rates. To receive your refund, please send your complete coordinates and full bank account details to

    Cancellation of the Conference

    EBLIDA reserves the right to cancel the event until March 10th at the latest. Paid registration fees will in that case be reimbursed, minus an administration fee of € 30. EBLIDA will not be liable for any travel or accommodation costs incurred by the cancellation of the conference.





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Contact with the proposer of 32nd Eblida Anual Council and Conference 2024 project