Over 100 international academic librarians ‘Come together!’ for LIBER Winter Event and Library Symposium

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LIBER Winter Event delegates at EUI.

The European University Institute (EUI) hosted the LIBER Winter Event on 23-24, November 2023. This annual conference, organised by the Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche (LIBER), brought together over 100 LIBER members at the EUI. This year the conference theme was Come together! Enabling collaboration and inclusivity in research libraries.

Renaud Dehousse, EUI President, Julien Roche, LIBER President, Pep Torn, EUI Library Director, and Martine Pronk, LIBER Executive Director welcomed delegates to the Opening Ceremony on Thursday, 23 November.

Sarah Nouwen, EUI Professor of International Law, in her keynote speech “Inclusive Open Access in academia: coming together against exclusive publishing” emphasised the need of fostering dialogue and collaboration among publishers, libraries, authors, academic institutions and funders. The address underscored that while the move toward Open Access publishing, aimed at broadening public access to research, there are increasing concerns about unintended consequences such as authors facing difficulties due to funding limitations, potential bias in editorial decisions based on affiliation and payment ability, restricted author freedom in selecting submission outlets, and journals’ financial viability being linked to the quantity of articles with Open Access fees rather than editorial quality. View Professor Nouwen’s keynote on YouTube and download the slides here. 

This two day event provided a valuable platform for LIBER members to share knowledge and engage in interactive workshops focused on many topics, including Resilient Leadership, Legal issues facing research libraries, Managing Open Access Infrastructure, Digital Scholarship and Data Science Essentials for Library Professionals, Research Data Management Support Service Models at Universities, Citizen Science advocacy in Southeastern Europe.

In addition to the conference activities, LIBER members enjoyed informal gatherings and social events. Highlights included a dinner in the center of Florence and a visit to the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) at Villa Salviati where archivist Mary Carr provided insights into HAEU’s mission and showcased its archival treasures, offering a journey through key moments in the history of European Union integration, while archivist Juan Alonso Fernandez provided a fascinating glimpse into EU audiovisual and oral history sources. The visit concluded with a tour of state-of-the-art archival deposits and a visit to the charming villa grottoes.

The EUI and LIBER would like to thank all attendees, speakers, volunteers, and organisers for their help in making the 2023 Winter Event a success.

Library Symposium: the current state and future challenges of Italian and European academic libraries.

On 22 November, the EUI Library also organized a symposium in partnership with Casalini Libri at Villa La Torrossa, Fiesole. The symposium brought together librarians, representatives of Italian academic institutions and LIBER members to discuss the current state and future challenges of Italian and European academic libraries.

Guido Badalamenti (University of Siena) opened the event with a brilliant keynote speech, followed by Laura Ballestra (Director of LIUC Library and President of the Italian Library Association), Marc Martínez (Sciences Po) and Giannis Tsakonas (University of Patras) also delivering speeches that fostered lively conversations with the audience.

Pep Torn, EUI Library Director, presented a proposed Manifesto for the future of academic libraries. The Fiesole Manifesto, named after the symposium location, envisions academic libraries as dynamic hubs that champion adaptability and innovation in the face of contemporary challenges. Amid profound shifts in higher education, technology, and scholarly communication, academic libraries and librarians must continue to provide access to high-quality informational resources, foster a dynamic and inclusive learning environment, ensure the long-term accessibility and integrity of academic materials, and ultimately offer resources and expertise to navigate the new humanistic, scientific, digital, and technological culture. The Manifesto thus serves as a guiding set of principles encouraging libraries to play integral roles in decision-making and positioning them as indispensable contributors to the evolving landscape of knowledge.

The Fiesole Manifesto is a working document that currently proposes seven key principles, yet remains receptive to proposals and suggestions:

I. Universities cannot exist without a library.

II. Libraries require robust governance and funding (Libraries’ governance, e.g.  The system, structure, policies, and processes by which libraries are managed must be administered by library professionals. The financial support of academic libraries is not an expense; rather it is an investment in the future of education and research).

III. Libraries must sit at the tables where institutional decisions are made and strategic planning for universities are developed (not only within the academic institutions themselves but also at European-level funding organizations, as well as publishers, authors, and other relevant stakeholders)

III. Libraries are collectors, curators and enablers of Open Science generated within universities (including research data).

IV. Libraries embrace the digital culture, promoting proficiency in both humanistic and technological literacy (information, digital, media, AI literacies).

V. Libraries take the lead in essential and innovative services and collections through collaborative approaches (digital/print: ownership of collections; preservation; access; circulation etc.).

VI. Libraries evolve by introducing novel professional profiles and roles, accomplished through the enhancement of librarians’ skills.

VII. Libraries actively commit to promoting open, democratic, and responsible Artificial Intelligence by ensuring that the utilization of open data is recognised as a public good.

You can read and comment on the proposed Fiesole Manifesto for the Future of academic libraries here.