Today, at a breakfast meeting in the European Parliament, LIBER joined EBLIDA in making the case for the role of libraries in improving access to information and knowledge in the digital age.
The event, hosted by MEP Sylvie Guillaume and organised by EBLIDA, served to highlight the need for copyright reform by examining the role libraries play in supporting the citizen’s need to access information and knowledge in order to deliver a knowledge-based and highly educated society.
MEPs Julie Ward and Julia Reda, set the scene by emphasising the importance of access to knowledge for civil engagement and for creativity and by reflecting on some of the key issues raised through the European copyright consultation.
EBLIDA President, Klaus-Peter Böttger, outlined the challenges facing libraries in relation to collecting and providing access to e-books and provided a reflection on the responsibilities of libraries in the digital era.
Susan Reilly, Interim Executive Director of LIBER, also spoke about the responsibility of libraries to protect academic freedom and outlined how research libraries are aiming to support world class research through the promotion of transparency in research (open science), collaboration, and data driven innovation.
The challenges of licencing, as opposed to ownership, of e-books were presented by Jukka Relander, Finnish Library Association President as he elaborated on the role of libraries in society.
Lastly, MEP Georgios KATROUGALOS brought the discussion to a close by speaking about the budget cuts that Greek Libraries and Universities have faced. He argued that the discourse about copyright should not only be driven by commercial concerns, but should focus on the importance of access to information for society and for ensuring the preservation and availability of cultural heritage.