Coronavirus: A Message for Our Libraries from LIBER’s President

Posted: 31-03-2020 Topics: Office News

Dear LIBER network,

The coronavirus is having an unprecedented effect on life and working routines around the globe. Research libraries are also impacted by this crisis. With many physical buildings forced to close, virtual library teams are working harder than ever to provide digital support to students and researchers.

On behalf of LIBER’s Executive Board and Office staff, I want to let you know that LIBER is committed to supporting our research library network during these challenging times. We continue to offer resources and training opportunities, and are working on additional opportunities for collaborative action and information sharing.

LIBER’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is outlined below. In addition, our Copyright & Legal Matters Working Group is preparing a statement calling for urgent copyright action to support remote learning in response to the pandemic. This will be released shortly.

Specific updates about the impact on LIBER events can be found on the LIBER website.

LIBER 2020 Online

Our Annual Conference will be held online this year. Although we will miss seeing you in person, by making this a virtual event we hope that many more people from across our network will be able to attend and learn from a wide range of speakers and presentations.

Our plan is to run LIBER 2020 Online in the week of 22 June — the same week as the physical conference was scheduled to take place. Keep your diaries free, and sign up for LIBER Alerts if you want to know when more details are released!

In 2021, we will return to an in-person meeting in Belgrade, Serbia (tentatively scheduled for 30 June-2 July).

Ensuring Continuity of LIBER Services

The vast majority of LIBER services are operating as normal. Working Groups are still meeting, webinars are running and we continue to participate in funded projects. We also just won a role in a new project — Open Research Europe — to build an Open Access publication platform for the European Commission.

In terms of specific activities, we are busy organising our mid-term event in Amsterdam (3-4 December), preparing a projects database to which LIBER libraries can add their skills and funded project ambitions, and finalising the launch of a new website featuring library buildings in Europe (a project spearheaded by the LIBER Architecture Group).

Some events such as our Architecture Seminar and the LIBER Journées Leadership Programme (both originally scheduled for this spring) are postponed until 2021. The next session for the Emerging Leaders seminar is postponed to 31 November-2 December 2020.

LIBER Office Working Remotely

All LIBER operations are being coordinated by our Office team, working remotely from home until at least June 1. We won’t be travelling to physical events in April or May (all work-related travel has been cancelled) but we continue to use online tools to collaborate daily with colleagues and partners across Europe. Please email us if you need something from the Office.


We will sustain high-quality and transparent governance. Our Meeting of Participants will be a virtual event this year. Although we will not be able to meet in person — as we normally do during the Annual Conference — we hope an online format will allow record numbers of our libraries to attend and participate. Our June Executive Board meeting will also be held online. As always, minutes from the Executive Board meeting will be published on the LIBER website.

Sharing Information

LIBER has long stressed the importance of open and widespread access to information, for example through our work to promote Open Science and reform copyright. During the current crisis, we ask our libraries to help us crowdsource information about the measures they are taking and best-practices to share with others (fill out this spreadsheet). We’re also featuring individual experiences such as that of the University Library of Patras. Please contact our comms team if you’d like to contribute a similar blog post.

More than anything, we hope that everyone in the research library community stays safe and healthy in the weeks and months to come. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need something from LIBER, or have information to share.

With kind regards,

Jeannette Frey

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