Last week, LIBER hosted UK MEP Catherine Stihler at our ‘Meet the Libraries’ day at the National Library of The Netherlands.
Catherine Stihler is a passionate advocate for libraries, regularly speaking out for her political group on the issues of copyright, accessibility and content mining. Bridging the policy and research community, Catherine is Vice Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, a member of the parliament’s Digital Agenda Intergroup and the Working Group on Copyright as well as being Rector of St Andrews University.
To introduce Catherine to the broad scope of work carried out by library organisations, we held a Round Table, attended by representatives from IFLA, EBLIDA, Europeana and Public Libraries 2020. With no shortage of points for discussion, we talked through the issues that matter to each organisation, the work they are doing at EU level and the way we coordinate to maximise our impact. These issues include open science, text and data mining, cross border access, digital preservation, inclusion, e-lending and out of commerce works. Catherine highlighted the importance of keeping the channels open between libraries and policy makers. She emphasised “everyone understands the word library. For me this is about social justice. You are acting in the public good and highly important to the knowledge economy.”
LIBER Advocating for Libraries
After the Round Table, LIBER discussed our planned EU advocacy work with Catherine including a joint event on the Hague Declaration. We also introduced Catherine to the Director General of the Koninklijke Biblotheek (National Library of the Netherlands), Lily Knibbeler.
There were further surprises in store when we showed Catherine around the library itself and, knowing her keen interest in Scottish history, some treasures in the special collections. We saw some incredible 16th century hand coloured images, (including of Edinburgh) from the Atlas Van der Hagen and original letters written by Elisabeth Stuart, the only daughter of King James VI and I who had spent much of her life exiled in The Hague.
We want to thank Catherine Stihler and her Assistant Alisa for coming to the Hague to meet with us and look forward to our continued work with her office in the coming months, including a Hague Declaration parliamentary event to highlight the opportunities in knowledge discovery in the digital age. This is particularly important given the upcoming legislation on copyright which will be processed by the European Parliament.