Eblida has strengthened co-operation with its closest associates, such as IFLA and PL2020. Partly this is based on the personal connections, as IFLA HQ is run by our former President Gerald Leitner, and PL2020 by the wonderful Ilona Kish.
But there is more in it.
We need our partners more than ever right now, while the European Parliament is processing the new copyright reform.
As we concluded from the meeting with European Commission's Vice President Andrus Ansip, who was in charge of designing the initiative of the EC, the political bodies are very much in favour of building digital single markets to enable cross border access to digital content, but not so enthusiastic in guaranteeing libraries the right to operate e-books in the same manner as printed material. In the initiative given to the EP in September, there was no reference to the copyright exception that libraries are looking after, to enable e-lending in libraries.
If this reform is passed in the Parliament as it is, e-lending will be negotiated publisher by publisher. We end up having three different models: in some countries, as most of Scandinavia, there will be a licencing agreement between majority of publishers and the libraries. In most of the European countries only a minority of publishers agree to license the books to libraries, and in some countries there will be no e-lending at all. The idea that libraries could actually own the books, and include them in their collection, remains a dream that has not come true.
Publishers believe they’re playing their game against the American giants such as Amazon and Google, who are eagerly looking for business opportunities in the European digital single markets, once they begin to exist, but libraries – and European readers – pay the price. As a Finnish proverb goes, they flush the baby down with the washing water.
Without the work of libraries, the amount of people reading will continue to decrease. Literacy rates are declining, and the book is competing for its share of people's spare time with all the treasures the internet, Netflix and the gaming industry have to offer. My personal concern is that the last reading generation walks on our planet already.
And what is the European reaction? Yes, we are planning to make reading more difficult. This reminds me of the early days of the internet, when France came up with an idea of banning the net. All of it. I am personally not surprised that the big companies of our virtual planet come from the other side of the Atlantic. It seems, that the future of digital literacy is the English language.
Unless we lobby really, really hard. I think we should.
The document was made available online around noon on 14 September, and the copyright reform proposals were announced after the State of the Union Speech of President Juncker. Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Oettinger were present during the speech.
Check the press release here.
Together with IFLA, PL2020, Europeana and LIBER, we signed a joint press release highlighting the need for further copyright reform.
We have been in contact with 12 Brussels-based and 2 Paris-based journalists to make our position known and to raise awareness on the issues at stake.
This proposed directive is the kick-off of a process of negotiations with the European Parliament and the Council. Once a rapporteur in each relevant Committee, specifically the JURI Committee, has been appointed, political parties will table amendments.
EBLIDA together with its partners is following-up closely on this and will keep our members informed about any further developments and/or coordinated actions.
Actions at national level will be particularly relevant in the next months and years to obtain improvement on the directive text.
European Commission (Almost) Does the Right Thing on Marrakesh
On 14 September, as part of the copyright proposals, the EU Commission included proposals for the Marrakesh Treaty for the visually impaired in the form of:
- a Directive for the making and sharing of accessible copies of works within the EU, and
- a Regulation for working with countries outside of the EU.
The Marrakesh Treaty, signed in September 2013, aims to end the book famine created by rules in many countries that prevent people with visual impairments from accessing books and other materials.
This Treaty was agreed after years of negotiations and is a milestone in the recognition of the rights of the visually impaired.
With our statement, EBLIDA and IFLA acknowledge the positive work at the EU Commission regarding the proposed directive and regulation. At the same time our statement serves as a reminder to policy-makers, MEPs and Member-States of the need to respect the spirit of Marrakesh and to avoid the inclusion of clauses that are not part of the Treaty when discussing the directive and regulation.
IFLA was also present at the first Marrakesh Assembly, which took place on 5 October in Geneva. Alongside EIFL, the IFLA statement celebrated the role that libraries have played so far, and will continue to play into the future in promoting access to knowledge for people with reading disabilities.
You can read additional information on the topic since IFLA has produced a new page on the Treaty, where it will bring together available resources on getting implementation right, as well as a timeline of the work that brought us here, and a news story. You are welcome to promote these within your networks.
PL2020 Programme is organising this unique and timely exhibition at the European Parliament as part of EU Code Week.
Please save the date and visit the interactive exhibition “Generation Code: Born at the Library” on the 5G balcony area on October 18-19, and join us for the opening ceremony and cocktail at 17:30 October 18th. For more information and for registering for workshops please continue here.
The event is hosted by Mr Antanas Guoga, MEP, Mr Sean Kelly, MEP, Ms Eva Paunova, MEP, Mr Michal Boni, MEP and Ms Catherine Stihler, MEP.
Visitors to the exhibition will have the chance to try their hand at coding, 3D printing, holographic projection, energy saving walkthroughs, and virtual reality. You can also have a chat with Zora the robot, participate in short, fun and educational workshops for you and your children, and get to know the next generation of library representatives from all EU Member States.
According to the Advocate General Wahl of the EU Court of Justice (CJEU), the EU Commission has full competency to sign the Marrakesh Treaty for visually impaired people
In October 2014, the Commission proposed an EU ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty for a Council decision. This proposal was not adopted by the Council because of disagreements over the nature of the EU's competence on the matter, i.e. exclusive competence (Commission) versus shared competence (Member-States).
In July 2015, the EU Commission therefore submitted a request to the Court of Justice of the European Union ('CJEU') to deliver an opinion on the nature of the EU's competence for the conclusion of the Treaty. The proceeding has been registered with the CJEU as “Opinion 3/15”.
The Court called for a hearing and this took place on the 7th of June.
Further to the hearing, on 8 September, Advocate General Wahl concluded that:
IV – Conclusion 155. On the basis of the above considerations, I propose that the Court answer as follows the question raised by the Commission in its request for an opinion pursuant to Article 218(11) TFEU: The European Union has exclusive competence to conclude the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on 27 June 2013.
This is a timely and encouraging opinion considering the EU’s contemplation of a Directive and Regulation on the Marrakesh Treaty. We do hope that the Court will follow the Advocate General opinion.
Culture 4D – A Council of Europe event in Tallinn, Estonia
“Culture 4D: Digitization, Data, Disruptions, Diversity” was the 3rd Council of Europe Platform Exchange on Culture and Digitisation. It took place in Tallinn, 29–30 September 2016.
As announced on the website “the conference rationale is based on an understanding that the new digital and networked infrastructures should be used to reinforce access to and participation in an open culture, thereby strengthening democracy. The conference will focus on some of the opportunities and challenges that are emerging in relation to digitisation of culture and management of cultural data”.
The full programme is accessible here.
On day one, EBLIDA Director Vincent Bonnet participated in a panel on public (cultural institutions) – private (online & ICT industries) co-operation. He gave a short talk about libraries, and how they partner with all kind of stakeholders, promoting both inspirational crowd-funding projects as developed by the Public Library of Lyon (France), as well as the inclusion of libraries in the fabric of smart cities, such as in Aarhus (Denmark). He also addressed some challenges with the role being given to major corporations, the question of data privacy (especially for young generations), the well-known issue of copyright and the threats of massive illegal website risking to divert users from legal channels.
He also highlighted some changes that are necessary such as the perception of libraries in today’s society, the need to collect meaningful and exploitable data as well as the need for change in the profession to open-up to new profiles such as statisticians, data specialist, designers, computer scientists.
His presentation was web-streamed and is available here starting at 18 min 50 sec and lasting 12 minutes. One of the keynote speakers was Divina Frau-Meigs, Professor of Media Sociology, Sorbonne Nouvelle University (who was keynote for our EBLIDA conference in 2015 in Riga), and she gave a very interesting presentation on the issues at stake.
You can watch it here. She talks about the geopolitics of the Internet, the power of ICANN, big corporations and the power of the US in the overall process. It starts at 11 min. and ends at 41min 50. You can also read her background paper here.
Lots of other panels and discussions took place that will be feeding the Council of Europe work on digitisation.
While in Tallinn, the EBLIDA Director took the opportunity to meet and greet librarians in the City and is thankful for having been welcome at the Tallinn Public Library for a very friendly and informative library tour, as well as to the National Library of Estonia. See below short articles on both libraries.
The Tallinn Public Library
Tallinn Central Library (TCL) with its 17 branch libraries and a mobile library is the biggest public library in Estonia. TCL offers a variety of services from home lending of printed books and non-traditional home lending of sports equipment to the in-house use of power bank portable chargers and even a sewing room!
Libraries encourage people to read with different reading programs and other projects. TCL has currently received a lot of attention with their “Skype book club” which is a cooperation project with libraries and schools from different countries (which started at 2014). The leading partner is TCL who asks libraries in other countries to find students who would be interested in discussing literature with students from Estonia. This initiative won the Estonian round for “The European Charlemagne Youth Prize” in 2015 and won an award as one of the Best Foreign Language Deed in Estonia in 2016.
One of the most successful projects is publishing a children’s book once a year for all the first graders of Tallinn schools. The aim of the project is to invite all the first graders to the library and give them this book as a gift. Because they all have that book, they can read it together and discuss the topics contained within the book. On the 31st of October the library introduces their 9th children’s book. TCL as a publisher cooperates with famous Estonian authors, but once every five years children’s own creations are published (winners of various writing competitions that the library itself has organised during that 5-year period). TCL tries to take a different approach each year, for instance, last year TCL published a comic book. A year before that TCL published a poetry book which received many awards, including the best children’s book of the year and one of 25 most beautiful books of the year. Of course all these books are also available as e-books.
TCL is still the only public library in Estonia that offers modern e-books in Estonian which have valid copyright. Library users can borrow e-books and read them via ELLU - TCL’s e-book lending and reading environment. ELLU is also available to Estonian schools located in foreign countries and to children and youth under the age of 18 who live in districts where Estonian community is very small. In addition to ELLU, TCL lends e-book readers, but they contain only free e-books – the purpose of lending e-readers to patrons is to allow people to test them.
Not only does TCL lend e-readers, but librarians also teach patrons how to use them. TCL offers a variety of user trainings, for example a course on how to use Facebook, digital drawing tablets, smartphone and tablet basics (librarians introduce different operating systems/platforms, courses about apps, what they are and where people can buy or download them etc), different databases and how to search for information. TCL has also collaborated (by offering education programs to patrons) with Microsoft, Look@World Foundation and Estonian Free and Open-Source Software Association.
TCL is introducing smartphone and tablet PC tricks and tips at the European Parliament on the 18 -19 October at the event organized by PL2020 called Generation Code: born at the library.
(Photos courtesy of Tallinn Public Library and Tiina Randoja.)
The National Library of Estonia
An article provided by the National Library of Estonia.
The National Library of Estonia, established in 1918 as a parliamentary library, today fulfills five major roles. As a national library, we collect, preserve and make accessible publications issued in or related to Estonia. The second role is that of a parliamentary library, providing information services to the Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament) and other constitutional institutions. The third task is to function as a research library focusing on the humanities and social sciences. The fourth role is to act as the development centre for the Estonian library network, and the fifth role is to be a cultural centre.
The Library’s physical holdings contain over 3,3 million items. Our digitised and born-digital materials are stored in the digital archives DIGAR and DIGAR Estonian Newspapers. We build and manage the Estonian Web Archive and the Estonian National Bibliography Database ERB. Estonia is the first country in the world to collect and store all digital output-ready files as legal deposit copies starting from 2017.
The National Library of Estonia is also a pleasant meeting place, located in the centre of Tallinn, the country’s capital city. The 8-storey library building (2 floors underground for stacks) was completed at the time when the Republic of Estonia regained its independence, hence its status as a symbol carrying the Estonian national identity. The architect Raine Karp designed the building as a pyramid, made of local limestone.
Floors 6 to 8 are quiet areas for reading and research, floor 5 is a communication area with comfy and colourful interior, offering meeting rooms with modern equipment which are available free of charge for up to 3-hour use. They have become a popular venue for pop-up offices, student group work and business meetings of nearby companies.
The reading area is covered with free WiFi. All our 15 reading rooms provide the service of information specialists. Readers needing tailored advice on searching and processing information can use our personal information service. We also offer training courses for school students, librarians and specialists in different areas, and organise the traditional summer school for Estonian memory institutions. The Library’s manifold cultural environment consists of a wide range of events that have already become traditional, many of them organised in cooperation with other institutions - the Tallinn Book Fair in spring and the Book Market in December, the Native Language Day, the contest and exhibition 25 Best Designed Books in Estonia, the GIS Day dedicated to geographic information systems, the Cultural Week with its diversity of free cultural events, etc. Since 1998 the Library has been granting the Eduard Wiiralt Art Award with the support of partners to treasure modern Estonian graphic art.
The library building has become a home for two small theatres – Varius and VAT Theatre, the latter being the oldest Estonian independent troupe who staged its first productions in 1987.
The Library’s Conference Centre offers different size conference and meeting rooms and annually hosts around 500 events ranging from large international conferences and fairs to smaller presentations and meetings.
(Photos courtesy of Teet Malsroos.)
Next Library 2017
Aarhus (Denmark) is definitey the place to be for librarians in Sping 2017.
In Mid-September, the Next Library Executive Committee appointed its Advisory Board with the task to stengthen international perspectives and inspire to rethinking Next Library as an incubator of emerging library ideas. A rather challenging mission.
With the approval of EBLIDA Executive Committee, EBLIDA Director, Vincent Bonnet, proudly accepted the invitation to be a member of the advisory board.
Should you wish to see the list of members of the advisory board, please take a look here.
The advisory board, after their appointment, provided input for the themes of Next Library 2017. Thanks to the work of Next Library EC, the themes have been narrowed down to 7. Find them here
Next Library is a 100% interactive conference that is open to all through calls for interactive sessions and Ignite talks.
Save the Date: 3 - 4 May 2017 - EBLIDA NAPLE Annual Council and Conference
We are delighted to announce to you that next year’s EBLIDA NAPLE Annual Council and Conference will be held at the brand new public library in Aarhus,Dokk1, (winner of "Public Library of the Year 2016" award), Denmark on Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th May, 2017 respectively. Please save the dates on your calendar.
Let’s get together to rethink and celebrate EBLIDA’s 25th birthday against the exciting backdrop of Aarhus, European Capital of Culture.
With special thanks to the City of Aarhus, the staff of Dokk1, the Danish Library Association and Kultur Styrelsen for making this possible.
More information to follow in due course. .
30 September 2016 – The Marrakesh Treaty for the visually impaired enters into force
On 30 September 2016, the Marrakesh Treaty for Visually Impaired People, officially entitled Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, entered into force.
As announced on the World Intellectual Property (WIPO) website : “The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted on June 27, 2013 in Marrakesh and it forms part of the body of international copyright treaties administered by WIPO. It has a clear humanitarian and social development dimension and its main goal is to create a set of mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the blind, visually impaired, and otherwise print disabled (VIPs).”
The list of contracting parties can be accessed here, and since 30 September the total number of ratification has increased to 25 member states, with 3 new ratifications by Botswana, Sri Lanka and Liberia.
With the recent release of the Copyright proposals of the EU Commission (see our article further up in the newsletter), we understand that the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union is hoping to accelerate the ratification process
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