3rd July 2024

2024 CENL AGM in Warsaw

At the 38th Annual General Meeting of CENL at the National Library of Poland, the agenda included the elections to the Executive Committee. We are pleased to announce that Frank Scholze, Director General of the German National Library, was confirmed in office for a further three years, as were Karin Grönvall, Sweden, Sara Lammens, Belgium, and Ivanka Stricevic, Croatia. We would like to extend our warmest congratulations to Gilles Pécout, France; Thomas Foltin, Czech Republic; and Maja Micevska Rizova, North Macedonia, who were elected to the Executive Committee. Unfortunately, Maja Micevska Rizova was unable to continue in her role after the meeting.

In terms of content, the meeting focused on two key topics: legal deposit for digital publications (e-legal deposit) and threats to cultural heritage. A separate session was devoted to each of these topics.

After a keynote speech by Minna Karvonen, Director of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland, on the topic of “Digital cultural heritage – connecting times, ideas and people”, there were a number of contributions on the status of regulations on legal deposit in the various countries and regions. This proved to be a valuable source of information for the participants, who then had the opportunity to discuss individual aspects of this topic in greater depth in smaller groups.

Following a presentation on strategy development at the Czech National Library and a contribution from the host on the role of national libraries as coordinators of national networks, as well as a series of reports from various CENL groups, a second focus was devoted to the topic of threats to cultural heritage.

After a brief report on the results of a survey on emergency planning in members’ national libraries, CENL member Lyubov Dubrovina from the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine in Kiev gave an illustrative example of the potential impact of crises on cultural heritage. In a video contribution, she outlined the challenges facing Ukrainian cultural heritage, which has been and continues to be destroyed, in part as a result of the war instigated by Russia.

Sir Roly Keating reported on lessons learned by the cyber-attack on the British Library. The library was pretty much paralysed by the attack for almost six months. As the CENL survey showed, a number of other national libraries have also experienced cyber-attacks, although thankfully the impact was not as severe as at the British Library.

And there was plenty of culture to enjoy too! On Sunday afternoon, the participants were fortunate to have the chance to listen to a public concert by the pianist Karolina Nadolska, playing works by Frederic Chopin in beautiful weather in Lazienki Park. After that, they were able to take guided tours of the extensive park. It was a wonderful introduction to the days ahead at the National Library of Poland, which were characterised by great hospitality.

The 2025 AGM will take place from 15-17 June at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.


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