Grant recipient


National Library of Estonia: Centennial Conference Imagine a National Library


“Imagine a National Library“ gave an excellent opportunity to discuss the meaning and functions of national libraries in our society today. The presentations outlined trends where libraries, and national libraries in particular, are heading.

The speakers brought out that national libraries are becoming more and more open, and in terms of the use of the library as a space they are increasingly resembling public libraries. The presentations and discussions underlined the role of the library as a filter which counterbalances the information noise and fake news, offering reliable information.

The conference offered an interesting panel discussion about the impact of technology on the development of information society, e-services and e-library – the debaters talked about the positions, trends and facts based on Estonia’s e-governance. Another focus was the library as a physical space – how has the digital environment changed the use of the physical library space. The audience also got an overview of the survey carried out by CENL about national library spaces and services, as well as the tasks of national libraries in the digital era.

The concluding presentations a gave relevant and inspiring sum-up of the conference, pondering about the future of books, people’s reading habits and libraries.

Participant comments

Professor Kaisa Sinikara

University of Helsinki, Researcher, University Librarian emerita

“Thank you very much for the opportunity to take part of the conference. I enjoyed very much for the lively program: the presentations and discussions, the jazz performance and the unique way to make notes.”

Patrice Landry

Qatar National Library, Chief Librarian and Deputy Executive Director

“I really appreciated being part of this conference. I found it extremely rewarding and the discussions have inspired me in my research. My gratitude to your wonderful team!”

Elena Pintilei

Director of the National Library of Moldova

The Tallinn International Conference was a good opportunity for me to get to know a renovated National Library of Estonia, a real European one. It also gave me a unique chance to meet the managers of many info-documentation institutions, who presented at this forum plans for their institutions’ future devepelopment.

Plenary communications have been based on the changes that have occurred in science and society over the last decade, but also on how they can be assimilated into the day-to-day work of a national library.

An essential moment for me was that here I found the answer to one of my important questions, if the library could succeed separately as a informational institution in adapting all the international developments. I have understood that we need to quit many old work habits.

Above all our users’s interests are primary and are a measure of evaluation of the library’s work.

This is particularly important for our future steps: forming a consortium, building and using common databases, coordinating digitization of the printed materials.

Ismet Ovčina

Director of National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina

“I would like to use this opportunity to thank you for wonderful Conference!It was my honor to be a part of such an important event celebrating 100 years of National Library of Estonia, and we also shared an article about the Conference on our Library’s web page.

I was very excited to attend, particularly because we got to exchange opinions and discuss questions and problems regarding not only national libraries but libraries and society in general.I thoroughly enjoyed presentations of our colleagues, and even though we spoke about digital age challenges we haven’t forgotten about our users, their needs and how they are still an important part of vivid library life.

The conference, through the vision of creating new generation libraries in the educational and cultural field of Europe, certainly contributed to the creation of library perception and knowledge, innovations, user orientation, cooperation, cultural heritage and national memory and reliability.I am very grateful to CENL and their support on enabling to create such grand Conference!

It was a pleasure to see you and talk about potential projects between two national libraries in the future.Once again, congratulations and National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina wishes you many more successful anniversaries!”

Professor Riaan J Rudman

Stellenbosch University

“I would like to thank you for the invite to present at the conference. It was very interesting to be exposed to a world that I have awareness of, but do not work in on a full time basis. I certainly learnt a couple of things, which places libraries in a different context.

I would also like to commend you for arranging a brilliant conference. As you can imagine, as an academic I travel and attend various conferences around the world and as an independent observer I can commend you for a very innovative approach to hosting the conference and the attention to detail. Some of the ideas I am going to propose to Stellenbosch University.”