Study tour for National Library of Estonia management to National Library of Luxembourg


The visiting group consisted of 5 members of the National Library of Estonia’s top management (Director General Janne Andresoo, Director of Library Services Kristel Veimann, Head of Finance Varmo Ronk, Head of HR Indrek Ostrat, Head of Communications and Marketing Kristo Mäe). The group was received by Director of the National Library of Luxembourg Claude D. Conter and Executive Assistant Kim Krier, meetings took place with representatives of all key areas (Christine Kremer, Sven Mühlen, Christian Schaeffer, Lucie Guibal, Mohammed El Hidaoui, Michel Molinaro, Lynn Herr, Tona Peters, Pascale Staes, Martine Mathay, Christel Kayser, Carlo Blum, Raphaël Sirres, Misch Donven, Patrick Peiffer). The intensive programme of two and a half days began with a guided tour of the library building and continued with meetings with colleagues of the National Library of Luxembourg, carried by the following keywords: strategic goals, library management, performance measurement; measuring efficiency and service quality; renovation of the library building – designing process, involvement of users, biggest challenges; the present day of the library, its target groups and main services; services specially designed for the renovated library; changes made in activities and services initially planned; self-service library.

The second day of the visit brought the following topics on the table: role of the National Library of Luxembourg in the countrywide library network, services and support provided to other libraries (an introduction to the library bus was organised); collection development and management, equipment of stacks; cooperation with publishers; IT-solutions and their development; shared library system of the country; digital archiving and long-time preservation; digitisation principles and practices.

The morning of the third day was dedicated to different management issues.

To bring out some topics of particular interest:

  • the Estonian team learned about the activities of the National Library of Luxembourg in coordinating and developing the library network, services and support provided to other libraries – such role is increasingly expected from the National Library of Estonia
  • the Estonian team got some really valuable process-based advice about the implementation of the library system Alma used in Luxembourg – Alma is also one option for the new integrated library system for the Estonian library network
  • Estonian visitors received very useful info about the digital archive software used in Luxembourg, learned about the advantages and disadvantages (purchasing this software is another major project of the National Library of Estonia)
  • the National Library in Luxembourg outsources a lot of services (conservation, binding, digitising, web archiving, IT-solutions) – which might be something for us to consider in the future as Estonia is also a small country that has to find the most practical way for using the skills of our experts.

When summarising the visit, both parties found the benefit of it being twofold – along with receiving new info and innovative ideas, the Estonian visitors also shared their experience both on general management issues (quality measurement, evaluation of work processes) as well as different service solutions (remote lockers).


Aims and objectives

The aim of the study tour was to learn about the policies and practical activities of the National Library of Luxembourg related to being a competence centre of the library network. The National Library of Estonia management team also wished to exchange experience in the field of organisational management – HR, marketing and communications, etc.

As the corresponding legal framework in Estonia is undergoing changes, it was very useful to learn in greater detail how is the role of the National Library of Luxembourg regulated by legislation and how management is arranged inside the organisation.

The outcomes of the project

The National Library of Estonia is in many ways on the doorstep of a new era. The profound renovation of our library building has just begun, in 2026 we hope to move back in. This provides us with a unique opportunity to make the most of this modern environment and open an innovative, human-centered national library. Thus it was very inspiring to visit the new building of the National Library of Luxembourg, opened in 2019, and learn how an innovative library operates.

The National Library of Estonia management enjoyed the very convenient and logically organised environment of the Luxembourg library, and received a lot of practical info that will prove useful when we make the decisions facing our library. The visit and the discussions also convinced that not all solutions are universal and applicable everywhere; that many issues depend on the subordination of the library and its role in the library network as well as its main tasks and target groups.

Quotes from participants

Claude D. Conter, Director, National Library of Luxembourg

The visit of our colleagues from the National Library of Estonia proved to be particularly fruitful. In addition to a visit to the new building and learning about the library services, which are also worth mentioning with regard to the renovation of the building in Tallinn, there were individual meetings with different departments. For us, the exchange was inspiring because information in the field of quality review and the measurement and evaluation of work processes was new. Information about how much a subject librarian catalogues, how service is evaluated and measured (loans, stacks work, etc.) was new. The exchange of experiences about library software, for example in the area of long-term archiving, was enriching for us. Questions about bibliography and compulsory practices of legal deposit were also discussed in a comparative way. For us, the questions about electronic registration and automation were helpful in assessing current solutions that we are in the process of implementing. In particular, the information about remote lockers at different locations in the city was instructive for new ways we want to approach Luxembourg in a project-oriented way to optimize physical access to the book. As is customary at such meetings, the exchange on personal management in the field of HR and on new forms of working practices was also informative.

Kristel Veimann, Director of Library Services, National Library of Estonia

This study tour became a source of a vast amount of new inspiration and innovative ideas. One issue of particular interest was a flexible self-service library – when designing the building in Luxembourg, one clear aim taken was to ensure that readers should be able to use all basic library services by themselves (borrowing, returns, etc). It was interesting to see how the National Library of Luxembourg has solved the service of library as a space – the multifunctionality of the reading area and the group study rooms for the use of readers. Here we got some very useful tips – how to arrange the lending of necessary technical equipment to those using the study rooms, also the online system for reserving the rooms – in particular, the possibility to consider using systems that have already proved smooth operation in other organisations. In terms of our library’s future spaces in the renovated building, it was also very useful to see how the Media Reading Room was operating in Luxembourg. Hearing about the experience of colleagues related to their library system and digital archive software was extremely important for us as we are currently preparing to purchase new software for both in Estonia. But each country has its own peculiarities, and we also saw solutions that would not work so well in Estonia – for example, our users are more fond of privacy and prefer not to sit side-by-side at a long table but rather settle themselves in nest-like seats and corners where they can be by themselves. On the other hand, there were services that would be perfectly applicable for our library and we are going to consider the solutions seen in Luxembourg – e.g. the Rare Books Reading Room which is not in heavy use and will be accessible on demand when a rare book is ordered – this is exactly what would be practical in our renovated building. During our visit to the stackrooms, we received lots of good practical advice that will come very handy when we reach the point of ordering equipment for our stacks after renovation. On the management level, the flexibility and efficient management of the National Library of Luxembourg could be an example for any library.


Information on the photos

  • NL Luxembourg: Exhibition on James Joyce
  • NL Luxembourg: Mediateque
  • NL Luxembourg: Stackrooms
  • NL Luxembourg:  System for borrowing technical equipment for meeting rooms
  • Bookmobile (“Bicherbus”)_library on wheels managed by the NL Luxembourg
  • National Library of Luxembourg
  • Photo of the National Library of Estonia management team from left to right: Head of Communications and Marketing Kristo Mäe, Head of Finance Varmo Ronk, Director General Janne Andresoo, Director of Library Services Kristel Veimann, Head of HR Indrek Ostrat