The Estonian Ministry of Culture decided to dedicate the year 2022 to libraries. The leader of the Year of Libraries will be the National Library of Estonia who prepares the programmes, engages partners and organises thematic events. This program is supported by the Erland Kolding Nielsen Grant.
“The role of libraries is increasingly changing from being a repository to being an adviser, guide and educator. Also, the ever-increasing amount and faster pace of information, as well as the digital revolution, are assigning completely new responsibilities to libraries in both the social and educational sphere,” noted Minister of Culture Anneli Ott. “Libraries are becoming community information and counselling centres that benefit all of us – be it in terms of more available services and information, or simply as a way to improve and educate ourselves,” added Minister Ott.
Director General of the National Library Janne Andresoo promises that a wide range of libraries will be engaged in the thematic year programme – from public and school libraries to university and research libraries. Andresoo says that the role of libraries inevitably transforms in the information society. „The classic lending and reading room services have been supplemented by the corresponding digital versions. An increasing responsibility for libraries is to help readers improve their information consumption skills,“ she noted.
The changing role of libraries drives to develop both library services and the expertise of librarians. Libraries are increasingly partnering schools and training providers for adults, also supporting agencies like the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund and others. Libraries acquire entirely new roles – for example in developing media literacy or training critical information consumption. Along with these, libraries have to fulfil their basic role – providing access to knowledge and culture, with increasing focus on digital devices and electronic content.
The Estonian Ministry of Culture has been organising thematic years since 2000. The previous one was the Year of Digital Culture in 2021.