Network Group

Books and Audiences Network Group

About this group

As national libraries and other institutions dealing with books as objects for exhibitions, we find it important to have a platform to exchange ideas about the challenges of presenting our wonderful collections in a way that is appropriate for the public as well as the collections. Exhibitions in which a printed or hand-written text is the dominant object are not the most popular exhibition genre; they lack concentration and frequency that would lead to healthy competition and understanding of the criteria for quality. The distance between institutions and professionals working with book exhibitions hinders the exchange of ideas and mistakes, thus hindering development. We want to create a platform to overcome this distance between players. This platform should be the ideal way to exchange ideas but also to get new inspiration, to spark creativity and to make things happen.

We want to provide an open, inclusive, accessible, visitor-oriented, perhaps even participatory, exhibition service that will be used conveniently and thoughtfully by experts, culture-lovers, children, grandparents and people in wheelchairs. We care about what is stated in the CENL mission: to increase the visibility of heritage collections and open them up to new generations of users through exciting services. In order to achieve these goals, book exhibitions need to have access to the latest findings from the most diverse sectors, so we need to network not only amongst ourselves, but also with neighbouring sectors. This network group can do so by organising seminars and opening up the reflection, discussion and inspiration for having books and text documents displayed in exhibitions or museums for the best interest of various sectors.

The main aims of this group are as follows:

  1. Building a network of experts in the domain ‘book exhibitions and their audiences’.
  2. Sharing knowledge, experiences and creating the opportunity to learn.
  3. Exchanging expertise and best practices with colleagues by organising seminars and creating a shared online platform for exchanging news, ideas and experiences.

The Books and Audience Network Group aligns with several priorities and objectives under the 18-22 strategy of CENL. First of all, this network group is a place where the skill development and knowledge exchange of CENL members can take place. Furthermore, we want to share this knowledge not only with CENL members, but also with colleagues from neighbouring sectors (museums, design etc).

The network group gives us the opportunity to explore innovative use and design of exhibition spaces and ways to showcase our precious documents in order to engage with  the audience. We can explore the evolving needs of the wide range of audiences and how our exhibitions and the way we use our collections can contribute to their needs. We want to remind ourselves that museums and exhibitions organised through our libraries are important and potentially very powerful tools for reaching our users, our audience. The national libraries, as well as independent book museums and galleries, have accumulated remarkable experience and knowledge of audience-orientated work strategies, which can help widen the range of our target audience.

Through collaboration between CENL members, through cross-sector collaboration with European cultural organisations can enable the sharing of best practices and improve user services of national libraries in the fastest and most effective way.

Chair: Inga Surgunte, National Library of Latvia

Treasurer: Vanessa Braekeveld, KBR

Secretary: Vanessa Braekeveld, KBR


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