Members of European Parliament visit two EIFL-PLIP supported libraries
PL2020 tour highlights the value of public libraries

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Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) visited two libraries supported by the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) as part of the Public Libraries 2020 Tour (PL2020).


The MEP for Latvia, Sandra Kalniete, visited Valmiera Public Library in north-central Latvia and saw the EIFL-PLIP supported ‘Read and get followers’ project in action. The project uses a social reading ‘app’ downloaded to mobile devices (smart phones, and tablet computers) to encourage teenagers to read.


APP MAKES BOOKS MORE ACCESSIBLE, YOUNG READER TELLS MEP


The PL2020 team made a short video in which a young ‘social reader’, Gustavs Māziņš, aged 12, explains how the Valmiera Public Library app makes books more accessible and enables teenagers to read together with their friends, to follow each other and share opinions.


Gustavs also said he valued coming to the library to meet with his friends, which he did not do so often in the past.


Commenting on the introduction of computers and the internet to Latvian libraries, Kalniete said that libraries had become people’s “link to the world”.


“Libraries are the places people acquire knowledge, and knowledge is the basis of any creativity,” she said.


MEP SEES SUSI, THE READING DOG, AT WORK



The MEP for Estonia, Marju Lauristin, visited Tallinn Central Library, which won an EIFL Public Library Innovation Award for their pioneering online lending service. The service gives Estonians across the globe round-the-clock electronic access to modern Estonian literature in formats that are compatible with computers, tablets, smart phones and e-readers.


Librarians discussed the ebooks service, and also showed the MEP another innovative project, in which a reading dog called Susi helps struggling children to learn to read.


In the library, Susi is a trustworthy companion and appreciative listener for children who need to practice their reading skills. The project is getting remarkable results.


Watch the video to see Susi at work.


BACKGROUND


The Public Libraries 2020 Tour highlights a series of stories from library users, librarians and politicians from across Europe, all with one central message: libraries change lives. The goal of the tour is to show the fantastic work that Europe’s 65,000 public libraries are doing. The stories of library users, visionary librarians and politicians show some of the faces of the 100 million Europeans who visit their library every year.


EIFL-PLIP helps connect communities in developing and transition economy countries to information through public libraries by supporting creation of innovative, technology-based public library services.