The EIFL General Assembly (GA) 2023 took place in Vilnius, Lithuania, from 18 - 20 September and we were very happy to meet in-person for the first time after three years of online meetings, using Zoom, to help restrict the spread of COVID-19.
Participants included delegates from our network of library consortia in 31 countries, representatives of our partners in the publishing industry, invited speakers and members of the EIFL management board and staff team.
The meeting was hosted by the EIFL’s partner library consortium, the Lithuanian Research Libraries Consortium, and took place in Vilnius County Adomas Mickevičius Public Library. Emilija Banionyte, who is Director of the library and Chair of the EIFL Management Board, warmly welcomed delegates.
In her opening address, Rima Kupryte, EIFL Director, announced two celebrations - the 20th anniversary of EIFL’s registration as a not-for-profit organization, and the 20th anniversary of the EIFL Open Access Programme (EIFL-OA). Rima congratulated Iryna Kuchma, who has managed EIFL-OA for 15 years, on the programme’s achievements, and to mark the occasion, open access and open science were a central focus of the GA programme. Topics included research assessment reform, transformative agreements, diamond open access publishing, and persistent identifiers (PIDs) which are long-lasting references to digital resources such as journal articles, books and datasets that contribute to ensuring discoverability, interoperability, longevity and transparency of research. Librarians from Lithuania (Vilnius University, Kaunas University of Technology and Vytautas Magnus University) shared experiences and provided practical examples of the services they offer to their research communities in support of open access, open data and open science.
Over three days participants took part in interactive sessions with expert guest speakers, collaborated and built links with one another, identified the most pressing needs in their consortia and shared ideas for addressing these needs. Participants also engaged in individual discussions with EIFL partner publishers and programme managers during intensive 'speed dating' sessions.
In his keynote speech, ‘AI in Universities and Libraries’, Aaron Tay, Lead of Data Services at Singapore Management University Libraries, discussed the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on research and scholarship, and how AI is currently affecting and may change the work of libraries and librarians in the future.
Delegates enjoyed informative tours of the Vilnius County Adomas Mickevičius Public Library, with its 15th century cellar, and of Vilnius University, founded as a college in 1569 and established as a university 1579, and its library. A highlight was a visit to the university’s St John’s Church Bell Tower, at 68 metres, the tallest building in Vilnius old town, with spectacular views across the city.
There was plenty to see and do. Vilnius is celebrating its 700th anniversary in 2023, with events and exhibitions. The city of Vilnius was mentioned by name in written sources for the first time in 1323 in a letter sent on 25 January by Gediminas, Grand Duke of Vilnius, to the German cities of Lübeck, Sund, Bremen, Magdeburg, Cologne and other cities in the Holy Roman Empire.
Thank-you to the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs who so kindly facilitated Schengen visa applications for 22 EIFL General Assembly participants. Thank you to our hosts, Lithuanian Research Libraries Consortium, the Vilnius County Adomas Mickevičius Public Library, guest speakers and delegates for making our 2023 GA and 20th birthday celebrations such a memorable occasion.