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Salzburg Connection

Report about “Libraries in the 21st Century” Salzburg Seminar:
October 23-30, 2004

von Mohammad Hossein Biglu (graduate student studying for a doctorate)

The last decade has posed momentous challenges and opportunities to libraries worldwide, dramatically recasting the future for traditional institutions and presenting complex choices for new organizations.

The rapidity of technological innovation and the quickly expanded importance of electronic information not only forced libraries to update their technical capacities, but to rethink their institutional purpose.

Their traditional function remains unchanged; in most countries, libraries remain institutions dedicated to preserving and collecting the written word, to facilitating public access to diverse sources of information and interpretation, and to providing a resource for the education of future generations.

Around the world, libraries have emerged strengthened by this period of transition, with a renewed sense of civic mission, social responsibility and public purpose.
As cultural institutions, the need for vibrant libraries seems more urgent than ever, yet the challenge of keeping libraries relevant, fresh - and open - is constant.

How are libraries around the world adapting to changed circumstances and to this renewed sense of their responsibilities?

How can librarians around the world learn from the experience of librarians in different countries, and how can these institutions be strengthened, sustained and created in areas where their existence cannot and should not be taken for granted? What challenges do libraries continue to face, and what strategies exist for confronting the demands that the 21st century is likely to place on these important cultural institutions?

The seminar exposed participants to a global variety of perspectives and opinions about the role of libraries in the 21st Century.
Participants had the opportunity to develop fresh perspectives on libraries and their interrelationships with society as a whole they informed their current and future work.

Furthermore, participants had the opportunity to develop new international, professional networks and collaborations with others who shared their commitment to creating the best possible libraries for their communities.

Specifically, the session resulted in participants gaining:

• Exposure to new thinking about the role of libraries and the needs of library users
worldwide
• Deepened knowledge about selected best practices in libraries on all continents
• Nuanced understanding of the interface between libraries and information
technologies
• Innovative approaches to library advocacy and the development of local, regional,
national, and international structures for cooperation
• A global community of colleagues for future collaborations and continuing
intellectual dialogue, supported by the Salzburg Seminar’s alumni network.

>Website zur Veranstaltung

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