Library News – Malta

Debate at the National Library of Malta

Malta - ComodiniThe European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA), along with the Maltese Library Association (MaLiA), organized a visit to the historical National Library of Malta.  Invitees included high level representatives from libraries, archives and universities in Malta, members of the EBLIDA Executive Committee and two Members of European Parlaiment: Alfred Sant (S&D) and Therese Comodini Cachia (EPP).

The visit began with a tour of the National Library and an exclusive look at the archives – which included an especially well preserved collection of books and letters from the era of the Knights of Saint John.

Following the tour, EBLIDA President Vincent Bonnet hosted a roundtable discussion with the invitees to discuss “Libraries in the 21st Century”.  It was a fruitful discussion covering the role of Europe’s libraries in the context of cultural heritage, but also digital skills and copyright.  EBLIDA Executive Committee members from Spain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands relished the opportunity to compare the situation in their own countries to that of the library representatives from Malta, and discovered that in many cases librarians and archivists face similar challenges when it comes to issues such as e-book lending.

Malta 2MEP Therese Comodini Cachia, a member of the MEP Library Lovers group and European Parliament Rapporteur for the current proposal for EU copyright reform, joined the discussion to consider the position of libraries in the ongoing copyright debate.  Ms Comodini Cachia highlighted the the role of libraries across Europe as fulfilling the general interest, particularly when it comes to education.  She recognized that libraries needed to see changes to the current copyright framework if they are to meet the needs of the community in ensuring access to knowledge and cultural heritage in the Digital Single Market.  Vincent Bonnet echoed this, reminding us that the library sector is calling for a balanced copyright system that supports authors and users alike.

Ms Comodini Cachia has said she will aim to submit her Draft Report by the 6th of March.  See here for more information on the position of libraries and cultural heritage institutions towards the current proposal for copyright reform in Europe.

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