Past Program

Oct 23 - Oct 30, 2004

Libraries in the 21st Century


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?



This session will examine these questions and others, bringing together leaders from a variety of libraries around the world - including public, university, research, government, art, special collection and school libraries - to discuss the importance of libraries as cultural institutions, information sources, civic spaces, and vital tools for educational and social development around the world.



The fee for this session is US$5,000 not including travel. The fee covers the cost of the program, accommodations, and meals.



Limited financial aid is available and is awarded based on need. Applicants who believe they qualify for assistance should explain their circumstances in a letter, which should be submitted with their application