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Innovation through Co-operation

The History of LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche) 1971-2009

LIBER, the principal association of research libraries in Europe, was founded in 1971, under the auspices of the Council of Europe. The driving force behind the new association was a small dedicated group of European librarians, led by Jean-Pierre Clavel, Director of the Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire, Lausanne. Their goal was to give European research libraries, national and university, a distinctive and compelling voice in the international library community. The chosen name LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche) was redolent of both books and freedom. This history, covering the years from 1971 to 2009, documents a unique period in European history. The continent of Europe was divided into two separate blocs of West and East with very few contacts between librarians and scholars; in the late 1980s came the sudden collapse of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and its consequences for libraries; and, thereafter, there arrived a ?new dawn? of renewed contacts between librarians and restored co-operation between research libraries across the whole of Europe leading to the robust research network that is being built today. The book also charts the revolution in information technology in European research libraries and its profound effects on how libraries serve their users. In this process, LIBER has played an active role in encouraging and developing a strong network of research libraries across Europe and in fostering positive co-operation among European research libraries. The author is the eminent Finnish national and university librarian and scholar Professor Esko Häkli, himself a former president of LIBER. He has meticulously researched the history of LIBER in a period of profound social and political change in Europe. From this rich background, he has woven an engrossing and yet contemplative account of LIBER?s early struggles and successes in its mission to give European research libraries a distinctive voice.

371 pages | 7 x 9 3/4 | © 2011

Language and Linguistics: Language Studies

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Table of Contents


I. The Foundation of LIBER and the Early Years 1968–1980
    Library Co-operation in Post-War Europe
    A New Association Comes into Being
    Clavel’s Programme
    Reactions in the Library Field
    The Professional Programme
    Co-operation with the Council of Europe
    A Laborious Start
    Kenneth Humphreys as President
II. Through Stormy Years towards a New Future 1980–1994
    A Challenging Time of Change
    Administering the Association
    Professional Activities
    Working Groups
    New Initiatives to Activate LIBER
    LIBER and EFLC: Confrontation or Co-operation
    From a European Library to the Library Action Plan
    The Council of Europe’s New Interest
    Central and Eastern Europe
    A New Approach and New Statutes
III. The New LIBER at Work (1995–2009)
    Governance of the Association
    Annual General Conferences
    The Professional Divisions and their Programmes
    Expert Committees and Major Projects
    Publications Crisis
    Towards the Digital Library
    The Future of LIBER
IV. Epilogue

Source and Bibliography
    I. Statutes of the LIBER Association
    II. LIBER Members
    III. Presidents and Officers of the LIBER Association 1971–2009
    IV. Members of the Executive Board of the LIBER Association 1971–2009
    V. Honorary Members 1973–2009
    VI. Finances of the LIBER Association 1971–2009
    VII. Annual General Conferences and the Number of Participants 1972–2009
    VIII. LIBER Conferences, Open Meetings and Seminars
    IX. Publications of LIBER

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