From November 21 to November 24, 2023, the IFLA Regional Workshop & Regional Division Committee Meeting Europe was held in Brussels.

From morning to evening, representatives of 36 European countries worked on strategies for the development of the global library community and discussed the challenges faced by libraries at the national, regional and global levels. 

Ukraine was represented at the workshop by Kateryna Alekseenko, Partnerships Coordinator of the Library Country Charitable Foundation, and Yaroslava Soshynska, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Library Association. Among the representatives of the library community were members of national library associations, leading experts from public, national, and academic libraries, representatives of charitable and public organizations that develop libraries, and members of library boards of trustees. Among the invited speakers were representatives of the European Commission in charge of culture, representatives of UNESCO and non-profit public initiatives, including Public Libraries 2030, which works with libraries in the region. They all shared opportunities for libraries: financial, institutional, and regulatory. 

The workshop discussed such topics as advocacy for libraries, building partnerships, and forming a new generation of library leaders. They acquired skills in lobbying for libraries, building the work of institutions and organizations according to the SMART system. 

Strong libraries are libraries that have sustainable partnerships and integration with other cultural and educational actors. The development of libraries is equal to the development of their communities. The world's libraries are effective players, sometimes even the only ones on the way to achieving the goals of sustainable development. The organizers of the event emphasized the role of libraries in achieving the well-being of both local and regional communities. Understanding the impact of libraries on addressing pressing needs is the key to successful lobbying for libraries at various levels.

The first in-person meeting of The Regional Division Committee Meeting Europe was also held. 15 representatives of European countries, including Ukraine (represented by the coordinator of the Library Country Charitable Foundation Kateryna Alekseenko), will work for 2 years on promoting democratic values in libraries, researching the education of library professionals in Europe and working on library advocacy at the European level.

The IFLA European Regional Division covers all countries of Europe, including the Caucasus. It focuses its activities on advocacy, identifying priorities for the region, and developing and implementing action plans that meet those priorities.

All events were hospitably hosted by the Royal Library of Belgium. 

Reference: IFLA (The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) is an international organization that represents the interests of library and information professionals. It was founded in 1927. It has more than 1700 members in more than 150 countries. IFLA is headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands.