Public Libraries 2030 originally began in 2014 through the Public Libraries 2020 programme funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The programme aimed to put public libraries on the EU agenda and raise awareness of the important role they play in life-long learning and literacy.
The organisation believes that public libraries are the key to a democratic, socially engaged and digitally inclusive Europe. Thus, building on the network of library leaders and European policy-makers who came together under PL2020, PL2030 now works to supports innovative European librarians to become powerful social and economic change agents by giving libraries across Europe an extra edge through the curation of innovative projects and effective advocacy.
PL2030 focuses in particular on the role of libraries in digital upskilling. The ‘Libraries Lead with Digital’ project, for instance, done in collaboration with Google, led to the creation by librarians, for librarians, of a digital skills toolkit containing 37 How-to guides. These were tested in the 10 English and Irish libraries participating in the project across 152 sessions and trained over 1200 people. PL2030 is also undertaking various EU-funded projects focusing on digital inclusion and skills assessments. These projects aim to provide opportunities to acquire digital skills to marginalised communities and assess the needs of the library sector regarding digital upskilling. Public Libraries 2030 is run by the Director with support from the Head of Operations, who both report to the PL2030 board members, representing leading libraries in Europe.