The basic role of libraries is to collect, maintain, organise and provide access to information and knowledge resources. Libraries have a continuing role as physical entities, but they are also key links in the information chain in support of educational, cultural, technical, scientific and economic developments. In the information society they have a crucial role as gateways to the information resources on the global superhighways. Our societies are dependent on democratic access to information, and as citizen we should have access to our cultural heritage. Likewise our ability to run a stable economy is dependent on our access to information. Libraries are the only places that can handle all kinds of information whatever the medium or form of publication may be. Libraries are becoming increasingly interdependent. The overall European policy in this field should be to support their cooperation and development.
The main positions of EBLIDA are:
1. Libraries can play an important role in the information society as providers of electronicinformation and access points to information for citizens all over Europe. They are vital institutions in the efforts to bridge the gap between the information rich and poor. The widening of this gap is a major threat to society in the near future. Copyright should be handled in a way that recognises the right of the citizen to have access to published material. Copyright problems must be solved at a European level.
2. Libraries are storing and maintaining huge parts of the European cultural heritage, and they promote books and reading. To improve this role a better framework for cooperation than the one we see today is needed. EBLIDA supports the intentions of article 128 in the Maastricht Treaty, but also supports the efforts to change the article in a more operational way. The most important change affects article 128, section 5. The following change is proposed: “The Council shall act by a qualified majority voting procedure” and (the Council) “acting with the approval of qualified majority of Member States on a proposal from the Commission, shall adopt recommendations”.
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