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Towards a Green Paper on the role of libraries in the Information Society

The European Commission (DGXIII/E-4) is currently in the process of preparing a Green Paper on the role of libraries in the Information Society. The Paper is being prepared in response to a proposal from the European Parliament's Committee on "Culture, youth, education and the...
The European Commission (DGXIII/E-4) is currently in the process of preparing a Green Paper on the role of libraries in the Information Society. The Paper is being prepared in response to a proposal from the European Parliament's Committee on "Culture, youth, education and the media", and in answer to questions raised independently by the Council and the Commission as to the role of libraries in supporting citizens' access to information.

The Green Paper's main purpose will be to stimulate discussion towards a coherent approach on how, within the context of the evolving Information Society, libraries can best serve the needs of European citizens by providing mediated access to the growing wealth of digital resources.

The Green Paper will invites responses on options for future coordinated action at the European level aimed at:

- Improving conditions for citizens' access to information resources by addressing the legal, technical, economic and policy issues which can enhance or inhibit access via libraries;
- Assisting libraries in meeting the needs of citizens, for example by recommending suitable infrastructures, alliances and training measures.

It will cover the contribution libraries can make to the key societal challenges recognized in recent EU documents and will identify the barriers or problems - and their implications for libraries - in the transition to the Information Society.

The relevance of pertinent policy initiatives by countries outside the EU will also be considered, for example the US Government's decision to expand their Universal Service Obligations to include Internet access for schools and libraries.

The Green Paper will build on the ideas emerging in the Member States on the role of libraries in the Information Society in order to stimulate more systematic debate of the key issues and concerns and to identify those areas in which European solutions would be desirable.

It is hoped that a preliminary draft for discussion will be completed by the end of April 1997. Consultations with external experts and other Commission services will then begin.

Source: European Commission, DG XIII
DE FR

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