Conference of European National Librarians

CENL, the Conference of European National Librarians, is a network comprising 46 national libraries from 45 European countries. CENL members are national library directors from member states of the Council of Europe. Since its foundation, CENL has worked to support European national libraries, particularly by strengthening their role in preserving the cultural heritage of the European continent.

CENL members convene annually at a conference hosted by a European national library to discuss new projects, initiatives and topics of common interest. National libraries are required to strengthen their own positions to be able to facilitate free and unobstructed access to information and documentation. This information must be comprehensive, well-organised, swift and reliable. Consequently, it’s more crucial than ever to develop new collaboration models, share experiences and promote best practices.

Founded in Portugal in 1987, CENL played a significant role in establishing closer connections and partnerships between the East and the West by organising the first East-West Conference with national libraries from Eastern Europe in 1991 in Vienna. This meeting was highly successful, yielding tangible results that led to the establishment of an ongoing dialogue. Since 1999, CENL has been registered in the Netherlands as a foundation operating under Dutch legislation.

The National Library of Serbia first participated in one of these conferences in 2002 in Budapest as an observer. When Serbia became a member of the Council of Europe in September 2003, the National Library became a member of CENL. Since then, the library’s directors or deputy directors have participated in the annual conferences.

The themes discussed at the annual meetings and dealt with within groups and projects have been identified since the first meeting. They have evolved with technological advancements and transformations in library organisation. They include:

  • harmonising and updating national policies in librarianship,
  • applying new information technologies in libraries,
  • standardising data structures and communication interfaces within the European network,
  • preserving and conserving significant European collections.

National library employees can participate in CENL’s work through working groups and networks. Dragana Milunović represented the National Library of Serbia for several years in the Working Group on Intellectual Property, and one meeting of this group was held at the National Library of Serbia in 2016.

CENL offers various scholarships and funds to its members annually to support new activities. Three types of scholarships are available:

  • Skills and Knowledge Exchange Bursary: This support is intended for activities that contribute to learning and collaboration between national libraries;
  • The Erland Kolding Nielsen Grant: Named after the longstanding director of the Royal Library of Denmark, who had a great role in developing European libraries. This scholarship is aimed at projects that strengthen international cooperation and ties among national libraries.
  • The Hidden Stories Fund: This fund supports projects promoting inclusivity in libraries.

The National Library of Serbia received the Erland Kolding Nielsen Grant for organising the Conference of National Libraries of Southeastern Europe in 2018. Later, it was also awarded a grant within the Hidden Stories Fund for the project Women’s Practices in the Time of the Pandemic in 2021 and the Skills and Knowledge Exchange Bursary, which should be implemented by the end of 2023.

Annual reports of all European national libraries are published on the CENL website. The reports of our library are available from 2004 to 2008 and again from 2012 to 2015.

Радно време

понедељак – петак од 8.00 – 20.00
(поручивање публикација 8.00 – 19.00)

субота од 8.00 – 15.00
(поручивање публикација 8.00 – 14.00)

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