An international congress on mobile libraries was held in the German city of Cuxhaven on 8-9 September. The Book Institute organised and co-financed a trip to the event, which was attended by representatives of Polish cultural institutions and other organisations that operate mobile libraries or plan to launch them.
For its participants, the trip was an opportunity to broaden their knowledge of mobile libraries, as well as to gain new experiences necessary to implement or develop this type of solution in their own facilities. Among the participants on the trip were a dozen representatives of libraries from all over Poland, including representatives of the National Mobile Libraries Forum.
Mobile libraries are a solution that is particularly popular in Germany and Scandinavia, making access to books easier for people who live far away from larger urban centres, and thus from libraries and bookshops.
Mobile libraries can have a real impact on promoting reading, minimise cultural exclusion, and reach their audiences with cultural offerings in a flexible and effective way (in addition to reaching them not only with books, but also with workshops, for example). In this way, bookmobiles - as mobile libraries are also often called - become an opportunity to initiate positive change in rural and other communities with limited access to cultural offerings.
The congress dedicated to mobile libraries in Cuxhaven (a spa town near Hamburg) is the largest event of its kind in Europe. It is organised by the Mobile Library Commission of the German Library Association in cooperation with the city of Cuxhaven. The previous and also first edition of the event took place in 2019 in Hanover - with more than 250 participants from 15 countries. Discussions, lectures, and other events at the congress are bilingual - held both in English and German.
During the event, the emphasis was on professional exchanges between mobile library staff from different countries, but also on making the congress programme varied and attractive, thus demonstrating that the idea of bookmobiles is an idea worth putting into practice. During the congress, it was possible to see bookmobiles from various European countries, among them a bookmobile from Gostyń, Poland. Additionally, speakers in Cuxhaven included Przemysław Pawlak, director of the Gostyń library.