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The Congress of Baltic Librarians, organized by the librarians of Baltic states, is the most lasting and regular form of co-operation that takes place every five years. The initiative came from the Latvian colleagues and the first congress was held in 1930 in Riga, then in 1935 in Estonia and in 1938 in Lithuania.  

Subsequently, a 56-year forced break occurred because joint activities of professional organizations were prohibited during the Soviet period. 30 years ago, after the restoration of independence, librarians associations were restored in Estonia as well as in Latvia and in Lithuania, and the tradition of congresses was re-established.  

Historically, the congress has grown to be a major form of cross-border cooperation between the associations of Baltic librarians. It plays an important role in the regional exchange of information.  

In 1991, the 4th Congress was held again in Riga. Since then it takes place every five years in a different Baltic country. In 2020, it is again Estonia’s turn to host the congress.   

Estonian Librarians Association (ELA) is organising the 11th Congress of Baltic Librarians “The Impact of Libraries in the Society” on 22 October 2020. This year’s congress focuses mainly on the following topics: impact of the library in the society, cooperation and collaboration, national development programs, trends in using the libraries,  the impact of the administrative reform on libraries, new services etc. 

The congress of 2020 is web-based; colleagues from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden and Germany are sharing their knowledge via video presentations. Small discussion rounds after the presentations will be live sessions.  

The congress is always been an important place for colleagues to meet in person and gather in working groups. Hopefully, it is possible to meet face-to-face again in five years. 

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