The Czech Republic has the densest network of public libraries in the world, which is visited by nearly 24 million readers and users a year. It has become a tradition to have a library in the municipality since the establishment of the independent Czechoslovak state in 1918. The newly passed Library Act ordered every village to establish and run a library in order to deepen the education in all the population strata. It is on the occasion of this anniversary, when the libraries want to open a discussion about their future in the digital world.

The information technologies pose new challenges for libraries in the area of information access, copyright and the availability of the information sources for education and free time. Libraries aim to keep being a freely available, trustworthy source and a comfortable space for learning, creativity and innovation in their community.

At fourteen round tables there is going to be a meeting of the Ministry of Culture representatives, regions, communities, libraries and their users. What the thing is, libraries should concentrate on more in the future? What new services should they offer? The answers to these and other questions are going to be sought by the discussion participants in order to accelerate the process of transformation of the public libraries into information, education, cultural and community municipal centres.

Round tables are organised by Association of Library and Information Professionals of the Czech Republic, CR Library Association, under the auspices of the CR Regions Association, Rural Renewal Association, Union of Towns and Municipalities of the Czech Republic, with support of the Ministry of Culture Czech Republic.

The action is supported by a subsidy programme of the Ministry of Culture Czech Republic, Library of the 21st century.

Below you can see a greeting of the IFLA president, Mrs. Gloria Pérez-Salmerón as an introduction to discussion about the future of the public libraries, not only in the Czech Republic.