On Tuesday (28.03.2017) we had the pleasure of hosting and listening to Mr. Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library on his first visit to Israel.
In his talk, Living Knowledge: The British Library in a Changing World, Mr. Keating shared his conclusions regarding the place of libraries, and the concept of national libraries in particular, in our society based on innovative information technologies.
The British Library is younger than the National Library of Israel, founded as late as 1973, but it holds within it treasures from all over the world, spanning thousands of years of history. It begs the question, what in fact is the goal of a national library? With all this knowledge under one roof, how can an institution go about making that knowledge accessible to the general public? And how can it shift from being a building in which knowledge is conserved to being a treasure trove with a global information agenda?
Mr. Keating spoke of the British Library's manifesto under the title "Living Knowledge". Several principles are laid out regarding the mission of the library in light of these challenges: Custodianship, research, business, culture, learning and international partnership.
Mr. Keating understands the challenges ahead and is pleased to meet them head on, for we are living in a time in which we have the luxury of thinking in terms of generations, and not just in the here and now. We are living in a time where we can preserve not just knowledge, but also wisdom.
The National Library of Israel's challenges are similar in ideas, but different in both scope and scale. However, with the British Library as inspiration, the obstacles may be great, but within them, they hold greatness.
Photos by Idit Tzuk-Horowitz