This year's Conference motto #CreatingFreeSpaces represents the link between the digital and analogue dimensions. Our experiences during the pandemic have made it clear how important such a connection is.

Deciding exactly how to fill the free and open spaces in libraries is a process subject to constant review.

So far we have achieved considerable success in striking a balance between digital services, the analogue storage of knowledge and the provision of physical meeting places. The young American artist Jenny Odell, herself a teacher of digital art, defines libraries and parks as genuinely public places and thus the foundation for “what we will”.* Jenny Odell, How to do nothing, Melville House Publishing, 2019

Here lies the heart of the matter: We make space available for self-determined, ideas-centred growth, transforming ourselves into places of lived democracy.

The precise definition of “what we will” is constantly changing. This is what free spaces are for. The idea of a free and equal society remains. And this is what libraries stand for.

So #CreatingFreeSpaces is also an appeal to the innovative strength of our sector. I look forward to gaining many interesting new insights, and to a lively exchange of views with you all.

With best wishes

Dr. Sabine Homilius