(Re) thinking university libraries in the digital era, open knowledge and the 2030 Agenda

Subject:  Multidisciplinary
A woman sitting on the stairs with a laptop
The visit by the director of the Technological Institute of Monterrey (TEXC) library and the Spanish Conference on Documentation open the debate on present and future opportunities and challenges for libraries.

From 13 to 17 May, the UOC Library team was able to exchange their impressions on current university library trends thanks to a visit by Yolanda Maya, director of the Technological Institute of Monterrey campus library and attending the XVI Spanish Conference on Documentation (Jornadas Españolas de Información y Documentación, JEID), organized by the Spanish Federation of Societies of Archivist, Librarians, Documentalist and Museology (FESABID).

Visit by the director of the Technological Institute of Monterrey

After his trip to the Technological Institute of Monterrey’s library last October, Ciro Llueca, director of the UOC Library, went from being the guest to being the host during Yolanda Maya’s visit.

The director of the Mexican centre visited the UOC premises and met with the directors of the Library to learn about their activities in the field of research, the promotion of open science, maintaining digital collections and services aimed at the student.

From the ivory tower to open knowledge

The visit schedule also included a gathering between the directors of both libraries to discuss issues related to open knowledge, the need for a more inclusive and diverse research agenda and the contribution of universities to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.

“A big laboratory” for the student

During the JEID (16 and 17 May), Maya presented the new premises for the Technological Institute of Monterrey’s library while answering Llueca’s questions. The session homed in on some of the focal points of libraries of the future: the transformation of spaces and professional skills to adapt to the user.

The speaker dedicated the first part of her presentation to "wowing" the audience with the striking images of the library, which she definitely achieved with the photograph of its terrace. Founded in 1993, the centre was restructured two years ago, opting for open and flexible spaces to meet the demands of the new educational model of the Technological Institute of Monterrey.

Space of the Library of the Technological one of Monterrey

 One of the hallmarks of this library is its 3,300 m2 of learning commons, community areas equipped with computers and mobile furniture where it is possible to study, talk and even sleep during the exam period.

Another space of the Library of the Technological one of Monterrey

As Maya explained, the restructuring was a great success: visits increased exponentially, and the results of the user surveys have been positive. The project was even awarded Best Interior Design at the 2018 Library Interior Design Awards.

However, the process of physical transformation also brought about a change for the university community to break the library paradigm. In fact, Maya laughed and confessed that at first it was strange to think of a library without signs or indications, where the student had to learn to adapt.

When Llueca asked if the centre could be considered a library, the answer was concise: "It's a different library. It all depends on what is meant by library.

JEID 2019

The library team highlight the following talks from the Spanish Conference on Documentation:

Librarians as activists for change

Mireia Pérez, she is responsible for managing the Library's electronic resources; Guillem Cebrian; an intern who assists in the Library for Research.

The event was inaugurated by Gloria Pérez-Salmerón, president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), who gave a speech on the value of information professionals in the global environment.

Among the main ideas, she defended the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda as an opportunity to explain the importance of libraries and request investment and support as partners in global development. There is particular focus on SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities) and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions, including access to information).

To move from “vision to action” a 2019-2024 strategic plan is being drawn up, the result of conversations with 30,000 professionals from around the world.


The Marrakesh Treaty

Sara Zerini and Ander Gámez specialists responsible for deciding what new resources will be included in the catalogue; Maria Puigdueta, librarian responsible for the Loans Service and the help service The Library Replies.

Carmen Bayarri Torrecillas, director of the ONCE Bibliographic Service, presented the history of aids to facilitate access to information and reading for people with visual impairment and reading disabilities.

She devoted the final part of her presentation to the Marrakesh Treaty, which the European Union ratified in October and which came into force in January of this year. The document prioritizes the human right of access to information for people with visual or reading difficulties at the expense of copyright and obliges signatory countries to apply this exception (still being implemented).




175 years of historical heritage in the fashion sector

Joaquim Espína research support librarian at the UOC Library.

Carme Vidal and Marta Ridao, leading names from the consultancy Nubilum, presented their archival project on the Santa Eulalia fashion store. To celebrate its 175th anniversary and publicize its history and heritage, the company digitized its archive with the help of Nubilum. The online collection includes photographs of dresses, advertising designs and press appearances.

And after university… what then?

Mireia Castillón, responsible in the application of the gender perspective in UOC learning resources; Carina Mirassó, an intern who assists in the Library Development and volunteer during the conference. 

During JEID, a colloquium was also held with the participation of professionals from companies, the public sector and universities. A useful meeting for the students on the Bachelor’s Degree in Information Science programme to present their doubts and perspectives in relation to the training received and the future that awaits them. Unfortunately, there was only enough time for the professionals to give fairly short answers.