Here is our fantastic learning-buffet: a fabulous selection of special sessions. And they are all you can learn, and free-of-charge!

Workshop:  Responsive Community-Based Education, Online and Offline / Peer 2 Peer University (USA), Stadtbibliothek Köln (DE)

22.09.2020, 4.30 pm – 6 pm EEST
Since 2015, Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) has worked with libraries and non-profit organizations around the world to run learning circles: free peer-based education for people who want to learn about specific topics together. We designed learning circles as a format to convert free online knowledge into equitable in-person learning experiences, a strategy that has proven effective for keeping learners engaged in the concepts and creating space for community relationships to flourish. But what do we do when we can’t meet together in person?
This 90-minute workshop will be informational and participatory—in the first half, we’ll introduce the learning circle methodology and how our community of facilitators adapted the model to support online community programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll also share our free suite of tools, courses, and community and hear from some partners who have adopted learning circles in Europe, including the Progress Foundation in Romania and Stadtbibliothek Köln in Germany.
In the second half, we’ll open up discussion to the group, focusing on helping attendees identify needs in their community and how community-based learning programs can address them. Among others, we’ll focus on these themes: 
  • Creating flexible programming
  • Serving communities in times of crisis
  • Empowering learners to direct their own education
  • Engaging volunteers in community growth
  • Values of accessible public spaces
Please visit for more information and to access free and openly-licensed learning circle tools and resources in English. With support from EU Erasmus+, learning circle resources and training materials will be available in German, Portuguese, Romanian, Polish and Finnish in 2021. We’ll also have a booth to answer questions and talk through possible collaborations!
Nico Koenig, Peer 2 Peer University, Community Lead

Nico Koenig coordinates the learning circle program and supports the emerging community of educators and librarians involved with P2PU. He has significant experience in developing, coordinating and facilitating non-formal and community-based adult education curricula and projects. @nicokoenig 

Grif Peterson, Peer 2 Peer University, Executive Director

Grif Peterson oversees the learning design and development of learning circles, including the selection and introduction of online courses, the design and development of support materials for facilitators and learners, and the delivery of training and onboarding for facilitators. He has cultivated relationships between P2PU and public libraries around the world, leading to lasting relationships with many systems including Chicago Public Library and Kenya National Library Service. @grifpeterson 

Becky Margraf, Peer 2 Peer University, Production Lead
Becky Margraf uses design and community data to inform P2PU’s work with learning circles. With a background in communication design and informal self-directed learning programs, she oversees the organization’s educational resources, marketing, and social presence in global social channels.  
Nicole James, Subject Department Manager, Cologne Public Library

Nicole James is a subject department manager at the Cologne Public Library. She received her B.A. and Master of Information and Library Science degrees from the University of Michigan and previously served as a librarian and manager at the Indianapolis Public Library. She has led the learning circle (Lernteam) project at the Cologne Public Library since 2017 and is a member of the EU Erasmus + Learning Circles in Libraries (LCIL) project, which is collaborating with Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) to expand the learning circle model in Europe.

Workshop: Creating magical innovation in our libraries, with a little help from our peers

22.09.2020, 6 pm – 7.30 pm EEST

Tired of sitting in front of a screen?  Then join us for an interactive, and a little magical, session about innovation in public libraries.  We will not only talk about innovation, but illustrate how you can use it in a 90 -minute online workshop with a mobile app that will give us real-time input from participants with quizzes, live polls, and word clouds.  We will take a glimpse into EIFL’s (Electronic Information for Libraries) study on innovation, and give you a chance to share your thoughts about how innovation happens in your libraries, and describe obstacles to creativity and how you address them.  Most importantly, through selected real-life examples and inspiring guest contributors from Africa and Europe, we will showcase how peer-to-peer learning across geographical boundaries brings new ideas to public library practices.      

Looking for new insights and a bit of fun?  This session is for you.

EIFL is a not-for-profit organization that works with libraries to enable access to knowledge in developing and transition economy countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America. EIFL- PLIP is a programme that advances community development by enabling public libraries to implement innovative ideas that use technology to improve people’s lives and livelihoods. 

Ramune Petuchovaite – EIFL-PLIP Manager

Since joining EIFL in 2012, Ramune Petuchovaite has worked with over 30 public library projects focused on crucial community development needs, such as farming, health, employment, education and social inclusion, in more than 20 countries. She helped to develop a framework for capacity building of public librarians in Africa, and an international leadership programme for young African public librarians. Among other responsibilities, she oversees implementation of EIFL Public Library Innovation Award that recognizes innovative uses of digital technology in public libraries to improve people’s lives in developing and transition economy countries.

Ugne Lipeikaite – EIFL-PLIP Impact Manager

Ugne Lipeikaite’s expertise in developing impact evaluation methodologies and tools for measuring the outcomes of public library services has grown over a period of 15 years. Ugne has contributed to the design and implementation of major international research projects to measure the impact of public internet access in libraries and the role of libraries in providing connectivity and digital skills in communities. Ugne has developed training courses and trained public and community librarians in several countries in Africa on how to assess the needs of communities and the impact of library services.

Susan Schnuer – EIFL-PLIP Capacity Building Manager

For over 27 years Susan Schnuer has trained librarians, in developing and transition economy countries, to be agents of change in their communities.  Her passion is to identify and coach talented local librarians, helping them to explore their potential as leaders and trainers in their communities.  Her philosophy is to “tread lightly” by co-developing training programs that are tailored to meet the unique needs of librarians in different countries or regions. Success, for Susan, happens when the local librarians become the experts, and her skills are no longer needed, which occurred recently in Kenya and Namibia

Workshop: A Journey Into Active Citizenship, Parallel Experiences From Moldova, Romania and Ukraine

23.09.2020, 4 pm – 5.30 pm EEST

This online workshop session will present an opportunity to hear about the journey of librarians and NGO partners from Moldova, Romania and Ukraine into active citizenship. Consultant Mike Waldron, who has worked with the partners on their journey will highlight some key principles that can be supportive of active citizenship in communities and will explore some myths and highlight some of his own experience of 25 years in building international community based coalitions. Mike will then lead international partners from libraries and NGOs in telling the story of their own journey into active citizenship, exploring such topics as the role of design thinking in community development, developing a message for effective advocacy and planning and delivery social action. The session will then move to a guided conversation with partners and time allowing, questions from the floor.

The workshop is suitable for all of those who wish to explore a trans-national experience of active citizenship and the role of libraries in partnership with NGOs in developing hubs, and subsequent social action.

Mike Waldron

An independent consultant, working in the area of inter-cultural literacy, dialogue, cultural relations and diversity. With a wide range of experience, his work encapsulates over twenty years of engagement with minority communities, disadvantaged and disaffected youth, public policy, training and programme design.

Workshop: Libraries Transform Communities through Dialogue / Ellen M. Knutson & Svetlana A. Gorokhova

23.09.2020, 5.30 pm – 7 pm EEST


Today,  librarians aim to build partnerships that deliver impact and results, realign their civic missions and embed their services in their communities. At a time when many in the profession aspire to achieve more relevance and increase their impact, they are turning to the community development and engagement fields to deepen understanding of their communities and determine how to reposition library and information services to thrive in a new era. This move from simply informing the community to engaging the community can be envisioned as continuum. Building off the public participation continuum developed by International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) the Working Together Project published the Community-Led Libraries Toolkit that includes a continuum of engagement for determining library services. There are five points on the continuum, Inform/Educate, Consult, Discuss/Debate, Engage/Participate, and Partner/Collaborate. On the left hand side the library is making decisions on the needs of the community and communicating its programs out to the community. As a library moves to the right it will start eliciting feedback from the community and then join in conversation. Continuing to the right the community will become more involved in decisions perhaps by serving on advisory boards, until we reach the far right of the continuum where the library is fully working collaboratively with community members to plan services. 

Put another way, in order for a library to deepen its engagement with its community, librarians should change their thinking from providing services for or to the community, to working with the community. 

Examples of places that have used deliberative dialogue in their work with librarians include: The American Library Association (ALA) launched the Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) initiative to enable librarians to deepen their institutions’ involvement with their communities. The initiative builds the capacity of library leaders and next-generation librarians to engage their communities in authentic, innovative, and meaningful ways. The All-Russia Library for Foreign Literature named for M.I. Rudomino has spearheaded the Library as a Community Center program, now in existence for over 20 years. This program trains librarians throughout Russia to frame issues for community discussion as well as trains librarians to moderate deliberative forums. The Charles F. Kettering Foundation has partnered with librarians in Russia and the US to explore ways libraries work with their communities to deal with intractable problems such as homelessness, early childhood education, public spaces, health care, and others. The presenters have a long-standing bi-national partnership, and together and as individuals have worked with these projects and initiatives.

In this workshop, the presenters will introduce and advance librarians’ skills in convening and facilitating community conversations on issues of importance to their communities. Using deliberative dialogue, a neutrally moderated forum for people to come together with the goal of finding a shared direction to take based on what the group holds valuable, this workshop will help people explore the tensions in these issues, identify what they value, work through tough choices, and seek areas of common ground for action.

Ellen M. Knutson

Portland, Oregon based research associate at the Charles F. Kettering Foundation where she is a key member of the research team comprising Russian and US colleagues developing libraries as centers for public dialogue and deliberation. She is an adjunct assistant professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois where she teaches a course on international librarianship to students in the online Master’s program. Knutson also serves on the advisory committee for the American Library Association’s Center for Civic Life and served as a trainer for the Libraries Transforming Communities initiative. Knutson received her MS and PhD in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA in Political Science from Reed College.  She has written articles and book chapters on libraries as a community institution including: “Libraries and Community Engagement: From Informing to Engaging” in National Civic Review, “Libraries and Ecology in Post-Soviet Russia” in Advances in Library Administration and Organization: Culture, Context and History in the Post-Soviet World of Information Institutions, Resources and Practices, and “New Realities: Libraries in Post-Soviet Russia” in Library Trends.

Svetlana A. Gorokhova

Director for International and Educational Activities at the Margarita Rudomino All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature (LFL), where she supervises professional development programs in partnership with educational institutions in the U.S. and Europe and implements overall coordination of international activities of this federal library.  She is Russian Library Association Governing Board Member and coordinator of RLA Section for International Cooperation. Since 1996, Gorokhova has facilitated joint research activities of the LFL and the Kettering Foundation, including a 20-year initiative: Library as a Community Center, uniting 7 regions of Russia—activities that served as the focal point for the first two U.S-Russia Dialogue meetings in March 2017 and May 2018.  Currently, she also coordinates projects featuring the libraries of all sizes and types as agents of international communication.