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Webinar: What to tell and how to tell it in a contemporary book exhibition?

Online event

22 October 2020
10:30 - 12:00

This event has passed.


  • 22 October 2020
  • 29 October 2020

11:30 – 13:00

Event type

Online event




The CENL (Conference of European National Libraries) Network group, Books and Audiences, organises two webinars for professionals working with book and literature exhibitions and collections. During the webinars participants will be invited to share their experiences and discuss the challenges and opportunities in engaging book-centred collections and audiences, with a particular focus on creativity, adaptability and sustainability. The webinars will also reflect the fast-changing landscape of the COVID-19 crisis.

Both webinars will be facilitated by Dr Diana Walters, an experienced consultant and project manager in the fields of museology and cultural heritage.

The webinars are organized by the “Books and Audiences” network of the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL) and made possible thanks to funding from CENL.



22/10/20, 11:30AM (CET) – What to tell and how to tell it in a contemporary book exhibition?

The first webinar introduces the new Conference of European National Librarians (CENL) working group “Books and Audiences”. We will address two pertinent questions of contemporary museums and exhibition practice: exhibition themes relevant to modern society and modern methods of exhibition project management.

Four national libraries will be sharing their recent project experiences:

  • The British Library. Harry Potter: A History of Magic – an exhibition of real-word magical artefacts and history presented alongside artefacts from the development of J. K. Rowling’s fictional Harry Potter series
  • Royal Library of the Netherlands. (Under)exposed – an exhibition on themes of slavery, colonialism and resistance in the collection of the Royal Library of the Netherlands
  • National Library of Scotland. The Special Blood in Which all our Lives Were Started – a display of books used to describe menstruation that illuminates the varying attitudes and beliefs across history, in medicine, folklore and religion, ranging from horror and disgust to embracing the power of the body
  • National Library of Latvia. Invisible Libraries – an exhibition dedicated to 14 of the NLL’s historical collections, which comprise the foundation of the Library’s collection and reflect on the multifaceted relations between the Latvian national collection and the heritage of the Baltic German community

Presentations will be followed by a facilitated discussion between contributors and the audience.

  • Participation is free of charge.
  • The number of places available: 100.
  • Participants will be registered on a first come, first served basis by 12:00 PM (CET) of October 20.
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29/10/20, 11:30AM (CET) – The future for book exhibitions and their audiences.

Second webinar in the same series.

Full programme



Who’s invited?

The webinars welcome researchers, collection keepers, curators, designers, educators and other professionals whose daily work is focused on exhibitions and public engagement with documentary heritage, mainly various types of books.


The aim

The aim of the webinars is to learn about and co-create new, innovative ways of exhibition making, and to explore inventive, imaginative ways to connect books in museum and library collections with modern society in all its diversity and polyphony. Particular attention will be paid to the current global pandemic crisis, analysing how our sector has reacted and how we can use the resources and skills at our disposal to help our audiences overcome the crisis and its far-reaching consequences.


About the Books and Audiences Network Group

The CENL (Conference of European National Libraries) Books and Audiences Network group consists of libraries with permanent exhibitions dedicated to book publishing, including the National Library of Latvia, the Royal Library of Belgium (KBR), the National Library of Germany (Museum of Books and Writing), the British Library, the Royal Library of the Netherlands, the National Library of Estonia, Marsh`s Library (Ireland), independent publisher Lodret Vandret (Denmark) and the University of Leicester, as well as a community of practice, including book artists, librarians, archivists and heritage professionals.

The task of the “Books and Audiences” network is to provide a platform to ensure regular exchanges of experiences within the book exhibition sector, to maintain interdisciplinary exchanges, and to explore and develop the capacity of book exhibitions to form long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with a diverse breath and range of audiences.