On 10 and 11 May 2018, an international seminar Book Exhibitions and Their Audiences was held at the National Library of Latvia. It brought together representatives of national libraries and book museums, as well as book illustrators, book-exhibition designers and rare-book researchers from 13 countries.
We came together to get to know each other and to look more closely at a narrow and specific exhibition sector, that is – books exhibitions, or exhibitions mainly dedicated to printed materials, mostly books of all kinds. What are our common challenges and achievements? What are the best examples setting the bar for quality? Are we keeping pace with the latest trends in exhibition design and the evolution in museum-related thinking? Is our stated commitment to the mission of being "known and accessible to all" truly reflected in our daily work? Do we know our audiences and how much do we know about them? What steps have we taken to get closer to our audience and how close have we got?
During the seminar, as eight case studies sought answers to these questions, we asked, responded, consoled and inspired each other. And finally, we went even further: we agreed that such seminars should be held on a regular basis and set up a working party to organise future events: Jason McElligott (Marsh's Library), Armand De Filippo (University of Leicester, Museum Studies programme), Vanessa Braekeveld (Royal Library of Belgium) and Inga Surgunte (National Library of Latvia). The working party is already planning the 2019 meeting at Marsh's Library in Dublin, and the 2020 meeting at the Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels.
National Library of Latvia