Local endogenous development
and urban regeneration of small alpine towns


WP6 Niederösterreich

Network multimedia public libraries

Case-project abstract
  • The main target of the project "network multimedia library" is to implement a creative and innovative co-operative process within some selected multi-media equipped public libraries in small-medium alpine towns in Lower Austria.
  • New forms of personnel and virtual user dialogs together with a periodic exchange of experiences within the network will create the base for an enduring development process, that aims at provision of user oriented multimedia stock and services.
  • The start up phase will be enforced by a structured exchange of experience and best practice transfer. Then the existing potentials of the co-operation should be focused and special fields for efficient co-operation should be developed in detail. To enable a long lasting working process together, a virtual platform and periodically organised personal meetings are needed as a fundamental organisational structure.
Reasons for the choice of this case-project

Equal chances for access to knowledge are key in our times. Libraries within a network can be powerful access points, because they can provide better service. Furthermore, libraries can be focal points for cultural activities in small towns.

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WP6: services/quality of life

Adopted methodology

Together with representatives of public libraries, a networking - concept will be developed during workshops. Best practice examples will be collected and used as professional input. It is important to choose this bottom up approach, so people identify fully with their project.

Expected benefits (local and regional levels)

The importance of public libraries and their services should be increased. The libraries will attract more people and offer new chances of access to knowledge. For example it will be more easy for students to stay in the small towns where they grew up and still have the opportunity to get all the information they need. It is important for the development of regions to keep young people with good education from moving to big cities.

Are follow-up activities foreseen ?

During and after AlpCity we still have our Urban Regeneration Program in Lower Austria, where projects can be supported during the Intensive Phase of the Program. The virtual platform and network meetings should be kept up. The activities of libraries will be a long term focal point of the Urban Regeneration Program in Lower Austria.

Expected value added (other than financial) from the participation to an INTERREG project
  • The added value should be created in concrete cooperation projects. The form and type of cooperation have to be developed during the networking process.
  • Furthermore, the long-term existence of public libraries is secured through better and more effective services.
  • The cooperation with European partners enhances mutual understanding. Especially direct communication for example over the Internet or on conferences gives the opportunity to get to know people and feel the European spirit. It is very important for each one of us to feel more European to fill the idea of the European Union with life.

Expected transnational exchange benefit gained from the case

The multimedia library network tackles the topics of knowledge, culture, learning and communication. All over Europe, equal chances should be provided. Alpine regions can learn in this respect from other thinly populated regions like Scandinavia.

Output indicators
  • 2 workshops
  • 1 virtual platform on the web
  • 1 network structure for personal meetings
  • 1 web-site
  • 10 publications (press)
  • 1 final report (experiences, best practice)
  • 1 mailing list
  • Sustainable networking structures created
  • Innovative projects with regional and European partners.

Impact indicators
  • Libraries gain more users and provide more and different services.
  • The town gets more culturally active
  • More young, well educated people stay in the town

Name of the town/s concerned
  • Heidenreichstein
  • Eggenburg
  • Gänserndorf
  • Wolkersdorf
  • Gloggnitz
  • Fischamend
  • Haag
  • Waidhofen/Y.

These towns have been asked to take part. A final decision will be made after the first workshop in May.

Other possible participants:

  • Langenlois
  • Waidhofen/Th.
  • Hainburg

Demographic, social and economic situation of the town/s concerned and specifically identified problems

All these towns have about 3.000 to 10.000 inhabitants and some of them are demographically shrinking. The centres of towns loose both businesses and inhabitants. On the edge of the towns, shopping centres are built - sometimes even on the territory of a neighbouring village, so the town does not have any influence on the development (the council of the neighbouring village can decide about the permit for the construction of the shopping centre).
The towns also loose young, well educated people to the bigger cities like Vienna, Graz or Linz (capitals of the neighbouring federal states Styria and Upper Austria).

Role of the mountain resource within the local development chances of the town/s concerned (positive or negative)

The mountainous regions are generally interesting for recreational activities. Tourism has a long tradition especially in the southern part of Lower Austria. Skiing and mountaineering was partly developed in Lower Austria.
There is no "Mass-Tourism" but many guests from Vienna and also the new members of the European Union Czech Rep., Slovakia and Hungary. Stays are short from only one day to mostly long weekends.
Small towns provide important infrastructure especially in the cultural field.
The economical development in the first and second sector has slowed down over the last few decades.

Expected contribution of the foreseen actions towards the development of the town/s concerned
  • One idea will be to establish local libraries as an powerful public access point to the Internet also for the guests of the region.
  • The library should act as a cultural and social focal point in the town
  • Quality of life should be increased and more young educated people should be held in town.

Who is the responsible for the concrete development of the project?

The development of the project will be carried out by the "Verband für Dorf- und Stadterneuerung NÖ", (Association of "village and city regeneration") a non-profit organisation of towns and villages, that is working in the Urban Regeneration Program for almost ten years and in the Village Regeneration Program for over 15 years.

How are activities sub-contracted? (if it is the case)

The organisation and the development of the network with the heads of the participating libraries will be carried out by one subcontractor (Association of "village and city regeneration").
They are highly experienced in implementing programs and developing networks on a local and regional basis.

Beside the partner, which administrative authorities are involved in the project? How?

The main partners will be the municipalities that take part in the network. In most cases, they are the owners of the libraries and will make also a small financial contribution to the project. The towns also will be the partners, who hopefully will support further projects, which are developed in the network. Besides that, the Austrian Association of Libraries will be involved in the role of an expert later.

The communication to other departments will be established in the course of the project. Information about objectives and planned activities will be the first step, closer contact will be useful when local projects are carried out.

Who are the main local/regional project actors?

The main local actors will be the people working in the libraries. They will be the ones who communicate and try out the strategies and projects that will be developed in the network.

Are there important actors who are not integrated or are opposing the project?

The case is isolated or integrated within a broader frame/ programme of activities? How? How are these activities being financed?

The case is integrated in the Urban Regeneration Program in Lower Austria. Most of the participating towns are either in the intensive phase of the Program or have been in this phase before. They all work on increasing the quality of life for their citizens.

The program is financed by the Province of Lower Austria

Timetable for the project development (July 2004 - May 2006)

Start-up phase and preparation of the project
January to March 2004

Selection of local authorities during the project preparation phase
Participating local authorities and their public libraries are selected according to their declared will to contribute, to their service level and equipment state.

  • Preparation of data concerning the fields of networks
    The network database will be provided by the project lead.
  • Preparation of an Internet-Platform of the network
    Steps are undertaken to prepare an Internet site for the network both for dissemination activities and the use of the project partners.

Research of best practice examples
February 2004 through the project

Best practice European examples and their network methods, structure of organisation, services and experiences will be researched and prepared for presentation to participants.

Conception and program for realisation
May 2004 to May 2005

Based on results of an inception workshop with beneficiaries, experiences, stated needs and frame work criteria the conception and program for realisation will be worked out.

Set up of infrastructure for networking and know how transfer
May 2004 through the project

The frame work to stimulate the creative potential of the network partners (library staff, consultants, authorities...) for finding solutions will be set up. Two workshops and one symposium are planned as personnel meeting. A virtual platform will enhance the continuous process by providing an information- and communication cannel.

Dissemination activities - public relations
May 2004 through the project

Set up of a co-operation in public relation to promote the institutions multimedia stock, services and its role in society.
A communication plan will be set up and carried out in accordance with the lead partner.

Implement structure of organisation
May 2005 to October 2006

A virtual network and a network structure for personal meetings between local authorities and their public libraries, associations and appropriate authorities will be found and implemented.

Carry out of projects using efficient financial and personnel resources
May 2005 through the project

Public institutions like libraries have to face the challenge of efficiency and user demands. Concrete measures within the "network multimedia libraries" will preferably touch the realms: development of an unique content focus for each library, co-operative procurement and rational sequence of operations. To meet modern user expectations, structures to implement new forms of services (interlending, information research service) will be worked out. Facing the importance of libraries in adult education, user oriented education offers shall be created within the multimedia library network. Furthermore the cultural heritage shall be presented and contemporary cultural life structures shall be promoted that enable the working together in organising cultural events for library users.

Total cost for the case (Euros)

€ 38.246,--

Are experts (non SSC) involved into the case and research activities undertaken for the case? What is their role?

The experts will moderate and develop the network. During the workshops, they will provide some theoretical input. Lower Austria has agreed in financing a stageaire to find out good practice examples in order to learn from experiences already made in Lower Austria and abroad. We would also appreciate input of the SSC in the field of networks for libraries or other public services.