Libraries as thriving democratic spaces: The Europe Challenge.

The Europe Challenge is an annual program that brings together teams from libraries and their communities from all over Europe to address local challenges. Themes include inequality, misinformation, and the climate crisis.

Through an intensive learning and exchange program, 39 teams from all corners of Europe receive support in developing their initiatives. Changency supported both the Challenge teams and the client, the European Cultural Foundation, in telling their story.

Change the narrative | Change the process | Change the product

European Cultural Foundation

Democratic Society, OBA, Fondazione Cariplo, SLiC, Public Libraries

2022 –


The Challenge

How can European libraries serve as safe, democratic spaces in times of polarization, misinformation, climate disruption, and other significant challenges?

Insight & Strategy

A library is much more than a place to find and share information. As a publicly accessible space, it is a safe place to gather…

…with like-minded individuals, exchange ideas, and develop initiatives. European libraries and their communities can play a larger role in devising solutions for local challenges. They need knowledge and funding to implement their initiatives.

Creative Concept

With the theme “sense of belonging,” Changency supports The Europe Challenge in two ways. First, by assisting the Challenge teams…

…in telling, visualizing, and making their initiatives tangible. Second, by supporting the European Cultural Foundation in communicating and sharing the outcomes of the Challenge in an impactful way.

Europe Challenge publication
Poster exhibition (downloadable)

Narrowcasting slideshow (downloadable)
Challenge teams 2022-23
Challenge team Belgium: Hack To Attract
Impression workshops


To support the Challenge teams, two programmes were developed: one focused on prototyping and one on (visual) storytelling….

…Both programs included workshops, coaching sessions, and tools. Various publications were produced to highlight the outcomes of the challenge: a book featuring 39 selected initiatives, a case video, a poster exhibition, and a slideshow for TV screens. All publications are available for download on the website and free to use.


In two consecutive Challenges, 39 teams from 16 European countries were supported. The primary goal was to enable libraries to thrive…

… as democratic spaces, by strengthening the collaboration between libraries and local communities. To assess the impact of the program, both qualitative and quantitative methods were used in various stages of the Challenge. Some highlights:

  • 100 percent of the participants found that the Challenge strengthened the role of their library as a relevant, safe, and public space within their local community.
  • 100 percent of the respondents stated that the program provided them an opportunity for international exchange that they would not normally have.
  • 91 percent of the participants indicated that participating in the Challenge had a significantly positive impact on their local community.


About the Client

The European Cultural Foundation is an independent cultural institution and philanthropic organization…

…active throughout Europe since 1954. Based in Amsterdam, the foundation aims to support and promote cross-border cultural activities in Europe contributing to an open, inclusive, and democratic society.