The European Library:  Open to National and Research Libraries Across Europe


We encourage national and research libraries in Europe to join us as partners.

Membership of The European Library is open to national and research libraries across Europe. The current membership consists of all of Europe's national libraries - 48 National Libraries from 46 countries - and a growing number of research libraries. We work with both individual libraries and consortia. 


Membership of The European Library offers an impressive range of benefits. They include:

  • Considerable efficiency gains and economies of scale for libraries in data aggregation and distribution to multiple channels, including  Europeana for digitised cultural heritage
  • Being part of a large-scale linked open dataset that has real impact on scholarship and learning
  • Involvement in funded research and development projects
  • Representation in a powerful cloud-based research infrastructure for Europe
  • Access to a best practice network of Europe's leading libraries. The European Library is supported by the Conference of European National Librarians, CENL.



Research Libraries UK , representing 34 leading research libraries in the UK, was the first consortial member to join The European Library.

"RLUK, on behalf of our members, took the decision to join The European Library (TEL) to fulfil a number of key strategic activities. We see the relationship with TEL providing an opportunity to further promote the discoverability of our unique collections and enhance European (and international) scholarship. We have partnered with TEL to release our collective database of 20 million records as linked open data. TEL brings unique experience and expertise in handling such large datasets and it is hard to see how these records could have been released without their knowledge and skills. Finally, in a period where international collaborative research requires international collaborative solutions from the library community, we value the ability of TEL to provide a forum in which our members may interact more productively with equivalent institutions across Europe".
David C Prosser PhD, Executive Director, RLUK


Interested in membership?  Contact us today via email:  or complete the form at the bottom of this page.


What is The European Library?

Is My Library Eligible to Join?

Which Libraries/Consortia Currently Participate?

How Will My Library Benefit from Membership of The European Library?

What is the Annual Membership Fee for my Library?

How Do I Provide Content to The European Library?

Who Should I Contact for Further Information?



The European Library is an independent not-for-profit library services organisation supported by three influential library organisations: CENLCERL, and LIBER.

The European Library's mission if to be the THE open data hub for library date in Europe. With a huge dataset of over 200 million records, we partner with libraries, research and learning communities, and infrastructure providers to develop tools and services that maximize library data use. 

We collect, enrich and innovate with libraries'data and content for the widest possible dissemination. As an aggregator of both digital collections and bibliographic data, The European Library offers a unique set of data from Europe’s libraries.  We  aim to promote the wider use  and exposure of the collections of our member libraries and we have developed a suite of services to access and search the data.


For more information please visit our dedicated ACCESS OUR DATA space.

The European Library is the official library aggregator for   Europeana , the European Commission’s main digital platform for cultural heritage, and are represented on the boards of    Europeana Foundation   .

We also represent the interests and content of libraries in several European projects, notably Europeana Cloud, Europeana Newspapers and ARROW  (focused on copyright clearance). 

Originally founded in 2005 by CENL, we have an effective track record in delivering a wide range of  valuable services to national and research library partners in 46 European countries. 

We operate on the principles of openness and inclusivity .

Is my library eligible to join?

Membership of The European Library is open to all national and research libraries as well as consortia in the Council of Europe countries. See a list of our current members here


Which libraries/CONSORTIA currently participate?

National libraries from 46 European countries, Research Libraries UK (RLUK) representing 34 research libraries in the United Kingdom and Ireland as well as a growing number of leading research libraries including Bavaria State Library, Ghent University Library, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Basque Digital Library, BEIC Digital Library and others.


How will my library benefit from membership of The European Library? 


As the library domain aggregator for Europeana, we have built a highly efficient aggregation infrastructure that saves our partner libraries significant time and money. We provide a convenient and cost-effective “one stop shop” service: from data manipulation and semantic enrichment to cost-effective distribution to multiple channels.  We can process data in any format, including semantic enrichment such as connecting individual names, places and research subjects.

The enriched data is then distributed via numerous channels (i.e. Europeana), research networks, library discovery services and search engines, as well as back to the contributing library itself. It is also accessible via the new The European Library portal and  The European Library API (Application Programming Interface).

The European Library Standards Handbook serves as a guide for libraries providing data to The European Library and other services such as Europeana. The document describes the advantages of outsourcing data-provision tasks to The European Library and provides a detailed description of the process. 


As competition increases in the digital age, libraries need to work more than ever to ensure that their content remains visible online – and The European Library can help with this increasing challenge.

The European Library portal offers the global research community with quick and easy access to an impressive aggregation of trusted content from our library members. Over 200 million records are currently available, together with an expanding range of specialist tools and services.

We also provide digital content to Europeana, and metadata is ‘pushed out’ to research networks, library discovery services and search engines.

Distribution to so many different channels would normally be costly and complex but, through our network, it is possible for even the smallest library to ensure effective promotion of their content on multiple international platforms.


Through participation in The European Library, libraries are positioned at the heart of Europe’s research agenda by encouraging knowledge sharing and interdisciplinary research.

As a joint network of hundreds of libraries, and through our representation on the board of Europeana Foundation, we form a strategic grouping that has real influence on the future shape of the European information landscape.

Our network is also active in building partnerships with leading consortia such as DARIAH and CLARIN to construct a powerful research infrastructure for Europe, capable of competing with the world’s best.


The European Library is at the cutting edge of research and development in digital libraries – from data enrichment and clustering techniques to full-text indexing and Linked Open Data.

Knowledge is shared and developed through active working groups and regular meetings, all of which are open to member libraries and which provide excellent opportunities for professional development and networking.


As a partner in The European Library, your library will be well placed to collaborate on European-funded projects.

We have a very successful track record in winning and leading European-funded projects, which provides our partners with funding for digitisation of their content and the opportunity to build on their technical expertise.

Our most recent project, Europeana Cloud , is to establish a cloud-based infrastructure that will enable easy sharing, enhancement and storage of content and data across the Europeana family of services, interested libraries and other content providers and aggregators. 

WHAT IS the annual membership fee FOR MY LIBRARY?

The membership fee structure is designed to be as equitable and affordable as possible, and it is based on 5 economic indicators and 1 library-specific indicator. Discounts are available for libraries joining via a consortium.

To find out more about the cost of membership for your library, please contact Nienke van Schaverbeke (nienke.vanschaverbeke [AT] Alternatively, please complete the below form  and we will get back to you by email within 10 working days.



Please refer to The European Library Standards Handbook which describes the entire process of providing data to The European Library. It also describes the many advantages of outsourcing data-provision tasks to us.



General queries about membership can be sent to




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