Innovation right from the start: Library school model in the Netherlands


Rob Bruijnzeels, Dutch Public Library Association/VOB

In the Netherlands, a lot of library people are baby boomers, who will leave in the next four years. Back in the seventies, you went to the library school, went to work at a library and stayed there for the rest of your live. The education was traditional for catalog building. But the world around the library, and the library itself changed.
The design of the library is no longer a matter of improvement or modernization, but of innovation and change.
Libraries 2040, what will public libraries be like in 2040? This project, still running, includes architects, students, philosophers, and game designers.
He shows a picture of the public library of Seattle by Rem Koolhaas. A lot of people behind screens, the book separate and only one man reading. Why are the books still there? Libraries are still build like stacks with a roof, a built catalog.
The library of the 100 talents, a library concept where kids really can work with a collection. Where they can discover their own ideas and opinions and share them.
Lesson learned so far: it is a bridge between the tradition and innovation of public libraries. But we need new libraries. Libraries are a place where people are invited to explore.

The Library School project asked twelve people, not only young people, to think and work for a year on what a library school should be. In the end it is a program for people already working public libraries. Not for managers, because there are already programs for that. The librarian of the future is positioned between culture, technology and society.

Marlies Bitter-Rijpkema, Open University, CELSTEC

Learning is something you do your whole life long. People learn in different way now,people are connected, using laptops, telephones, not only books and lectures. This means that context in which we operate as librarians is fundamentally changing. Library school learning is not only book studying, but also networked collaborative learning. We participate therefore we are. Web2.0 isn’t a thing, but a state of mind. Librarians want to build bridges: between concepts and daily practise, between islands of knowledge, between people and their networks and how do we draw the decision makers into the libraries. The Library School wants to bridge this, to link today’s libraries to the libraries of the future.
The Library School learning consists of workshops, lectures, a (virtual) network and workplaces. This community has a communal focus and a goal, and is directly related to your work and learning. It is also integrated with the learner’s personal network. The Library School becomes par of your life, and ideally you stay part of it for the rest of your life.
The Library School is formal, informal and non-formal learning all at once. Formal learning is a course, informal learning is going to a conference and sharing information, non-formal learning are activities that help you learn.
There are different learning styles, so to help you in your learning, you need to know your own learning style, but also be able to utilize a different learning style.
The Library School wants to support librarians like scaffolding. It will not be a handbook on how to innovate, but it will set a mindset to become aware of change and innovation and be able to work with.
The Library School has an introduction year, a specialization year and a mastery year. Every year looks at library and society, library and culture, organizing for change and professional learning in the digital era. Everything you do comes back to these themes. The year is split up in periods of eight weeks. Every eight weeks you meet up and exchange ideas. Every year also has a curator, who will look at things from a specific perspective.
We collectively work on building new librarianship, but the guidance is also focussed on the background of the student.
After every year you get a certificate.

Quick questions:
Q1: Can people from other countries join?
A1: Yes, if they travel.
Q2: There should be an international, and internationally accredited course, incorporating e-learning so those who cannot travel can also take it.
A2: Off course we want this, but accreditation is one thing, but making it relevant for everybody is another problem.

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