The opening keynote by The Schanachies

My notes from the Schanachies talk. This is not the entire talk, but some things that stood out to me. I apologize if it doesn’t make perfect sense.

The Schanachies tell us about the history, how they came to be. They started out taking trips to interview and ambush people with camera’s and about the future of libraries and what they make of library. They took an USA road trip with a camper van. Quite amazingly they raised $50.000 in one week for this trip.
The first stop of the trip is the New York Public library, where they meet Paul Holdengräber. He said the universe is made of stories, not atoms. When he worked in LA he tried to make the museum needs to become less of a mausoleum to dead masters but more open. For that reason he was asked to come to the NY public library.
Many trips followed, Jamaica, Australia, etc. They will share some of the best practices they have gathered on their trips with us.
Recently they started as a vodcast, This Week in Libraries, where they interview people from all over the world. Tomorrows episode will come from Goteborg with an interview with the president of IFLA.

New skills for librarians. Education is very important. They went to Dominican University in Chicago to talk about the library of the future. They mentioned that when you create a positive experience now, they will remember this in the future.
About teen spaces in a library, they should not be planned next to children’s spaces because their noise is very different. Teens come to go online, hang out, check out books, game. The teen librarian organizes craft things for girls, gaming tournaments, talks to the kids, orders books. She sometimes feel like a social worker or a babysitter, and it can be very hard. She listens and tries to refer them to help. Programming for teens is hard, but they may get more from the program.
Despite eBooks and internet the social aspect of the library will always stay important.

Libraries can level the playing field and offer opportunities to try out new technology, not only computers but also gaming for example. Because not everybody has a computer and not everybody will ever have a computer. And libraries can offer the newest technologies to those people so they can ‘keep up’ with the rest of the world.

Asking questions (sorry, I did not get all the names)
Rob Bruijnzeels tells about the situation in the Netherlands, where there is no real library school. School now just repackage old stuff, not for the new librarian especially not for public libraries. Old librarians were catalogers. New librarians deal with context, and the process is much more important than the end product.
Noreina from Puerto Rico says that our skills will depend on the new technologies that appear every day, and as a librarian you need to know about these to help the users. In Puerto Rico they use a lot of the new web 2.0 technologies such as Facebook, Twitter etc to connect to the users. The users use Facebook and Twitter a lot more than that they come to the library website.
From Denmark thinks that there is not an ideal librarian. Not all librarians should be the same, there should be very different people to make things more interesting.
From Nigeria. Librarians must learn to use new tools, and have access to them. In Nigeria they are building many new libraries and they are getting access to the Internet. The problem is that the bandwidth is low, so video is difficult, but they can blog.
From Norway. The problem is technology is developing so fast, we cannot compete. The answer could be to focus on generic skills to be able to handle change. You have to adapt to and have a passion for life-long-learning.
From Namibia, a reference librarian. We expect users to come to us with questions, but actually we have to teach them how to find information on their own.

Book tip: Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, also available as a 2.5 hour audiobook. A message from the book is to not focus on change, but on the core values that will never change. Dependability, speed, service, etc.

Christchurch, New Zealand, in a learning center attached to the South Library in Christchurch. They are viewing an after school program. It started out as a book club, but they wanted to combine technology with it, by using Shelfari, a sort of Facebook for books. Now they can share their books and opinions with each other. They have to update their shelves weekly, and do book club assignments.

They end their talk by showing a video about the Surface table they have developed for DOK in Delft. This table enables users of the library to view photographs from the city archives interesting to them, by placing their library card (fitted with an RFID tag) on the table. It used the address of the user to show them pictures from their street. They can also search the archive using maps and use a ring as a magnifier.

The talk ends with a video of the trip to Salt Lake City, one of the most beautiful libraries in the world according to the Schanachies. The library of the future will be more interactive to let people do more with the community, and the library will be the center of this community as a neutral playing ground to talk about ideas.

Question and discussions will be asked during lunch and drinks.


4 thoughts on “The opening keynote by The Schanachies

  1. The Shanachies did a great job, indeed! I am really looking forward to watching the filmed parts of their keynote in one of the upcoming twil episodes. 🙂

    Here are some links regarding their presentation… the interview with Paul Holdengräber ( and the two books they mentioned: Rework ( and Crush it! (

  2. Its a dream of mine too, to take a rad trip to the US and visit libraries along the way.
    I like the surface table, thats innovation for libraries.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s