Metropolitan Libraries with Public Libraries


From institutions of the industrial age to change agents for the networked society: experiences from Denmark
The projects and partnerships that Rolf Hapel of Denmark spoke of today were impressive. Despite a 50% decrease of libraries in Denmark, the library services seem to have increased. Hapel stated that libraries are really a place for public democracy and learning. This belief is highlighted in the services his library provides. 
Some of those services include: I flor, winner of Danish design, 2004 where students could interact with questions posted for them on the floor by their teacher or a library; many storytelling tools such as story hat that is PDA equipped, story chair, lib phone that tells information about a book when the phone is held up to it, and story surfer where kids surf the floor to get more information about a book; other technology innovations like info column and info galleria. They provide space for public debates and writers workshops. I love the idea that they share their e-sources with the local high schools as well. This is just a few of the services at Aarhus Kommune, Aarhus, Denmark.

Unleashing the power of quest: two innovative projects to reap the rewards of reading
Dr. N. Varaprasad, of Singapore, shared information about two interesting reading programs. The first is called Quest, which is a fantasy story in an Asian setting that is geared towards boys. They follow a boy protagonist as he goes on a quest to save the world on a set of 60 cards with manga-like illustrations. The only way they can collect these cards is by borrowing and reading books. Kids can then submit alternative endings as well as compete in a drawing contest,  a contest that drew people of all ages to enter. The second reading program Varaprasad discussed is called Read and Reap. I love the question he poses: what have you read today that would inspire someone else. It is evident how this question would draw students in as well. More information about this program can be found at Http://readandreap.sg. 

Learning library: connected community and innovation
Marian Morgan-Bindon from Gold Coast City Council, Australia, says “Program delivery must be about choice” and she shared many services that do just that. Users have many options, but my favorite program she talked about is called Literati, a feast of authors on the gold coast. This program connects 50 authors with readers at a dinner with a discussions the next day.  Lastly, there is a children’s breakfast with the author to allows them to interact with the authors and ask them questions as well. 

Learning 2 Teach: US Public Libraries
Martin Gomez states that innovation and creativity are vital in public libraries and in the LA public library, this seems that much more important as the decreased funding that many libraries face are fully realized with a loss of 300 staff and a decrease of the work week to five days. He sees this challenge as an opportunity to reposition the LA Public Libraries to be a central institution within the city. The library has an aggressive educational agenda that augments current educational institutions where many of the high schools do not have a school libraries or librarians. He asks the question, “Schools are to learning as libraries are to ________. You fill in the blank.” He also poses the question, “Where does innovation come from?”  

Oases of innovation: uncovering innovation in even the most unlikely places
Ari Katz discusses using Bibliomist in the Ukraine. The collections are often outdated in Ukrainian libraries despite the fact that the Ukraine has so many libraries.  He highlights a few innovations found in Ukrainian libraries at the Mykolaiv City Library; at the youth library at Moloda Gvardiya, Kyiv; and at the Dy. Raion Library, Kyiv. “Where you see some innovation, you see a lot of it,” Katz states, which is an interesting concept. Once the genie is uncorked and let out of his bottle, it seems there is no end to what he can do and what innovation can then be accomplished. Colin Guard explains that bibliomist is Ukrainian for library bridge, bridging the library of past to the library of the future. He states that friendly competition between libraries is a great motivator for them to incorporate new innovations within their libraries. 

The power of place: community engagement and collaboration at Vancouver Public Library
Paul Whitney starts by stating that these conferences show us the differences and diversity within our libraries when in fact, we are probably more similar in our day to day dealings than we are different. Whitney states that, “The library of my professional youth was more passive…We are moving in areas to proactively reach out to diverse and underserved groups within society.” Public libraries must be a refuge and a sanctuary. This belief is reflected with a reading room that is open 365 days a year with extended hours. This alone is impressive, but what about the fact that all libraries in Vancouver have a public art budget? What about the fact that they have an annual indigenous storyteller in residence? Or how about the public art space they provided or the dance troupe that were literally dancing ON the outside of the library? All of these things show how libraries can think about the space of the library to engage their users, that the space is neutral and can be created and recreated to represent everybody. Whitney ends with the fact that he will be retiring so if you are interested in being a librarian in Vancouver, there is a position available.     

Overall, this was an interesting and thoughtful seminar. The challenge now is to figure out what I can do at home that is innovative and creative. What things can I incorporate in my own world from all these many ideas? 

One thought on “Metropolitan Libraries with Public Libraries

  1. I wished I could get breakfast in my library.

    My answer to the question:
    “Schools are to learning as libraries are to learning more.

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