The presentations and papers from IFLA’s Public Libraries conference 2014 held in Birmingham (August 2014) are now freely available online.
I didn’t attend all of the conference, so was pleased I could catch up with the presentations, as the tweeting over the two days it was held in August made it sound like some interesting and practical ideas were being covered.
Out of all the papers available, I thought the following were particularly interesting. I’ve copied the abstracts from the papers themselves.
Välkky is a Mobile Library in Espoo, Finland, a city in the municipality area of Helsinki. The bus includes, among books and other lending material, interactive media technology such as ipads, a video projector and a screen and a big touch screen table. The space can easily be changed according to use. The mobile library Välkky, which started operating in the spring of 2013, is part of the so called Outreach services of Espoo library. These services are two mobile libraries, the other bus Helmi being a more traditional mobile library operating mostly in the afternoons and evenings, the home library , one small hospital library and the Espoo library logistics section. In the mornings the Mobile library Välkky visits schools and daycare centers as a modern children´s library. In the afternoons and evenings Välkky can be changed to a bus for different groups of children and adults, functioning as a writer´s bus, a movie theater, a multimedia workshop, a meeting place for a book club or a handicraft group.
The future of public libraries seems foreseeable through leading practices in Guangdong Province, of which the economy development is first ranked and Internet popularity third ranked nationwide. In new buildings, computers are placed in traditional reading rooms together with print collections. On websites, virtual visitors are able to enjoy lectures or exhibitions happening in physical spaces. In Microblog or WeChat communities, netizens not visiting library websites can also be informed. We find that barriers between physical and virtual spaces have been broken down; most of the resources and activities could be accessed by users inside or outside the library.
The Topic Room of the Central and Regional Library of Berlin (ZLB) presents interdisciplinary material from the library’s collection concerned with a certain topical or cultural issue on a monthly basis. In order to cover current topics online information is integrated into the presentation of physical media via the ZLB Topic Room Application on iPads and a Twitter wall. The ZLB Topic Room is a project in which the ZLB cooperates with many different partners.
BiblioTech Digital Library is the first all-digital public library in the United States, located in Bexar County, Texas. Since the doors of the first branch opened on September 14th, 2013, BiblioTech has actively worked to bridge literacy and technology gaps in San Antonio and surrounding areas by establishing a community presence at the physical locations as well as an online presence through the digital collections and resources. (Taken from www.http://bexarbibliotech.org/)
Community building is high on the agenda of the public library sector at this moment.
However, there is a lack of innovative examples of community building in the practice of
public libraries. In this article, we focus on two famous Dutch examples of innovative
community building in public libraries. The first example is The Stalwart Readers, a
community of readers, in Dutch called ‘Lezers van Stavast’, guided by librarian Hans van
Duijnhoven. The Stalwart Readers is not a traditional book club, but a community of
readers around a collection of (non-fiction) books selected by the librarian. Every
member is expected to read every week one book (but choice is free: not everyone reads
the same book). Once a month the group comes together and discusses the themes in
the books. The project started in September 2012 and lasted for one year. However,
because of the very positive evaluations by the group members, the community still
comes together. One of the innovative elements of the Stalwart Readers is the fact that
the community also looks outside the boundaries of the library; together, they visit
lectures or theatre plays if there is a relation with the themes in the books. The
community is an example of an innovative way of highlighting the library collection and
providing context around it.
The second example of an innovative public library community is a community formed
around a project called ‘Wisdom in times of crisis’, guided by librarian Marina Polderman.
Unemployed people came together for a period of seven months in 2013, to talk about the values for the 21st century as proposed by philosopher Alain de Botton in his manifest “10 virtues for the modern age” (2013). These values were linked to the library collection and people were asked to link stories to these values and discuss them together. This community shows the library in the 21st century as a place for good conservation.
The main thing that came through with many of these papers was the sense of community linked to these library services, and how those communities cut across both the physical and virtual worlds. In some cases those communities were already in existence, but in others the libraries helped build a community through the services, resources and activities it provided.