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.
I thought this article about the introduction of a children’s mobile library service in Qatar was interesting, especially the emphasis that Qatar’s Culture, Arts & Heritage Minister puts on the value of reading.
“… the ministry was keen on supporting projects that would develop abilities and talents, but singled out reading as a development of great value that the community must instill in children at an early age to help build a generation of enlightened intellectuals.”
“… the significance of the project will be obvious when children grow up and see that their creative work had reached the community.”
“… such projects will allow Qatar to have thousands of writers whose innovations were started when they were young.”
How we can retain control of our interaction with the digital world.
Ethics of technology.
Inequality of digital access.
How technology has changed social interaction.
The changing value of games.
The idea that digital experiences may be more successful when presenting them as a “physical simple imminent experience” rather than a “complex informational one”.
Users seen as livestock – being coralled by those who control technology.
New technology developments.
The suggestion that most of society is not prepared for things that are just around the corner (some already here).
Who controls technology and what would happen if leadership changed in Microsoft, Apple or Google to a more traditional corporate style?
It’s well worth listening to, particularly with its focus upon the social impact of technology. One of the key things I picked up from it, was the idea that there are just as many opportunities for the individual to take control of their own experience in the digital world as there are opportunities for others to lead us down a path they want us to go.
In it, Richard comments on the fact that he predicted the extinction of public libraries some time ago, “because, in an age of e-books and Google who needs them.” and since this prediction he has changed his mind.
“I got it totally wrong. Probably.
Whether or not we will want libraries in the future I cannot say, but I can categorically state we will need them, because libraries aren’t just about the books they contain. Moreover, it is a big mistake, in my view, to confuse the future of books or publishing with the future of public libraries. They are not the same thing.”
His blog post highlights why he believes public libraries will still be relevant in the future.
He emphasises the public library (and public library services) as…
A place that is “more than mere facts, information or ‘content’”
A social hub
An information resource that is accessible to all
An ideas hub where…
existing ideas are valued, stored and made freely available to all
new ideas are created and developed
the right setting is provided to nurture ideas
librarians act as a catalyst in helping develop these ideas. They are “sifters, guides and co-creators of human connection.”
An information resource where personal/human interaction is an important part of the service
An influential method of delivering information – library services are still regarded as trustworthy information sources.
This quote about lack of use by younger generations really appealed to me:
“…admittedly many younger people still see no need to visit a library… But this could be because they still see libraries as spaces full of old books rather than places full of new ideas.”
And in summing up, Richard’s quote makes a clear point.
“There is a considerable amount of discussion at the moment about obesity. The idea that we should watch what we eat or we will end up prematurely dead. But where is the debate about the quality of what and where we read or write? Surely what we put inside our heads – where we create or consume information – is just as important as what we put inside our mouths.”
New York Times article talking about how cheap software might replace lawyers. http://t.co/JxeFEmkq #savelawyers
Meaning Based Computing & Taxonomy based search might co-exist in future.
Cutting-Edge Technology Projects (Alexandre Lemaire, Ministry of Culture – Department of Public Libraries / Jean-François Füeg, Ministry of Culture – Department of public libraries / Christian Ducharme, W3line)
Samarcande – union catalogue of French speaking libraries in Belgium
Political issues slowed down development of Samarcande catalogue.
RT @ostephens: Depressing and almost unbelievable refusal by libraries and/or their political masters to share bibliographic metadata in Belgian #ili2011
RT @bethanar: Catalogue: http://t.co/RMacayzD. Comes frm union cats of provinces, harvested by OAI. Also supports SRU & z39.50 #ili2011
Tools for librarians for Samarcande – Getting bib. descriptions – z39.50; SRU;OAI / MoCCAM for ILL’s / Getting stats
Not a real-time catalogue – need to develop availability functions
Samarcande – FRBR; Web2.0; Users contribute with Web2.0 functions; Sharing/monitoring tools. Want to develop social media presence.
Bring in external data to Samarcande.
W3Line http://t.co/dxhbCh3Y were responsible for technical development of the Samarcande union catalogue.
Library Users in Turbulent Times (Kayo Chang, Bahrain Polytechnic)
Talking about Bahrain demonstrations and effect on Bahrain polytechnic
Effected library service. Facebook and Twitter use was banned because this was seen as part of reason why disturbances started.
Commenting or liking picture taken at demonstration could lead to suspension of student.
Had to make more use of library blog than Twitter and Facebook after social media was banned.
Library Users in Turbulent Times (Feda Kulenovic, Peace Support Operations Training Centre BiH and Reading for Ubuntu (www.citanje.org) )
Potential roles of libraries in post-conflict societies: Bosnia & Herzegovina
Libraries can transform. The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation and information.
Librarians need to be the person people go to for reliable information in times of conflict were misinformation is prevalent.
Created a library wherever he could – embedded librarian. Beyond the walls of the library.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” (Helen Keller)
RT @kulinba: #ili2011 My latest SlideShare upload : Potential Role of Libraries in post-conflict… http://t.co/bAulqRBn
Library Users in Turbulent Times (Maria Cotera, African Prisons Project)
Maria talking about African Prisons project (mainly in Uganda)
Literacy is a big problem in the prisons.
Moderator highlighting similarities and differences between the situations of 3 speakers situations.
Most important role in social change is providing information. Librarians have the power to progress social change. #savelibraries
Innovative Services to Engage Users (Joanna Ptolomey, Joanna Ptolomey Information Services)
Now on stage talking about health information content.
Old model is that health information is pushed out to users/patients, but can’t push information back in.
How do you manage the finding, collection, sharing of health content that is relevant to you?
Librarians will be very important as chaperones/stewards for helping others to curate their own health collections.
Innovative Services to Engage Users (András Kardos, library.me.uk)
Project http://t.co/o1UFoWBh developed in Hungary. Central portal for all libraries – contains all info. for all libraries.
Want to develop it for UK libraries too.
Contains info re. library services; catalogue; news for libraries in Hungary
Innovative Services to Engage Users ( Dave Puplett, London School of Economics)
I’m a lefty librarian and proud of it.
“People first, Content second” is a new social model.
Areas of opportunity – marketing; widening communication; user feedback; 2 way communication
RT @calire: #ili2011 Social design – Services designed around people. #b202
LSE Library use social media to be part of the conversation and engage with users.
4square is a great marketing opportunity – people saying publicly that they’ve used the library to their friends.
Flickr – people are tagging photos; parts of photos
People will interact with social media accounts if they think it’s a real person they’re talking to.
Developing ourselves (Julio dos Anjos, INCITE: Associação Portuguesa para a Gestão da Informação)
23 Things is now being run in Portugal.
Developing ourselves (Jo Alcock, Birmingham City University)
Heeeeeeeeres @joeyanne talking about productivity #ili2011 & #cpd23
Get things done: Record ideas so it’s not clogging up your head space; prioritise & do it; create trusted storage space…
Inbox flowchart for organisation. I wonder if this can be translated into automated actions using http://t.co/TJGca8wN
Some really interesting productivity tools coming from @joeyanne
Huzzah. Ifttt gets a mention by @Joeyanne
Searching without Google (Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services)
Looking at search tools beyond Google, inc. specialist search.
Google is launching its “standout” tag which will allow publishers to highlight a number of their articles to improve their ranking
Login to your Google dashboard and see what info they know about you.
Yeeeeeeeees. @Karenblakeman mentions mild beer. 🙂
Google sometimes thinks it knows what you really want when you search, rather than what you actually want.
What are Yahoo playing at? Seems as if they just can’t be arsed developing anything any more!
Search tools: Duckduckgo; Blekko (also shows who else has linked to site);Wolfram alpha (I still don’t get it!); Zanran (charts)
Silobreaker for news searches.
Specialist searches: chemspider; biznar; techextra; philpapers; mednar; scirus; pubmed; healthmash; offstats; guardian data store
Social media search: topsy; socialmention; blogpulse / Create search engine – blekko / zuula
The New Normal Needs a New You
Ulla de Stricker says expand definitions of what we do in a time-scarce economy.
@Chibbie Talking about how TEDx would be great for inspiration.
Michael Stephens: Libraries have the potential to be anywhere and everywhere.
@chibbie Says if you look for roles to take on don’t look for the word ‘librarian’ in description. Our skills go beyond the name.
Surprisingly even though conference is technology based, there has been a great focus on people interaction.
Thoughts on the conference
I really enjoyed the whole event, including meeting friends/people I know on Twitter and plenty of other library/information based people from so many different countries.
Even though they weren’t always of direct relevance to my current role, most of the presentations I sat-in on were of interest to me. They helped me put my job and library service into the wider context of library and information services in general. It’s useful to attend an event like this to remind yourself where your place might be in the grand scheme of things and how librarians and information specialist throughout the world are working towards common goals.
The key themes that came across during the conference were:
Library and information services and our information skills don’t have to be constrained by the walls of the library or the title “librarian”.
We need to share resources and knowledge with each other – by either collaborating with others to share the load or by pulling together isolated silos of information.
Libraries are key to developing social change and improving society – they open up access to reliable and relevant sources of information to everyone, and we are the chaperones of that information and those who want to access it.
We can help improve ourselves and our services by making sure we use the most appropriate tools available.
We are in an age where people are just as much content creators as information consumers and we need to understand how this impacts on the provision and management of information services
Even though it was a technology based conference, there was just as much emphasis on the human side of things, which appealed to me. Maybe within this area there’s a suggestion here that technology in information and library work will still need a reasonable amount of human input and not just steam along like a Google search engine, without anyone there to say “Hold up! Are you sure this information is correct?”
As I say, I really enjoyed the conference, and hopefully I’ll get the chance to attend again some time in the future.
I really enjoyed and felt inspired by the whole event – about 10 quick presentations at the start highlighting what people in Surrey (inside and outside the council) were getting up to; creative sessions afterwards, trying to get a focus on selling/developing your services; and final sessions attempting to get people to think practically about digital services that could be created to improve the lives of people in Surrey.
It reminded me of the mashed libraries events I’d been involved in – people there who really wanted to make use of the technology/software they had and develop services creatively for the residents of Surrey.
The key things that came out of the whole event were…
If you want something to happen, you need to help make it happen and not sit back and twiddle your thumbs
A lot of the information people want is out there – it may be hidden… it may be in silos, but it’s out there and if you can bring it together in one place and tell people that it is there, it is going to be so useful for them.
People in Surrey have the imagination and skills to develop these services.
It will be interesting to see where we are in a years time with all of this. Hopefully we can see some of these ideas will have been turned into practical and useful services.