Thank you Internet Librarian International for your kind feedback and for questions and comments after my talk and during the day. It has been a pleasure learning with you.
Like I promised – My slides:
This is a slightly reworked Q and A I did for CILIP Update before the keynote, and it provides some context to the talk.
Q. Firstly a little bit about you – Tell us about your current role and the projects are you currently working on.
I am Assistant Library director at Guldborgsund Public Library in the South eastern part of Denmark. We are currently making a FabLab which will open to the Public early 2017.
In my spare time I work as a Global Librarian. I am currently engaged in The Library Avengers and The PL2020 Library Advocacy Lab that works with raising awareness on a political level about EUs 65000 Public libraries.
I am also studying Master of Public Governance at Copenhagen Business School and doing some Consultant work on crowdfunding and making presentations and keynotes about i.e. global librarianship, gamification and libraries and the Library professional development program 23 mobile things that we made in Guldborgsund and expanded world-wide in cooperation with State Library of New South Wales in Australia.
Q. Your keynote is called ‘Smart libraries create smart communities – towards a visionary strategy for libraries’ – can you give us an insight into what you’ll be discussing?
Last year the Swedish professor Hans Rosling said “You can’t trust the news outlets if you want to understand the world”.
This year the debate after the Brexit vote circulated around the same issue. Was the voters well-informed? The same debate is going on in the US right now with their upcoming election.
We need to invent a place where the public can seek and find fact checked and verified information – wait! We already have such a place. Libraries!
In a world where we compete about knowledge jobs libraries are more important than ever. They are the one place where everyone’s learning is actively supported. This is important to acknowledge when designing library strategy.
I will be discussing that and a whole lot more. You will have to wait until October at ILI to hear the rest 😉
Q. What are your thoughts on how libraries can raise their profile with their communities and with decision makers?
In Denmark the “Open Libraries” where you can lock yourself into the Library for self-service between 7 AM and 10 PM has raised the profile in the community a lot.
Also presenting knowledge in new ways like Guldborgsund Public Librarys gamified treasure Hunt app “Hidden treasures” does. Via the app you learn about the City’s history as you walk the City and solve puzzles and quizzes. The app is a fun way to engage with the community. Basically getting the Library out of the building and going where people are like we do with the yearly fruit harvest festival is a way to meet people and show them what the Library can do and why the Library matters in their lives.
This is also a good way to engage decision makers but I think working with Library strategy is even more important. If you can tell stories about how the Library changes lives and show politicians and decisionmakers that the Library raises the knowledge level in the community and thereby makes the community smarter. Then you have a good opportunity to continue the conversation with the decisionmakers and get the Library on their agenda.
Q. Times are challenging for many libraries at the moment – how can we stay inspired to focus on long-term strategy?
Every time someone walks into the library or visit us online they need to be inspired or learn something new.
Noble prize winner Jose Saramago (my favorite writer) educated himself at libraries. For some years Cory Doctorow did the same thing.
Libraries change lives. That is very inspiring.
It can be hard to focus on the long-term when budget cuts are so bad as they are in the UK right now. I think it Helps to know that libraries are very well visited and used and that we support learning for people every day. There is more information in the world than ever before. Libraries can navigate this information and support the learning the community needs and inspire people to find good stories and new knowledge. That is a good foundation for a Library strategy.
That is the big picture. I have a “Keep calm and see the big picture” poster on my wall in my office by the way. That is a good reminder about all the above mentioned.
Q. Anything else you’d like to add?
Libraries need to work even closer with schools, museums and other parts of the community.
A lot of museums have experts with a lot of knowledge but not many visitors.
Libraries have a lot of visitors. We can work together to present expert knowledge in new ways at libraries – also knowledge about our communities. There is great potential in that kind of cooperation.
Published by janholmquist
Jan has broad experience as a library director for public libraries in Denmark and New Zealand. He is the man behind the digital learning project 23 Mobile Things and other international projects like Buy India a Library. Jan is a member of the Library Advocacy Lab advising on library advocacy on a European level. Currently, Jan founded Holmquist Consult and is working as an international library, learning and leadership advisor wanting to use his experience to benefit libraries and other cultural- and learning institutions on a global level.
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