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.
Thank you participants in Aveiro and online for your feedback and positivity. I was honored to be part of your wonderful conference.
Public libraries are about providing access to information for all citizens. They are also about giving the community members the best possibilities to transform that information into knowledge.
When we look at libraries not only as a place for cultural inspiration or a house full of information -but also as the learning hub in the community, we focus on different ways of connecting with the community and new ways of delivering library services. We also have a new approach to what skillset librarians need to make this happen.
In this talk, I focus on practical examples from my work as a library director in Denmark and New Zealand. Examples of working with learning as a strategy and how that impacted the library services delivered and how libraries reached out to the community.
Libraries worldwide share the common goal to empower people and communities through knowledge, learning and cultural inspiration.
Global problems require global solutions. During the ongoing pandemic, scientists have been working together towards a vaccine on a worldwide level. As with the pandemic, the climate and biodiversity crisis is not a problem that respects national borders. For us to be able to reach the UN’s global goals in 2030, we all need to work together. All people, all communities, all librarians, all companies, all regions, all nations.
In this Ignite talk made for #nextlibrary I make a case for global cooperation between libraries. I also suggest what skills and infrastructure librarians need to work together globally to actively support our communities in meeting the 2030 goals.
In the interactive session “SDGs are global – Libraries deal with them globally”, I hosted a dialogue process calling on the wisdom of the room to further discuss: “How can libraries work together globally to actively support our communities in meeting the 2030 goals?”
UPDATE: On 10th June 2021 The Danish Government published their new action plan for how to live up to the SDGs. Libraries have a huge part to play. This is a significant game changer in Denmark. I am beyond excited about this. I will keep you updated.
Here is in my translation what it says about libraries.
The Government will strengthen the libraries’ work with and dissemination of the World Goals to make the libraries a facilitator for the popular anchoring of the UN World Goals. The initiative involves i.a. events on the World Goals in libraries, a World Goals certification program for libraries and skills development for librarians regarding the dissemination of the World Goals
I was happy to be part of the first Nordic Libraries Annual conference with the Theme “Towards Sustainable Futures”. I did a keynote about sustainability in Danish libraries mainly centred around UNs Sustainable Development Goals.
Here is a recording of the session:
The slides are available here
Feel free to contact me anytime for a conversation about how libraries can help support the SDGs or other related themes about libraries or sustainability
1) I am starting my own business in early 2020. Lately, I have been doing consultancy in Denmark, and Europe centred around Strategic leadership, innovation, collaboration and project management. I will have a desk in the heart of Copenhagen for the next 12 weeks in a shared space with 49 other startups. The scope is to win and fail and learn from both. I will share the journey with you on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and here on the blog using the hashtag #HolmquistStartup
2) For the next 9 months, I will work part-time as a Project Lead for a national library learning project centred around digital learning for library staff and digital leadership for library managers.
I am very excited about both new opportunities and as always. I will keep you posted.
… We have a right to know as Tom Waits sings/croons/says on his wonderful album Mule Variations.
A few sentences about what I have been doing/are up to these days:
Upcoming cross European project: As a consultant, I am working with two well known European organisations on what could be a substantial new game-changing project for libraries and citizenship. I will update you more on this when there is news and when I can reveal more.
Libraries and health: Culture can play an essential part in health and in recovery from illness. Research shows this, and several projects worldwide have been completed or are ongoing. To create a healthy, happy, meaningful life for everyone, we have to recognise the power of artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries in healthcare and beyond. Stories and the narratives people tell about their own lives also have a role to play. The new project will be research-based and evolves around this mindset. Yet another still secret project. Yes, transparency is a core value for me, but I am however to negotiate with core partners, and it would be disrespectful to share info they need to know first.
Strategy and leadership: I recently hade the opportunity to talk share my experience and view on strategic leadership with professionals doing leadership training. I am also working as a consultant on strategy, strategy implementation and mentoring of new leaders.
Dear friends. It has been a while. I want to update you with some short facts.
Back in Denmark: Because of different personal circumstances back home, I had to leave New Zealand and go back to Denmark to be with my family.
Family: I am in the middle of a divorce. A thing like that is never happy for anyone. We communicate very well. We can laugh together and have mutual respect. The kids are doing good. I am grateful for that. Very much!
Making a professional difference: I know I made a difference in New Zealand. The people were more than I could have hoped for, the community was terrific, but time was too limited. I loved it and worked hard for it while I was there. I could not have done it differently, but I am shameful to have promised something I had to reverse.
Looking forward: I am still the global librarian, but I also finished my Master in Public Governance. I am now working as a self-employed library and leadership consultant in Denmark and worldwide having worked for organisations in Brussels, Amsterdam and Copenhagen so far.
Thank you: To amazing friends near and far for personal and professional support, I appreciate it more than you can ever imagine.
It is the time of big decisions. I am happy and proud to announce that starting this September I will be the new library director of Nelson Public Libraries in New Zealand.
I am looking forward to bringing the skills and experience from my current job in Guldborgsund, Denmark to the southern hemisphere and to serve the community of Nelson by making the best possible library in cooperation with the staff – in fact one of the tasks is to make New Zealand’s oldest library the best library in 5 years!
This also means a new chapter for my family and me as we are moving about as long away from our current home in Denmark as possible.
Nelson Public library is one of the oldest in New Zealand, and indeed the library which has provided the longest continuous service to the public in New Zealand. One of the things that attracted me to the job was the strategy to make the oldest library the best library in 5 years.
My viewpoint as a global librarian is that you can not use the same tools everywhere. You have to translate the global inspiration into the local context to make real positive changes in your local community. That being said the fact that my current library in Guldborgsund ranks in the top 3 in all the national library surveys in Denmark is a good starting point when you combine it with the skills of the library staff at Nelson Public Library.
Though nothing is yet decided it is possible there will be built a new main library in Nelson. That is on the agenda as well – and very exciting.
I had two job interviews via Skype and some online tests and was then invited to visit Nelson. The hiring process is the most professional I have ever been part of, and I feel full of energy to begin the work – also because I have met most members of the talented library staff.
The urban area of Nelson is about 70000 people of which my new library serves 54000 people from the main library and two branch libraries.
Why this big move?
Putting the money where my mouth is about global librarianship could be the easy way to explain it. It is important to know that this is not a global job. This is a local job in Nelson working for the community there.
For me, it is a different story though as the culture and community will be different from where I am situated now. I am looking forward to learning a lot myself about the library system in New Zealand and seeing how a library in New Zealand (that is known for a very high standard in public libraries) work with making its community better.
Libraries are more important than ever. This is not the headline you see in news media these days. If there happens to be a library-related headline it often says that libraries are obsolete because of the technological development.
In a world where there is more information than ever before and where modern societies compete to get the attractive knowledge jobs librarians and libraries guide people towards digital literacy thereby empowering them as digital citizens and lifelong learners. Therefore libraries are strategically important for modern knowledge societies.
Aligning to the conference theme Different Perspectives, New Horizons Jan shares how a library strategy with a focus on learning lead to opening a library FabLab and what implications it has for supporting learning about new technology and creating new knowledge communities.
A library FabLab must have the focus on digital literacy, searching and evaluating information and actively supporting the creation of new knowledge just like the library does with more traditional media.
Jan also shares insights on European library advocacy from Public Libraries 2020 and the Library Advocacy Lab on how libraries change lives and he reveals the secret on how Public Libraries 2020 will be a driving force in creating a global knowledge school for forward-thinking librarians and why that is important.
It is always interesting to bring different kinds of perspectives and disciplines together. That is what The INFORUM conference does and I am looking very much forward to giving a keynote at this years conference and to participate and learn from the other professionals attending. INFORUM focuses on electronic information resources and their professional use in science, research, education and business. It is a unique event of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe.
It is designed for librarians from academic and public libraries, managers, researchers, doctors, university teachers, ICT specialists, public administration employees, students, and other people interested in the issue. Since 2003, INFORUM has expanded its territorial focus from the Czech Republic and Slovakia to include other Central and Eastern European countries.
Last year 420 participants were registered at INFORUM, 30 papers and 10 posters were delivered and 21 companies presented their products at the exhibition. Find more information about previous INFORUM conferences on the statistics page.
I am also looking forward to meeting up with Marydee Ojala again and to hear her keynote at the conference. I will keep you updated on my learnings from INFORUM.