All posts by janholmquist

Entrepreneur: 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.

A reading of Time Out of Mind by Bob Dylan

fotoFirst Published January 2013: See disclaimer below:
From the first guitar strums of Love Sick – to the seconds when the voice appears – I get the chills of rereading my favorite album in the world – Time out of mind by Bob Dylan – also it is hard to think of a better title for this months re-read topic – because time should be out of mind when you think about the best of art – music, games, movies or poetry…

The well known story of this album is that Dylan was not satisfied with producer Daniel Lanois sound – I have to disagree on that one, Bob – I absolutely love the sound and the feeling it provides… it is dusty and like the wind turning a bit chill after a warm summer day… and it is a very unique sound too

Sometimes the silence can be like the thunder

Read more:Bob Dylan – Love Sick

Yet again I don’t want every album to sound like this. There are lots of songs and albums where this sound would not fit – but like in a really good book… The tone of the words fit the story perfect. Daniel Lanois produced Dylans 1989 album “Oh mercy” as well – and it is an amazing album too… But in my world Time out of mind has that extra something that makes it even more of an album instead of individual songs..

Last night I danced with a stranger
But she just reminded me you were the one
You left me standing in the doorway crying
In the dark land of the sun

Read more:Bob Dylan – Standing in The Doorway

Can you re-read an album? I think you can. The lyrics are very important and Dylan has been mentioned for the Nobel prize in literature several times by some of the finest literary minds on our planet… – but you shouldn’t limit his candidacy to the words alone because what he does is tell stories set to music in a way that has been done by bards for  hundreds of years but doing it in a way that tells not only stories about modern life and being human – but the story of modern rhythmic music at the same time… Blues, country and lots of folk…

I was born here and I’ll die here against my will
I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Read more:Bob Dylan – Not Dark Yet

The stories and lyrics focus on mortality, love and art in a way anyone can relate to and at the same time have different levels like a fairytale filled with muses who deliver divine inspiration and muses who don’t.

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

Read more:Bob Dylan – Make You Feel My Love

It is feelings set to music – and stories of being a person in the modern life with all it offers us humans of choices, experiences and relations…

Gonna sleep down in the parlor
And relive my dreams
I’ll close my eyes and I wonder
If everything is as hollow as it seems

Read more: Bob Dylan – Trying To Get To Heaven

Time out of mind is Dylan’s 30th studio album released in 1997. It won 3 grammys including album of the year in 1998. The year of its release Dario Fo got the nobel prize in literature for his plays – mainly for combining satire and improvisation in his plays… (Just saying!)

It’s mighty funny, the end of time has just begun
Oh, honey, after all these years you’re still the one
While I’m strolling through the lonely graveyard of my mind
I left my life with you somewhere back there along the line
I thought somehow that I would be spared this fate
But I don’t know how much longer I can wait

Read more:Bob Dylan – Can’tWait

Disclaimer:
This post is written in one piece a Saturday evening with my headphones on and in the company of Time out of mind. It was an exciting new way to listen while writing – It confirmed me in my love for the album and my experience of it being a very important timeless piece of art – I will re-read again – for sure.

This post was first published January 22, 2013 . I wrote this about my favorite album for Read Watch Plays topic about re-reading and re-blogged it at this blog asking: Can you read an album? Iguess the answer is. Yes you can!

Libraries and Skills in Denmark

This infographic gives a fine introduction to Public Libraries in Denmark in a European Union context when it comes to literacy and skills.

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The Infographic is made by Public Libraries 2020 and Danmarks Biblioteksforening.

You might also like the “Libraries Change Lives” infograhic.

New member of the International Advisory Board for San Jose State University, Center for Information Research & Innovation.

img_1384I am humbled and proud to announce that I have joined the International Advisory Board for San Jose State University, Center for Information Research & Innovation. I am looking forward to contributing to the boards work.

The Center for Information Research and Innovation (CIRI) is organized around numerous research areas, including:

  • Digital Records and Curation Includes archives, records management, depositories, digitization, preservation
  • Information Access and Use Includes informatics, information behaviors, organization of information, information services
  • LIS Online Learning Includes online delivery methods, components of successful online delivery, online readiness, LIS education, MLIS skills
  • New Literacies and Learning Includes digital, visual and information literacy, reading, literature in multiple formats
  • Management and Leadership Includes libraries as organizations, as physical and virtual places, marketing, advocacy, leadership
  • Social Dynamics of Information Includes historical and contemporary topics relating to information and society
  • Technological Innovation and Change Includes impact of emerging trends and technologies on library and information services

The work of the Center for Information Research and Innovation (CIRI) is guided by an international advisory board of leading researchers from the academy, government and industry. The board meets regularly to discuss research and professional issues requiring attention, to assess the role and impact of CIRI to date and to recommend priorities for development and resource allocation. For more, see full profiles of the board members.

UPDATE September 2021:
I have proudly accepted to continue as a member of the board in the new term 2021 – 2024.
The work as a board member is gratifying in so many ways. To mention a few, it is an excellent way of learning what forward thinking library students are considering essential in the library field. Also, being able to contribute my knowledge and skills is hugely rewarding. As always, I am looking forward to the work ahead.

Upcoming presentations: The #ILI2016 program is out and I am one of the Keynote speakers.

ILI2016

Smart libraries create smart communities – towards a visionary strategy for libraries. This is the title for my upcoming keynote at Internet Librarian International this October in London, UK.

The aim of #ILI2016 is helping the participants make a difference to their own organization, clients and communities. It is in the conference DNA to make this happen by being a forum for sharing ideas, learning new skills, hearing about new tools and technology, making unexpected connections, discovering practical solutions and exploring new and interesting approaches to librarianship.

I am looking forward to contributing to this with my keynote in which I will share examples of modern world challenges to which libraries are the solution and highlight how this creates the foundation for a clear strategy for libraries in 2016 and beyond.

I am also looking forward to keynotes by Stuart Hamilton and Mia Ridge and to participating in the conference and engaging with all the participants. The program is packed with fine presentations from skilled library and information professionals from all over the world. Check out the full program here. I hope to see you and learn with you at #ILI2016.

Pssst… The program is also available as a PDF

Libraries on the agenda in the EU

On Monday 20th June 2016, a workshop on “The new role of public libraries” will take place during the European Parliament’s Culture (CULT) Committee meeting.  You can follow the workshop online at 3 PM CET via this link.

The workshop will examine different aspects of the role of public libraries in the knowledge society. First, how can they engage with local communities and act as anchors for the high-street? Second, how can libraries contribute to media and information literacy? And third, which models do they use to make e-books available to their patrons?

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Keynote for #CILIPS16: Making communities smarter through connections

20140311-154338.jpgThe theme of this years CILIPS conference is “Making connections”. I am proud to do todays morning keynote.

Libraries are strategically important for modern knowledge societies. In the library people of all ages have a safe space for learning and exchanging ideas. In the knowledge economy where communities, regions and countries compete for knowledge jobs libraries are essential in actively supporting life long learning for all. Libraries facilitae connections between people and their knowledge. Thereby libraries are making their communities smarter.

Here are my slides:

Library Stuff… I respectfully disagree

I read this post by my friend and inspiration Justin Hoenke. I know that Justin doesn’t like to be an inspiration in that way, but he is awesome, and I have learned so much from his projects and the way he is an awesome human being. So Justin, please forgive me for respectfully disagreeing with some parts of your latest blog post and for admiring you.
I know that you will like that we are having a conversation 🙂
Jan and Justin

First, there is a lot of stuff in Justin’s post that I agree with as well. I agree that the library magic is in the meaningful conversations we are facilitating and having with our communities. Having shiny new stuff should never be the focus but by having this new technology we provide access and help people learn about new technology and thereby we are making a valuable democratic difference in our communities. This is amplified if we can have the conversations with our communities about how the technology can have a positive impact on the community.

My favorite 3D printing example so far is a project Copenhagen Libraries did with the theme “space”. School kids were going to 3D print a planet. Some chose colourful planets with lots of craters from a well-known big website for sharing print files. Others chose planets from NASA’s website.
This generated wonderful conversations about space, science and information literacy because just as in a normal search it is valuable to be critical of the sources from where you get your results. The planets from NASAs homepage was more accurate to what we know about the planets. This was a great learning experience for the kids and a great way to have conversations about space.
I am totally stealing that project, because I think it will be valuable to my community, and I am proud to be inspired by Copenhagen Libraries.

I think libraries should be inspired by each other and steal each others projects world-wide. That is what I call global librarianship.
An important point in global librarianship is that you can’t directly steal a project. You have to translate it in a way that fits your own community, and not all cool projects can do just that.
I also agree with Justin that we should be inspired by stuff from outside the library field, and as I am writing this I am listening to Tusk by Fleetwod Mac that Justin recommended. What a great song!

By the way. One of my favourite library programs is still Justin’s Hip Hop workshop program from back in the days, where teens made their own music. We could do something similar at my library but definitely not a complete copy, because the community is very different.

I hope you will forgive me for keep on looking up to other librarians like you, Justin. I have to! You inspire me. Thank you.

Open libraries: Self-service libraries – The Danish way.

16456027771_09e3f04bf5_kAn “open library” is a library with a combination of hours staffed with professional librarians and hours with self-service.
That combination has proved itself successful because the result is more loans and lots of more visits to the library. In Denmark we have a lot of happy library fans using open libraries. Some are people who now use their local library instead of the main library. We know a lot of people commuting to jobs now have a better opportunity to use the library than they did before. We also know open libraries have reached people who did not use the library before. YAY new library members – How wonderful is that?

You have your own key to the library

My former library in Guldborgsund in the southeastern part of Denmark consists of a main library and 5 branch libraries. The main library and all 5 branch libraries are open libraries.
It is easy to use an open library. You simply lock yourself into the library with your library card and a pin code. You can use all the normal services at the library and check out books, music, games etc. at the self-service machines and of course meet with other people, learn, study and have a coffee. The open library is a community space with lots of opportunities.
The “opening” hours are 7 AM – 10 PM. At the smallest library we have 15 staffed hours each week. At the biggest branch library it is 23 hours.

The question people often ask is why do we dare to do this? Is there a lot of people stealing and making other kinds of trouble during self-service hours?
The answer is that there are less problems than we feared. People tend to gain ownership and take very good care of the library so there is very little trouble.
We combine radical trust with RFID technology that can tell us when people “forget to check out an item”. We always know who is in the building, and we use
video surveillance so we can see what has happened in the library – if necessary.

Strategy considerations

There are many things you need to consider when you expand the opening hours of a library and turn it into an open library.
These are some of the questions we have considered in Denmark regarding open libraries:

How can it be aligned with your library’s strategy?
How do you create a safe environment?
How do you encourage people to take care of the library?
How can the librarians be visible in the way they present books and other library materials during self-service hours?
How do you increase usability in order to make the open library attractive?
How can we encourage people to use the library as a local meeting space in the community?

We have used nudging theory in a project to try to be more present during the hours we are not there. Nudging experiments include encouraging people to help presenting books they liked to others and encouraging people to help each other at checkout machines.
We have good experiences with this and it has been a lot of fun working with nudging. (Note to self: Blog about nudging in libraries – would you read that?)

Facts

If you only have self-service hours and not staffed hours the use of the library declines (According to a national survey in Denmark in 2012).
One of the reasons we have so many open libraries in Denmark is because the alternative was to close them for good. The open libraries are a solution to keep them alive as  libraries and community spaces.

In Denmark 86 out of 97 library systems have open libraries resulting in 260 open libraries. Danish libraries have 32.000 open hours a year with 61 % being self-service hours. [Stats from 2016]

Updated stats December 2019:
From 2017 to 2018, there has been a considerable increase, so another 44 libraries now have this service. Thus, in 88% of the country’s libraries, it is possible to access for selected periods outside of the staffed opening hours. In 2018, only four municipalities did not have one or more libraries with the option of access outside of staffed opening hours.
In total there are 97 main libraries in Denmark and 315 branch libraries. Furthermore, 18 mobile libraries (bookbuses) and 92 service spots.
Due to the significant increase in the number of open libraries, the total opening hours per week at the public libraries have never been higher. On average, each library is open 90 hours a week, which equals 12 hours every single day. However, only the unstaffed business hours have seen an increase in 2018. The total number of staffed libraries has decreased by 494 hours, which is a decrease of just under 5%. In contrast, from 2017 to 2018, the unstaffed business hours increased by 13%, corresponding to 3,087 hours.
[Based on “Folkebiblioteker i tal” published November 2019 available in Danish at https://slks.dk/fileadmin/user_upload/SLKS/Omraader/Kulturinstitutioner/Biblioteker/Fakta_om_biblioteker/FB_i_tal_2018.Final.pdf%5D

The “Open libraries” framework have  made our libraries even more active learning spaces in the community. It has given us a broader reach and thereby expanded our opportunity to do what libraries do everywhere: Make their communities smarter.

Note: I did a keynote on open libraries at the wonderful EDGE conference in Edinburgh, Scotland on 3rd March 2016. Here are my slides:

Another project joins the 23 Mobile Things family

23It is always a very special thing for me to learn about a new version of 23 Mobile Things. This week 7 Mobile Things (7 Mobiele Dingen) from the Netherlands joined the 23 family.

The new version adds academic libraries to the project and is primarily aimed at familiarizing the library staff at Universitaire Bibliotheken Leiden with using mobile devices to gather and process scholarly information. Selected themes are “Collecting and sharing”, “Privacy” and “Reference managers”. This makes 7 Mobile Things true to the 23 vision: to explore the potential of mobile tools to deliver library services.

We have proudly added the project to our list of 23 Mobile Things versions and I want to thank Universitaire Bibliotheken Leiden and Mieneke van der Salm for doing this wonderful job with the academic version in Dutch.

23 Mobile Things is now available in 14 different versions in 7 different languages with an estimated number of around 20.000 participants world wide.