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.
Libraries are all about the communities they serve. At the heart of Global Librarianship is the combination of global inspiration and local action. I was interviewed about community focused libraries for the Princh blog.
Here is a small sample 🙂
What is the definition of a library nowadays?
The library is the community’s hub for learning and knowledge creation. Libraries simply make communities smarter. In a world with more and more information librarians and libraries are vital, because they have access to and know how to distribute the right information and knowledge to the citizens in the knowledge economy.
I 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.
The 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.
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 🙂
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.
At #nextlibrary2015 I did an Ignite talk about global librarianship. I shared the vision that in a world where countries compete on knowledge to get knowledge jobs – life long learning is valuable. Therefore libraries are more important than ever.
We need to know how people learn, unlearn and relearn – and we need to have our own agenda about how we learn on a global level so we can be one step ahead as information professionals – and be even better to support the learning of our communities.
By being inspired globally we learn different answers to the challenges we all face as libraries – and we can translate our inspiration into acting locally in our communities – to make our communities smarter.
The examples I shared was Buy India a Library where four information professionals (Including yours truly) set up a crowdfunding project to build a library attached to a school in Mysore, India. More than 100 wonderfully generous people from all over the globe supported our effort – so though we (at that time) we enabled people to fund a brand new library.
23 Mobile Things took the inspiration from the original 23 Things project and transformed it into a learning program for information professionals with the scope to explore the potential of mobile tools for delivering library services. It was a local project for the staff at Guldborgsund Public Library and we then turned it into a global learning project in cooperation with State Library of New South Wales (with my wonderful colleagues Mylee Joseph and Kathryn Barwick). Today there are several English language versions in USA, Australia / New Zealand, Singapore and the Philippines and versions in German, French, Russian, Norwegian and Danish.
At Guldborgsund Public Library we have just launched a version of the program with 16 Mobile Things for the public (in cooperation with Kalundborg Public Library) (New blog post coming up soon!)
Thank you for feedback to everyone at Next Library – and thank you to all the people I connected and learned with and who shared your time and knowledge with me.
The Ignite presentation format is very challenging. 5 minutes – 20 slides advancing automatically after 15 seconds.
I talk a lot about Global Librarianship because I think it is a very useful model to make things happen in our communities. My definition is that Global Librarianship is when you are inspired by global projects from both within the library world and from other fields and you translate that inspiration into making a difference in the community your library serves.
One of the many ways to get started with a more global view on the profession is to join the International Librarians Network – The biggest peer mentoring program in our field. I am a big fan of the program – and the new short promo video is wonderful ! So use a minute of your life to see if the program can be of interest to you.
Connect and learn with library professionals from another country.