Category Archives: libraries

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:

Gamification and libraries: Tools and examples

Leaderboard_blog
Gamification can be a tool for libraries to engage and motivate the public to use the library – but like all other tools it is not a quick fix and must be used wisely.

In this article I share some tools and practical examples of how they have been used in libraries.

Storytelling:

Narratives are powerful. This is no secret to the library profession. The narrative element is also very important in games and is a way to engage people in the game.
Several gamification projects in libraries use this element. It is often combined with the game element Quest. A quest is the part of the story where you must solve some mysteries or puzzles to unlock more of the story.

Hidden Treasures:  A quest from Guldborgsund Public Library:

Guldborgsund Public Library invites local citizens and visitors of the city on interactive walks around the town as part of the project Hidden Treasures. Through their smart phone, ‘treasure hunters’ can have a new and different experience of the town and its history.

With the project Hidden Treasures Guldborgsund Public Library wants to meet people in the urban space in a fun and engaging way. The aim is to turn the local cultural and literary history into a vivid experience. Through a series of riddles and problems, the inquisitive-minded will hopefully see the town in a new light.

The interactive walks offer three different themes: a trip back to explorer and author Peter Freuchen’s Nykøbing Falster in the 1920s; an insight into the town when author Knud Romer grew up in the 1970s; and a contemporary tour with focus on local food from Falster.

Gamification elements used:

Narrative:
Each walk follows a narrative of a cultural person’s history and universe giving the participants knowledge about the city’s history and literary history as the walk and the story unfold.

Quest:
Each city walk is build up with a number of challenges you have to meet to move on in the walk and the story.

Progression:
There is a clear structure on the route of the walks and the game gives feedback on how people progress through the story.

Feedback:
The choices the players make trigger feedback from the game. “Great – The answer was correct. Continue towards the water tower to get the last question of your journey”

Leader boards:
Weekly leader boards at the library

Rewards:
People get a badge at the library when they finish the walk. All the walks end at the library.

Read more about Hidden Treasures at Tame The Web or visit the official site (in Danish)

Now for another example of a quest. This time from Singapore:

Quest of the Celestial Dragon:

Quest is a narrative written on the backside of beautifully illustrated collectible cards done in the same style as Japanese manga comics. The project’s vision is to make reading fun for kids through a game experience as opposed to forced reading like homework.

The cards are based on a story, titled Quest of the Celestial Dragon. It is a fantasy story where our protagonist, Ethan has the task to retrieve the eyes of a dragon statue and free the people of that world from evil doers who threaten to plunder them of their magic and culture. Already sounds exciting, right?

When you borrow books you get cards as a reward. When you collect all 60 cards you can read the whole story. The cards can also be used as trading cards since each card has points and power values. The project became a huge success since children encouraged each other to collect cards.

The NLB of Singapore also build upon Quest and arranged a writing competition and a drawing competition. Furthermore they had a dedicated website with extra downloads of drawings from the manga universe of Quest.

Thousands of children participated and millions of cards found the ways to the happy game players and readers making the project a huge success in engaging the children of Singapore to use the library.

Unfortunately the project is now off the web and it is hard to find a good link for further reading.

Gamification elements used:

Achievements:
Achievements reward the participants skills, luck or social interaction with other players. In Quest it rewards participation as you get cards each time you borrow a book, and the cards help you progress in the story.

Rewards:
The beautiful cards.

Progression:
Collect them all – get the whole story.

Narrative:
The story unfolds as a fantastic fantasy tale about good and evil and all other elements of a classic story and within a beautifully illustrated manga universe.

International Breakfast – At Aarhus Public Library DOKK1

“International Breakfast” is a service where foreign families are invited to eat breakfast together in the library, to have an experience with other newcomers and hopefully build a better network in the city.

Gamification was tested on the service as a method to create a greater desire among the participants to share knowledge, talk and have fun – together. There was a need to do this because the experience was that few participate did build new networks at the events.

Gamification elements used:

Competition:
Competition is a powerful gamification element. By participating in the game using skills or knowledge people can measure themselves against other teams or players.
In Aarhus the teams did compete on knowledge and it was made visual how well each team did with the Leader board of big soft LEGO bricks.

Cooperation:
Some challenges can only be solved (or be solved better) when you cooperate with other players. Teams cooperate to progress in the game or to beat other teams as in this case from Aarhus.
Cooperation was a powerful gamification tool to reach the goal of more social interaction between the participants in the international breakfast.

Feedback:
Visual feedback was used when each team got big LEGO bricks for each point to build a tower representing their status in the game.

What is in it for libraries?
Clipboard01

Gamification will appeal to people who like the game environments. Of course this is a very diverse group but since libraries often present themselves in a non-gamified way this approach can inspire and engage citizens that do not normally use the library.
Therefore it is important that both the game design is very good and also that the things that are gamified are relevant for the people experiencing the gamified library service and the library’s core tasks and mission.

The gamified library service is a story that wants to be told. It is often not aligned with the way media usually speaks about libraries, so it is a way to create a new narrative about our creative and inspiring libraries.

It is also a lot of fun. You will learn a lot and so will the rest of the staff at your library, and it is a way to actively support learning in the community in a fun and engaging way.

If you have a favorite example of a library gamification project please share it with me, and tell me more about your own projects for the updated version of this blog post. And remember: it is perfectly safe to try this at home. Have fun!

My slides from a presentation in Madrid, Spain: 15th December 2015 for: VIII Jornada Profesional de la Red De Bibliotecas del Instituto Cervantes: «Gamificación: el arte de aplicar el juego en la biblioteca»

 

If the library was a music genre…

bossa

I am inspired by this Bossa Nova song from the wonderful people at The Royal Library of Denmark – The Faculty Library of Social Sciences

In fact I am inspired by most things they do… Their LEGO stop motion movies and music would still be cool even if did not have the underlying message to the students that the library is there to make them information ninjas.

Listen – enjoy the Bossa and share it with your favorite library lovers…

And if you are so inclined – and can stand a little library industrial – re-listen  my avantgarde song – Go to the library 🙂

Credits for Go to the library
Written, produced, mixed, all instruments and vocals: Jan Holmquist

Lost in your time (at the library) is probably the first bossa nova library song in the world. Made by Los Bossa Bibliotheca and publiched by Go To The Library Records / Faculty Library of Social Sciences

Credits – for Lost in your time (at the library):
Guitar – Jens Stein Jørgensen
Vocals – Simon Roland Pedersen
Percussion – Rasmus Rindom Riis
Double bass – Ida Duelund Hansen
Lyrics – Anders Bonatto Fisker
Producer, mixer and sound wizard – Mads Korsgaard
Bossa boss and executive producer – Christian Lauersen
Head groupie – Stine Agerbæk
Layout – Rasmus Rindom Riise

Libraries Change Lives

There are 65000 libraries in Europe welcoming more than 100 million people each year. That is an amazing knowledge infrastructure to make our communities smarter.
In this short video some of these statistics and core values are shared.
Libraries connect people and their knowledge  – and support learning and knowledge creation.

Spend 90 seconds watching this video to celebrate and highlight the difference libraries make everyday across Europe and the rest of the world.
Libraries change lives.

The video is published by Public Libraries 2020 and The Reading & Writing Foundation. It is also strongly approved by the Library Avengers.

Global librarianship and Gamifying the library experience – My presentations at #ili2014

I was honered to present at this years Internet Librarian International in London, England. Thank you for an inspiring conference with sharing, co-learning and interesting talks with so many wonderful librarians and other library professionals.

For the other presentations I did there about Gamification and Library advocacy – Go to my slideshare page.

I had a very busy schedule at #ili2014

Sessions by Jan Holmquist
Day 1 – Tuesday, 21 October 2014   14.30 – 15.00   A104: Global inspiration, local action (presentation: Global inspiration, local action)
Day 1 – Tuesday, 21 October 2014   15.15 – 16.15   B105: Library labs and digital lounges (Moderator)
Day 1 – Tuesday, 21 October 2014   16.45 – 17.30   B106: Gamification (Presentation: Gamifying the library experience)
Day 2 – Wednesday, 22 October 2014   11.15 – 12.15   C202: Transformational teaching (Moderator)
Day 2 – Wednesday, 22 October 2014   14.30 – 15.15   C204: Extending engagement and remaining relevant (Moderator)

I also did a sharing session / Presentation at the X-track:
Lobby for Libraries – be a library avenger
And I was on loan in  BORROW AN EXPERT and had a wonderful meeting about libraries community engagement and collaboration.

After the conference I went to Norway and did a keynote about the library as a community hub for learning for the very inspiring librarians in Vestfold. I had the chance to stay until lunch and be a part of their day about libraries and learning.

100 years old today – Guldborgsund Public Library

Today is a very special day. In November 1913 local politicians decided to open a public reading room in Nykøbing Falster thereby making the decision and providing the funds that made it possible to open the doors to the first public library in the city 100 years ago today.

As the city’s most used cultural organisation we are proud to provide cultural experiences, learning environments, knowledge sharing and knowledge creation, debate and much more to our community. Today – and for the next 100 years to come.

We celebrate today with the rest of the city. There will be a lot of music, there will be storytime, there will be children’s theatre, book talks etc. – and there will be cake.

If you want to follow along we will be documenting the day on our Instagram profile

Welcome to the #23mobilethings family Alaska

I am very proud to welcome another 23 mobile things program to the #23mobilethings familiy – Welcome Alaska #23mobilethingsAK. You are joining thousands of fellow libraraians and library staff from all over the planet in this co-learning opportunity. I wish you all a great learning experience – Here is my welcome video.

Learn more about 23 Mobile Things Alska
Thank you Daniel Cornwall (@DanielCornwall) for your contribution to keeping this learning program alive.

Hidden treasures – Gamification at Guldborgsund Public Library

gamification_300_Exciting treasure hunts in the urban space
In Nykøbing Falster, Guldborgsund Public Library invites local citizens and visitors of the city on interactive walks around the town as part of the project Hidden Treasures. Through their smart phone, ‘treasure hunters’ can have a new and different experience of the town and its history.

With the project Hidden Treasures Guldborgsund Public Library wants to meet people in the urban space in a fun and engaging way. We aim to turn the local cultural and literary history into a vivid experience. Through a series of riddles and problems, the inquisitive-minded will hopefully see the town in a new light.

The interactive walks offer three different themes: a trip back to explorer and author Peter Freuchens’ Nykøbing Falster in the 1920s; an insight into the town when author Knud Romer grew up in the 1970s; and a contemporary tour with focus on local food from Falster.

You can read more about the project on Tame The Web

A conference with an unconference track – Upcoming presentations at Internet Librarian International

I liheartke the concept of unconferences very much. The more loose structure can be very liberating to the traditional conference learning experience. Combining a traditional conference with an unconference track is one of the reasons I am looking very much forward to this years Internet Librarian International – and I am proud to be a part of both the unconference and conference track.

I hope to see you there and talk libraries with you. I am doing talks on Guldborgsund Public Library recent gamification project, Global librarianship and on the brand new unconference X track I will share about the library advocacy group Library Avengers.

I am also looking forward to the Hackerspace Conversations between Rasmus Fangel Vestergaard and Jeroen de Boer and to catch Åke Nygreens talk about Boosting ICT training in public libraries to name just a few.

Here is my speaker program – You can also “borrow me” for a 15 minute talk about about community engagement, gamification, communities and collaboration on the X track… London Calling!

Go to the library – song

Launching myself as an avantgarde musician – or … Well I was testing out an app tonight and I made this…

I heard the way to launch music the cool way is to surprise everyone by making it available online when people least expect it –
So here it is. Totally free. If you like it smile to someone who needs it – and go to the library.

I had “Leave comfort zone” on my to do – Consider it done by posting this.