Category Archives: libraries

Billions of Beautiful Words – Mary Gauthier on libraries and music.

maryjanHello Mary- Thank you for doing this interview about music and libraries… Let me ask you:

How did a library ever make a difference in your life and (or) your community?
When I was around 8 or 9, my parents marriage was slowly falling apart. I had my mom drop me off at the library when it opened on Saturdays, and I stayed there till it closed. It was how I spent my Saturdays for quite a while. It was my safe place, my place of peace.I read my way through nearly all the books in the children’s section, and began looking at books in the regular library. The library felt like home to me, more than home felt like home. Books are a treasure to me, they are life rafts, they are undiscovered worlds. And libraries are their homes. I love libraries.

Is there a librarian in your life – for better or for worse?
No, I almost always found my way on my own in the library. The few times I did ask for help, the adults frowned on my reading choices. So I didn’t trust adults. I used the card catalogues to find what I wanted, and to explore the selections.

Your songs are stories and libraries are full of stories – Do you see other connections between your art form and libraries?
Stories are so very important to me, and they always have been. I think that stories can help hold troubled lives together, they have some kind of magic glue that keeps us from shattering from the weight of our own experiences. There is something intrinsic in human nature that find comfort in other people’s stories. We look at each other and compare ourselves, we feel relief that we are not alone, we feel encouraged by other people’s courage and resilience. It is my deepest hope that my songs operate at the level of literature, that they have that ability to transcend time and place, and to offer other people something they can hold on to. Time will tell.

What are your thoughts about storytelling in songs vs. a novel or short story?
Songs are a very particular art form. There’s is very little time to get the story told in a song. Every word deeply matters, each syllable is expensive real estate. So songs are, by necessity, very dense. What is said in a line in a song, could take pages or even chapters to say in a book. Most Western songs are under 4 minutes long, by necessity. Also, with songs, melody plays a very important part in the telling of the story. We use it to emphasise important words, and manipulate emotions.

What inspires you when you write and what is a good song?
A good song connects to the human heart in a meaningful way. A great song does so in a timeless way, it operates outside of time. Your Cheating Heart was written in the 50’s, it is as relevant today as the day Hank wrote it.
I am inspired by emotion and the desire to make sense of my own life experiences. So often my experiences do not seem to make much sense in the moments they are happening, but then I write about them and it all comes into focus. I suppose in some ways, songwriters impose meaning, play God, create order, when there is not much to be had. But that is the beauty and the challenge of the job.

If you did choose to write a song about a library (hint!) – what would the title be?
hmmmmm, how about “Billions of Beautiful Words.”

How can a good song change the world? – or the life of an individual?
I’m not sure songs change the world in and of themselves. They do, however, have the power to articulate the sentiments of large groups of people, and give people a mantra and a big idea to rally around, and that can be very threatening to a people in power. Over and over again politicians try to use songs their own advantages, some with more success than others.

Have you ever performed at a library?
Not yet! But it would seem like a great place for me to play some songs. I have played at bookstores, lots of them.

Thank you so much for participating – and Thank you for your support for libraries and for your stories and beautiful music.

Please visit Mary Gauthiers website – and buy some of her amazing music. You can also follow Mary on Twitter and since you already love her in real life – you can also like her on Facebook.

Innovation in Public Libraries – For Alison Miller’s class at iSchool, Syracuse University

canadawater

I am very glad and proud to connect with the future of the profession: MLIS students at iSchool, Syracuse University for a talk about innovation in public libraries. Thank you for your time – please feel free to contact me with follow up questions and your views on this topic.

Things I covered in my talk:

Technology and innovation (briefly)
I am working on 23 Mobile things. An internal learning project at my Library that will get a global edition – We aim to teach staff basic app knowledge within the Apple environment and spark curiosity – But also look for ideas that can generate innovation in our reference service and how we reach out to our Community online. The project is open source so you can adapt it. There will be android version in the international edition -You can make the windows mobile version if you like.

Also: Read watch play an international reading group that has a blog and monthly Twitter chats about a given topic is an example of tech innovation to broaden reach and scope of a project.

Leadership and innovations
I am head of development at my Library. A title that in a way makes no sense at all because no one sits in a corner and innovates. If you have one person to innovate in your organization – you are doing it wrong. In my talk I will share thoughts about innovation culture in libraries.

Also: we used LEGO serious play to work with innovation for our Strategic plan.

Mission and Vision statements and innovation
My library has been working with vision and slogan (if not mission) We had the LEGO Serious Play part and all staff was part of the process of working with the vision and how we could make it visible in what we do for our community. Our vision roughly translates to:

Guldborgsund-libraries wants to give added value to our guests no matter where they are  physically or digitally in the areas of cultural experience, learning and knowledge.

Our slogan: Guldborgsund-libraries – More than you can imagine …

Reference Services and innovation
We try to think learning in everything we do and every way we connect with our community. This shapes the way we meet people and how we answer questions. We have a learning area in the heart of the library and try to fascilitate knowledge sharing within the community.
Also: we did a roaming librarian project a while back and we might take it up again soon. It is a simple and good way to connect with people… 

The librarians used a cart and had some books and a lot of info about the library, about online services, Library programs, the children’s library etc with them… They had a Blackberry from which they could access the library catalogue, check out books and register new members. That was the reason we got the idea – because that was possible. They did not check out many books – but they got us a few new members and a lot of good publicity.
Last fall we did the same thing when our book mobile was  part of a culture evening in the city. Two librarians were on the streets to meet people and tell them about the book mobile. We had a contest for adults and one for children there – and we handed out a lot of info on the library.

I did a very short post a while back about this – Where you can see “The ladies in red” with the mini library – See it here

Our members are our guests
The term guests is not strictly internal terminology but we could do more about communicating it to the public.
We will have some changes in the way we meet people in the main library this fall and the way we make our guests feel at home will be part of the planning process. The main shift I can mention is that everybody is more focused on how we meet people and not only on the right answer – but also how it is delivered. I think it is incredible how much actually changes when you change the terminology. Food for thought.

What I did not mention
Innovation happens when you connect with people who think different than yourself. People from other professions and people from other cultures. That is one of the reasons I work with global librarianship – because I think it is inspiring and sparks innovation in my own community. We try to work with a lot of non library partners and I love what happens when we do – We work with the local museum, music school etc and with people from other fields like universities on a gamification project I will share more about soon.

Your feedback inspires
I feel so priviliged to get the chance to connect with you because you have chosen to be in this field and your ideas are highly appreciated – so go out there and participate in making libraries better… Keep the good stuff, change the bad stuff – and tell me and others all about it…

Why the story of Buy India a Library is (still) important

I am very excited to present with Justin Hoenke at Bibliothekartag 2012 i Hamburg, Germany about a project I love and am very proud to be a part of – Buy India a Library

How to use social media for collaboration, inspiration and changing the world will be some of the tracks of our talk. Including a small how to – and facts about the project and the library in Mysore, India. What can you learn from what we did with this project? That is what we will try to answer.

We did not do it alone but with a little help from our friends: Librarians and library lovers from all over the world. 100 people donated more than 3000 Euros and here it is – The Library:

We did this using social media without ever meeting in person. In fact the first time I will meet one from our team is the day before the presentation when I meet Justin in Hamburg. It is not a rare thing to work remote with people you never met – but to gather a team (Justin, Andromeda, Ned, Jan) and fund a library in another country in two weeks. I’ll say that is really something – and the take away is that when we could do it – you can do it too. It’s hard work but it is possible and it is easier than you think.

Libraries are closing all over the world but we just opened a new one funded by awesome people who know that this library will make a huge difference in a local community in India and give children from Mysore, India an opportunity to get important literacy skills and thereby empowering them to live dignified lifes.

This project is an example of egoless social media. Connections matter and because of the connections we made and facilitated, people from all over the world gave Mysore a physical library. Once more, and I can never say this enough, thank you to all those who donated and those who shared what we did. The library is yours, it is ours but most of all – it is the people in the Mysore community that benefits from this library – Just like it should be.

This library, like any other library, will make it’s community better by sharing, gathering  fascilitating and creating knowledge in it’s community…

It Is a Global Profession… If You Want It to Be

It Is a Global Profession… If You Want It to Be

I am very happy to be able to share my thoughts about global librarianship over at Jessica Olin´s great blog “Letters to a Young Librarian”. I hope you will take the time to visit Jessica´s blog and read my post – Comments very welcome.

Get a happier life with your library

Watch this video about Danish public libraries in English for people new to Danish society and tell me what you think.

When you’re new in Denmark a lot of things can be confusing. The library is here to help you! Through the library you have access to a world of knowledge, culture, entertainment, social activites, and much much more. Visit your local library or visit us at bibliotek.dk

Here is an online version of the handout with the same theme:
Get a happier life with your library – ISSUU

Letter from World Libraries


Dear Librarian

Congratulations on joining the team at World Libraries.

We are glad to have you as a part of our world-wide team of library enthusiasts. Your special focus will be to improve your community by sharing and generating knowledge and always contribute to learning.

We also expect you to work for libraries world-wide and to advocate for libraries when you have the possibility. You must implement succesful projects from other libraries when they will make a positive difference in your own community and you must share your projects  so others can do the same.

We expect you to work with relevant organizations in your community to add as much value to as many people as possible in the area you serve. The main focus of our organization is to help and empower people, young and old, with the relevant knowledge and information they need and to inspire them to produce knowledge and works of art and culture. It is also our aim to give people cultural experiences, make relations and  inspire. We meet the citizens where they are in the digital world and in the physical world – and we meet them in their prefered media. Furthermore we speak the language that match their age, level of education and interests.

You are working for libraries at a time when they are more important than ever before. The more information available in the world the more valuable it is to get the right information at the right time. You and your world-wide colleagues are experts in this field. You participate in raising the education level and empowering people everywhere at all levels.

Digital library services are universal. They are supplemented by locally fitted digital and physical library services. That is the way we all make the best libraries in our communities as a team even though we work at very different libraries, types of libraries and in different countries and communities. As a world-wide organization we make people smarter and capable of acting in farming societies, production societies, knowledge societies and experience societies everywhere on our planet.

We offer content in all imaginable kinds of media and we train people in the use of technology and other kinds of literacy. We are happy to add value to information but we also respect and defend People´s right to read what they want and to form their own meanings.

Because we are aware of the importance and the potential you can expect a world-wide information campaign about our organization in the near future.  The campaign will focus on libraries as a modern, innovative and attractive firm: Exclusive – but yet accessible for all.

We are looking forward to working with you in the future. Let´s make the world libraries even better together.

On behalf of World Libraries

Jan Holmquist
@janholmquist

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/loungerie/1470979195/in/photostream/ – by Loungrie http://www.flickr.com/photos/loungerie/

This blog post was original published in Danish as a guest post on Peter Alsbjer´s blog:

Facilitator of crowdsourced ideas

Job titles can be difficult to translate but when attending international conferences Danish job titles does not make sense to most participants – but does any title?

When you need to contact another organization job titles can help you find the right person to connect with fast and easy – But within your own organization – Do job titles do anything other that confirming a structure that is not the best for getting and developing ideas?

My own job title would translate to “Head of Library Development” – But that does not make sense. We need to get ideas and develop them and our libraries together in our organizations and beyond. I see myself as a facilitator of crowdsourced ideas about library development world-wide. We get better ideas and develop them better that way. Afterwards we need to fit them to our local communities to add value there.

So come work with me – I work for libraries – What is your idea?

By the way – You can generate your own library related job title here: http://www.michellemach.com/jobtitles/index.html

3 things that inspired me this week

The Uni

Imagine having the possibility to move the library learning space outdoors to meet the people, creating a place for learning, being inspired and making connections in the community. That is just some of the things The Uni will make possible.

The Uni is a new kind of shared learning environment, capable of supporting a full schedule of public readings, talks, classes, afterschool programs, workshops, and screenings. The Uni’s books establish the tone and set the stage for a variety of street-level learning experiences, from language classes to documentary films to hands-on demonstrations.
theuniproject.org 

I think it is impossible not to be inspired by this but go to the website and see for yourself and learn more about this great project. You can help fund the project if you want, but looking and learning is free.

How did the Uni inspire me: We are constantly looking for ways to connect with the community by bringing the library where the people are. The design makes an open outdoor space for learning and connecting. It’s an opportunity to make “instant library”. I want that! I can imagine it moving from city to city or from country to country promoting libraries by being awesome.

Thank You Nate – for sharing

How to spread the word – TEDx Buenos Aires

How it inspired me: This got me asking the questions: We try to reach non-users of the library all the time, but are we doing it right? If we invited the taxi drivers or hairdressers of the community to an Info-event at the library, what would be the right way to inspire them to inspire others?

Thank You Sally – for sharing

Compact Living – All You Need in a 258 Square Feet Apartment

How it inspired me: Follow your dreams and ideas… How much stuff do we need in our lives? This guy makes the most out of a few square feet. How will we make the most out of what we have, focus on the important and make inspiring libraries with the many square feet we have?
Also How will we focus on what is important in our lives?

Thank You Meredith – For sharing.

Crowdsourcing the Future of Libraries

Choosing the future of libraries - #cyc4lib post it
Crowdsourcing the future of libraries was what the local librarians at my library did with the Cycling for Libraries participants – and you can be a part of this too!

How you can contribute
Make a comment to this post
Add photos of your own Post-it´s about the topic at the Flickr pool  – and make comments there too.
Tweet what your Post-it says with the #futurelib hastag

But first – read what we did at the Cycling for Libraries conference.

What we did
There are many predictions about the future of libraries but which future do we want to choose? #makeithappen
For two hours my library was visited by librarians and library lovers from all over the world. 75 people from 15 different countries took part in the Think Tank about the ideal future of libraries and how to get there. Their bikes were parked and they were tired but motivated after the ride to my library.

The program:
I made an introduction –  painting the framework for how we should work with this topic.
I showed this short video with Professor R. D. Lankes
Everybody got some time to think about what their ideal library of the furture is.
Then they discussed it with one of the other participants.
I said a few more words before introducing our guest of honor Buffy J. Hamilton who made an awesome 20 minute presentation via Skype – and she answered questions from the room.
Then we had the workshop part – With the knowledge and inspiration we now had we discussed and produced post it´s in smaller groups – about the libraries of the future.

See the awesome post it´s here – and add your own wisdom by adding your photos to the flickr pool.

Useful tools:
R.D Lankes model:
Jan Holmquist – Intro Prezi:
Buffy Hamiltons presentation:

International Think Tank: Choosing the Future of Libraries

In a week I will be enjoying the company of librarians from all over the world at my library. I am looking forward to welcoming the conference Cycling for Libraries. I can´t wait to meet you all!

While the conference are at my library the theme will be “Choosing the future of the library” and you can help contributing to the topic by making comments here or writing me at twitter. My take on this is that we as library professionals are the ones that shall choose what the future of libraries will be – so let´s get to work and make it happen.

Can we stand any more talking about the future? I think we can because we will have the wisdom of almost 100 library brains from different cultures, but the core of what we do as libraries in our local communities are the same. This could bring us further.

We will be discussing the theme in different settings during the day – but we have two hours to:
Develop a framework for the discussion
Have a Skype in session with my very valued colleague and friend Buffy J. Hamilton who is an advocate for idea and learning-driven libraries and for embedding the librarian in the community.
Have some time to self-reflection
Generate Ideas  together

The outcome will be documented and I can´t wait to share it with you.

This video of R. D Lankes . The author of The Atlas of New Librarianship is the best possible introduction to why I think this is important and why we should use the opportunity to discuss this theme when the international think tank of library lovers park their bikes for a few hours.