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Libraries: The best possible shared space today and beyond for #SCLRevitalise

Thank you for the invitation to this wonderful conference. What a couple of days of learning, sharing, crying, laughing and… singing 🙂

What skills do libraries and librarians need to be a driving force in creating smart communities?
How can we use strategy to advocate for the importance that we know we have for peoples lives?
These questions and more are part of this presentation. A few humble answers too.

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:

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 library in Guldborgsund in the southeastern part of Denmark consists of a main library and 5 branch libraries. The 5 branch libraries are open libraries and the main library will be as well from early 2017.
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. 

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:


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

We’re On Borrowed Time – Ben Glover on libraries and music

Ben GloverHello Ben. 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?
I grew up in a small village that didn’t have a permanent library but I remember very clearly for most of my early childhood a mobile library that visiting the village twice a month…I think it was every second Tuesday it came and parked at the seafront. So the visiting library always represented a little bit of excitement for me as a child, it was definitely something which I looked forward to arriving. This mobile library was an important resource to the village back then as it mean’t that the locals had access to books without having to travel long distances for them.

Is there a librarian in your life – for better or for worse?
No, not presently…

Your songs are stories and libraries are full of stories – Do you see other connections between your art form and libraries?
Stories are massively important to me and songs are basically stories in musical form.  Stories help us communicate, break down barriers, allow us to find refuge in shared experiences and can give us strength and comfort at times when we need these. Libraries are filled with the works of writers who have used stories to share their experiences and that is what I’m trying to do in my songs. So yes, there is certainly a connection here.

You write love songs – Why is love so fascinating to write about ?
I believe there are two main forces at play in the human condition – love and fear. Everything else is sparked off by these two, therefore love is a massive well to draw from and write about. Love, or lack of it, is what shapes our relationships and our interactions with each other and these are the things that I like to write about. It’s a central theme to so many things that you can’t avoid writing about it.

What inspires you when you write and what is a good song?
A good song is one that resonates with the listener in a true and meaningful way. It’s something that hooks onto your soul and makes you feel something real.
I write to make sense of my own experiences, to find some order. It’s my way of working out and working through the core issues that I face in life. Songwriting is one of my main vehicles of self expression so I am inspired to write because I am inspired to attempt to interpret what’s going on in my world.

If you did choose to write a song about a library (hint!) – what would the title be?
That’s a tough one! What about “We’re On Borrowed Time.” I might go and start tinkering with it…!

 Can a good song change the world? – or the life of an individual?
Individuals can change the world by changing themselves. It is very possible that a song can change an individual so it follows that a song can be the source of a change in the world. A good song can influence our lives deeply so it definitely has a power if we let it in close enough.

I know you have an interest in history and are inspired by good people like Van Morrison and Robert Johnson… Name a few more of the people you admire (Please)

Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, WB Yeats…the list could go on! I am drawn to people who’s work has stood the test of time and who’s art still speaks as powerfully in the present as it did in the past.

Have you ever performed at a library?
The school I attended sometimes put on concerts in the library and I played at some of those over the years. The school was formerly built as a stately summer retreat in the mid-1800’s and the current school library is in one of the oldest parts of the building . Maybe I didn’t appreciate it fully as a teenager but looking back now it was a grand room to perform in!

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

Ben’s new record, “Atlantic” will be released worldwide on September 1  – 2014. Until then PLEASE visit Ben Glovers website – and buy some of his wonderful music. You can also follow Ben on Twitter and  like him on Facebook. Ben is one of my favorite Instagrammers… He takes awesome photos.