A short personal update

Dear friends. It has been a while. I want to update you with some short facts.

Back in Denmark:
Because of different personal circumstances back home, I had to leave New Zealand and go back to Denmark to be with my family.

Family:
I am in the middle of a divorce. A thing like that is never happy for anyone. We communicate very well. We can laugh together and have mutual respect. The kids are doing good. I am grateful for that. Very much!

Making a professional difference:
I know I made a difference in New Zealand. The people were more than I could have hoped for, the community was terrific, but time was too limited. I loved it and worked hard for it while I was there.
I could not have done it differently, but I am shameful to have promised something I had to reverse.

Looking forward:
I am still the global librarian, but I also finished my Master in Public Governance. I am now working as a self-employed library and leadership consultant in Denmark and worldwide having worked for organisations in Brussels, Amsterdam and Copenhagen so far.

Thank you:
To amazing friends near and far for personal and professional support, I appreciate it more than you can ever imagine.

New job: Library director in Nelson, New Zealand

IMG_0405It 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.

What?
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.

Where?
Here on Twitter
Here on Facebook
Here on the web
Here on the Map

Will you blog about your experiences in the future?
Yes. Sign up to this blog or follow me on Twitter to get updates about my learnings and my new #librarylife.

New Horizons: How Libraries Create Smart Communities – For INFORUM 2018 in Prague

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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.

 

Upcoming keynote: Different perspectives – New horizons. 24th annual Inforum conference in Prague

motive-enIt 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.

Library Advocacy With Heart for #ili2017

The way we form meaning is hugely based on the biases we have. Facts will not always convince people they are wrong. In this presentation.
I focus on succesful examples of library advocacy and discuss what makes a succes. I also share insights from the Library Advocacy Lab and Public Libraries 2020 that aims for raising political awareness about public libraries in the European Union.
I recommend that library advocacy should focus on telling stories that appeal to our feelings. The personal stories from the community and support these stories with statistics and facts and align that to what is on the political agenda in your community.

Thank you Internet Librarian International for great conversations and learning opportunities.

 

 

Libraries and their communities – an interview.

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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.

You can read the whole interview here.

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.

Help us “Build a Librarian” for 21st-century information work #nextlibrary2017 #LibraryChangeAgent

20140311-154338.jpgI am very excited to be able to learn with NEXT Library conference participants in Aarhus in mid June. Together with Dr. Michael Stephens and Mylee Joseph,  I will be leading an interactive workshop at the conference and we need your input to help us make this workshop really effective for the participants at this year’s conference.

“Change” and “disruption” are not only popular buzzwords. Technology, economy and politics are forces that are changing the world as we know it and our communities at a fast pace. Libraries are embracing and responding to these changes and have different strategies for maintaining and increasing their relevance to their local communities. But to embrace change, and be a driving force for what rapidly changing communities need, librarians must have skills to both anticipate and adapt to change as well as being effective community connectors to drive change.

CHANGE

In business and leadership literature “dynamic capabilities” describes the characteristics of a firm that can adapt to changes in the environment and survive, while businesses that fail to adapt can slip from world domination to bankruptcy with examples often mentioned like KODAK and NOKIA.

In the global economy our countries, cities and communities compete on skills, know-how,  adaptability and connectivity to get knowledge jobs in their area. Communities need assistance to anticipate and adapt to the world as it changes around them. Libraries can play a vital role in providing opportunities, tools and experiences for their communities to learn and to develop the dynamic capabilities needed. Librarians as effective “community learning connectors” can be change agents and drivers for development in our communities for many years to come.
How do we insure the folks serving our varied constituents have the skill sets and attitudes required of the modern library worker.

In our workshop we will use Michael’s “formula for success” to facilitate participants own ideas:

Essential Skills + Mindset² X Support = Success

Each part of the formula is vital. The outcome does not work if any of them are removed.

What do you think:

  • What are your thoughts on the content in Michael Stephens Essential Skills + Mindset² X Support = Success
  • In what way can libraries enhance a community’s adaptability to change?
  • Do you have examples of libraries in your community acting as community learning connectors and helping to respond and adapt to change?
  • What skills are needed for library staff to be effective community learning connectors?
  • What skills and mindset will help library staff continue to adapt to rapid change into the future?

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter using the hashtag #LibraryChangeAgent  all kinds of contributions are welcome. Make a short video, use words – or draw your perfect set of skills… Be creative. We think that is one of the important skills needed 🙂

 

Upcoming talk: Libraries: The best possible shared space today and beyond.

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I am very excited to be the closing keynote speaker at this years SCL seminar under the theme Revitalise and Regenerate libraries. I am looking forward to learning opportunities and good debates in Coventry this early June.

The Society of Chief Librarians leads and manages public libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
SCL is made up of the head of service of every library authority, and advocates for continuous improvement of the public library service on behalf of local people.
That is exactly what I believe libraries are all about.

You can see the entire program for #SCLRevitalise here.

Keynote: Smart Libraries Create Smart Communities for #ILI2016

Thank you Internet Librarian International for your kind feedback and for questions and comments after my talk and during the day. It has been a pleasure learning with you.

Like I promised – My slides:

This is a slightly reworked Q and A I did for CILIP Update before the keynote, and it provides some context to the talk.

Q. Firstly a little bit about you – Tell us about your current role and the projects are you currently working on.

A.
I am Assistant Library director at Guldborgsund Public Library in the South eastern part of Denmark. We are currently making a FabLab which will open to the Public early 2017.
In my spare time I work as a Global Librarian. I am currently engaged in The Library Avengers and The PL2020 Library Advocacy Lab that works with raising awareness on a political level about EUs 65000 Public libraries.

I am also studying Master of Public Governance at Copenhagen Business School and doing some Consultant work on crowdfunding and making presentations and keynotes about i.e. global librarianship, gamification and libraries and the Library professional development program 23 mobile things that we made in Guldborgsund and expanded world-wide in cooperation with State Library of New South Wales in Australia.

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Q. Your keynote is called ‘Smart libraries create smart communities – towards a visionary strategy for libraries’ – can you give us an insight into what you’ll be discussing?
A.
Last year the Swedish professor Hans Rosling said “You can’t trust the news outlets if you want to understand the world”.
This year the debate after the Brexit vote circulated around the same issue. Was the voters well-informed? The same debate is going on in the US right now with their upcoming election.
We need to invent a place where the public can seek and find fact checked and verified information – wait! We already have such a place. Libraries!
In a world where we compete about knowledge jobs libraries are more important than ever. They are the one place where everyone’s learning is actively supported. This is important to acknowledge when designing library strategy.
I will be discussing that and a whole lot more. You will have to wait until October at ILI to hear the rest 😉
Q. What are your thoughts on how libraries can raise their profile with their communities and with decision makers?
A.
In Denmark the “Open Libraries” where you can lock yourself into the Library for self-service between 7 AM and 10 PM has raised the profile in the community a lot.
Also presenting knowledge in new ways like Guldborgsund Public Librarys gamified treasure Hunt app “Hidden treasures” does.  Via the app you learn about the City’s history as you walk the City and solve puzzles and quizzes. The app is a fun way to engage with the community. Basically getting the Library out of the building and going where people are like we do with the yearly fruit harvest festival is a way to meet people and show them what the Library can do and why the Library matters in their lives.
This is also a good way to engage decision makers but I think working with Library strategy is even more important. If you can tell stories about how the Library changes lives and show politicians and decisionmakers that the Library raises the knowledge level in the community and thereby makes the community smarter. Then you have a good opportunity to continue the conversation with the decisionmakers and get the Library on their agenda.
Q. Times are challenging for many libraries at the moment – how can we stay inspired to focus on long-term strategy?
A.
Every time someone walks into the library or visit us online they need to be inspired or learn something new.
Noble prize winner Jose Saramago (my favorite writer) educated himself at libraries. For some years Cory Doctorow did the same thing.
Libraries change lives. That is very inspiring.
It can be hard to focus on the long-term when budget cuts are so bad as they are in the UK right now. I think it Helps to know that libraries are very well visited and used and that we support learning for people every day. There is more information in the world than ever before. Libraries can navigate this information and support the learning the community needs and inspire people to find good stories and new knowledge. That is a good foundation for a Library strategy.
That is the big picture. I have a “Keep calm and see the big picture” poster on my wall in my office by the way. That is a good reminder about all the above mentioned.
Q. Anything else you’d like to add?
A.
Libraries need to work even closer with schools, museums and other parts of the community.
A lot of museums have experts with a lot of knowledge but not many visitors.
Libraries have a lot of visitors. We can work together to present expert knowledge in new ways at libraries – also knowledge about our communities. There is great potential in that kind of cooperation.

World wide thoughts of a Danish librarian

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