Tag Archives: buy india a library

Ignite – Next Library: From global inspiration to local action

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.

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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.

Unglue: Giving books to the world by crowd funding

The most democratic book project I know is about to relaunch – Here is an article I wrote for the German library magazine BUB as member of the Zukunftentwicklers network – With a few corrections because a lot has happened with Unglue.it since the deadline:

Picture credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/freefoto/3239197673/sizes/m/in/photostream/What is crowd funding and what does it mean to unglue?

To unglue a book means that you buy the rights to the book and then pass them on by giving the book to the world for free to read in any e-book format and on any device – without DRM or time restrictions under a creative commons license. But you don’t do it alone. You chirp in a little and so does a lot of other people who think it is important to free the same book. This is called crowd funding. When you crowd fund (and unglue) the project you support has a deadline and the money needed must be raised before the end of this deadline or the project fails. If the money is not raised before the deadline – you don’t loose your money – because the amount you pledge is not drawn from your account unless all the money needed is raised.

The good thing about Unglue.it as I see it is that everyone is a winner. The author gets paid for his work and the world gets unlimited access to the book – What’s not to like about it? I think Unglue.it is the most democratic book project you can imagine.
The first book has already been unglued and is therefore yours too – it is “Oral Literature In Africa” by Ruth H. Finnegan – 278 world citizens participated in unglueing this book raising 7500 dollars – The e-book version is available for download from the Unglue.it website. You can go to Unglue.it to learn more and make your own pledge to give the gift of a book to the world.

Libraries, ebooks and freedom of information

In the current e-book market it is very hard for libraries to purchase and lend out ebooks to the public. This fact is making it darker times for universal access to information for the first time in decades. Lots of titles can’t be offered because the biggest publishers in the US are not working with the libraries there, and in Europe EBLIDA is doing work to get better deals here too. Booksellers say libraries are a threat to the ebook business even though research shows that libraries increase book sales – not the other way round. The current situation looks like a library nightmare. Though the focus for modern libraries shift from collections to connections it is still important that information will be more freely accessible in future – not less. There are also privacy concerns with some of the models in which libraries and we as citizens can purchase ebooks today. Booksellers can erase books from our devices (it has been done!), can spy on us to see what we read, underline and bookmark in our ebooks etc. Libraries do not own ebooks. They license them – and can’t lend them out limitlessly on most contracts.

The e-book formats are not universal and library e-book services are often hard to use limiting potential use because of technical illiteracy and difficulties.

The values behind Unglue.it contribute to another voice in the debate on the future of ebooks, libraries and access. If Unglue.it becomes a universal success the role of libraries on the e-book market will be (almost) obsolete because they will have provided all ebooks freely available for us all in every digital format without DRM and without spying on the reader etc. This is basically a very librarianish goal… – but there is still a long way to go.

Crowd funding – success and challenges

One important thing when crowd funding is that your project tells a story that is important to the possible contributors. You need to see that what you are contributing to will make a difference to someone and will be making the world a better place. This can be a tricky thing for a project like Unglue.it because everyone can agree that universal access to good books is an important issue – but what if the title does not appeal to me? Sometimes it is easier to raise a lot of money for a cause broadly known than for a work of art very few people know.
Crowd funding is not a new thing. It has been used to collect funds for helping out after natural disasters for many years and political parties are crowd funded by their members etc. Barack Obamas campaign for the presidential election 2008 was partly crowd funded like many other presidential campaigns have been. The new thing about Obamas campaign was that so many people contributed even if the amounts were small – a lot of people “owned” the campaign. These are all examples of projects that their supporters meant would make the world a better place.

Crowd funding projects – library related and beyond

In the library field successful crowd funding campaigns include Buy India a Library where 100 people from all over the world funded the building of a library connected to a school in Mysore, India including books, newspapers and wages for the staff for two years. The campaign raised more than 3000 Euros in less than two weeks and it was more funds than needed. Therefore it additionally funded four donkey drawn mobile libraries in Africa. The thought about opening a library in a world where a lot of libraries were closed appealed broadly.

The online library TV show This Week in Libraries current season is also partly crowd funded by people from all over the world who want to keep the show on the air. This Week in Libraries focuses on ideas and innovation in libraries and interviews library innovators from all over the world. The Help This Week in Libraries campaign showed that the show has a large world-wide supporter group.

A few examples of non-library related projects are singer Amanda Palmers newest album, art book and tour crowd funded via the very popular platform Kickstarter.com. Her campaign collected more than one million dollars before deadline.

The Uni is a reading room for public space that is also funded via Kickstarter and even though it is based in New York City there are now a new Uni in Kazakhstan too. It provides a flexible library like outdoor space for reading, showcasing learning and one of its aims is to improve public space.

Good luck with crowd funding your own future projects and with making the world a better place by crowd funding others projects and unglueing books to the world.

Jan Holmquist is a librarian working with library development in South East Denmark at Guldborgsund-bibliotekerne.
He is also a global librarian, Zukunftsentwickler, blogger, Tweeter and crowd funder – member and co-founder of the Buy India a Library team and Help This Week in Libraries team.

Picture credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/freefoto/3239197673/sizes/m/in/photostream/

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…

How to collaborate internationally via social media

I want to share what I learned so far from working with amazing people I only met on Twitter for the cause of funding a library in India. We collect funds via social media on our blog. I hope you will support the good cause.

The good news – It is easy to do this:
First let me say that it is easy to collaborate on a project like ours using twitter, emails and wordpress blogs. Of course It takes a lot of time but a project like this would also take a lot of time if it was made by people sitting in the same room. We are four people in the group. Ned Potter who is an academic librarian from the UK, Andromeda Yelton and Justin Hoenke public librarians from USA and I am a public librarian from Denmark.

What tools have we used to communicate?
We use twitter and emails for communicating. Direct twitter messages when in a hurry and Emails for longer messages about plans, strategy and status. We use our spare time and we have families, so sometimes one of us has got a lot of time to put in this project, at other times we obviously don’t – But I am amazed by how far we gone in very little time. It is obvious that it is important that you give what you can and that the others respect when you have other plans. We never spoke about this, it is kind of written between the lines, but I could see the need for some rules in a bigger and longer lasting project.
It would be a good idea to use Skype but it hasn’t been necessary yet. When we reach our goal I think we should set up a Skype meeting celebrating with a drink – but the others don’t know yet (sorry you had to read it here first, guys)

Skype as a tool and why I belive in libraries
I have been so lucky to have a Skype meeting (and one more to come) with Buffy J Hamilton. This meeting was not related to the Buy A Library project. We talked about libraries in US and Denmark and about transliteracy and the power of libraries worldwide. I feel lucky to live in a time where it is so easy to share and communicate. Libraries are more similar across the world than I thought a couple of years ago. What it all comes down to is that we provide access to information and knowledge via all types of media. In some countries the main media is still the book, in others countries there are a variety of important media – but we provide access and support learning and (trans)literacy. That’s why I am a strong believer in the power of libraries.

What tools have we used to promote our campaign?
Our campaign lives on our blog and started as a twitter project. Our followers (and a lot of non-followers too) have been very kind to us helping promote our campaign and supporting with funds. Rosanne Cash who loves libraries supported us with a RT, and she has got more than 17.000 followers – Things like this make a difference. Thank you, Rosanne!
We learned that blogposts supporting the cause made a difference. We can see that in the donation status. We asked others to blog about our cause and have been getting good response… And you can like us on facebook. Please do.

So what to do now?
We will countinue to collect the funds needed for building and funding the library in India. Then we will evaluate and I hope we will have reached our goal so we can celebrate as well.
I really like being in this project. One reason is because it makes a difference and builds a library. How awesome is that? Libraries are closing all over the world, but we are opening one. It’s nice to learn that librarians and library supporters are so generous and the support for our project is amazing. Last but not least it is a great group of wonderful people I teamed up with. I am working with the best and if that does not motivate – what could?

Come work with me – or stay where you are but work with me anyway
I already learned a lot from participating in this project so far – and we are not finished yet. I want to use what I learned to collaborate with even more of you amazing people. I hope you will have the will, the time and ideas to work with a public librarian from Denmark. We could share ideas and thoughts about libraries in different countries or set up Skype meetings with patrons from each of our libraries. I don’t know yet. Maybe you do.
I know that when this project ends I will invite you to come work with me via social media and of course you are all welcome to visit my library.

Please support our cause by donating to Buy a library
[Donate button removed – Yay – we have the money for building the library – Please follow the work on the blog]