Tag Archives: library

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 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.

Gamification and libraries: Tools and examples

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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?
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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»

 

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.

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

Introducing library services brick by brick

The combination of fine libraries and LEGO bricks is not new and is often seen in the library blogosphere…
It is now wonder. Libraries are magnificent and LEGO is fun – What is not like?
This LEGO stop motion movie promotes the Faculty Library of Social Sciences at University of Copenhagen and it is absolutely awesome… Enjoy!

The video is Directed by Informationspecialists Hazel Engelsmann (haen@kb.dk, @engelsmann) & Marc Sales (masa@kb.dk, @docterz). Produced by Head of Faculty Library Christian Lauersen (@clauersen)

I have posted stop motion lego movies before – So if you want more.. Here you are.

Library advocacy… In stop motion

I want to share this library advocacy stop motion video with you.
In 70 seconds it shows some of the great stuff the library offers – and yes… It IS starring a cat as important supporting actor.

The movie is made by awesome librarian, upcoming stop motion director and good friend Christian Lauersen . Enjoy!

The Library is the Hummingbird

The legend of the hummingbird reminds me of all the amazing things libraries do every day to support healthy communities and to empower the citizens within them:

One day, a long time ago in a faraway place, or so the legend goes, there was a huge forest fire raging the countryside. The animals were terrified. They were running around, screaming, crying and helplessly watching the impending disaster.

In the middle of the flames, and above the cowering animals, was a tiny hummingbird busy flying from a small pond to the fire, each time fetching a few drops with its beak to throw on the wild flames. It kept repeating this over and over and over again.

After a while, an old grouchy armadillo, annoyed by this ridiculous useless agitation on the part of the hummingbird, cried out: “Little bird! Don’t be a fool. It is not with those miniscule drops of water one after the other that you are going to put out the fire and save us all!”

The hummingbird replied, “Could be, but I’m going to do my bit.

Let us have a closer look at what kind of drops of water libraries are throwing on the fire.

Libraries (and librarians) make us smarter and stronger – individually and collectively

Libraries are not schools or universities. You do not earn a degree from the library, but libraries are being the hummingbird by supporting lifelong learning on all levels.

Children, young people, and adults who study at the library get the help that might earn them better grades, and people who learn in a more informal way also get the support they need at the library. In the last 12 months 24 million Europeans (most frequently elderly people, members of ethnic minorities, and people from rural areas) used their public libraries to engage in informal learning activities. Libraries open up the world of knowledge and help introduce new ways of viewing life. They encourage thinking and the discussion of ideas. By doing this they make us stronger together.

With more and more information available in the world each day, it is more important than ever to have access to helpful and highly skilled information navigators. Librarians help people find not just “any” information but exactly the “right” information.

Librarians also support people in their job searches. Last year 1.5 million Europeans applied for jobs and 250,000 found jobs using free library internet access. (Now there is an example of our hummingbird throwing a quarter of a million drops of water on the fire.) Some libraries do not just provide access to the net but have job search programs. In the U.S. more than 65% of public libraries provide direct services for job seekers.

Access to free library services saves time and money, spurs economic growth

A 2013 survey of public library services across 18 European countries shows that nearly 100 million Europeans visited their public library, and 14 million used it to access the internet last year. 83% of those using free public library computer and internet services reported a positive impact on their lives – saving time and money, improving skills, gaining access to government services and employment- and health-related resources. Public libraries represent the only source of free internet access for 1.9 million marginalized Europeans.

Sometimes the small drops that the hummingbird throws on the fire have a very big effect. In the state of Maryland 90% of the state’s citizens say public libraries are “a good investment.” More than 40% of the state’s citizens think of public libraries as an economic anchor, potentially attracting “good businesses” to their area, and they are probably right. In South Carolina, the total direct and indirect return on investment for every $1 expended on the state’s public libraries by state and local governments is $4.48 – almost 350%.

There are lots of good reasons Americans go to school, public and academic libraries nearly three times more often than they go to the movies, and as you can see from this article it is not just the fact that there are more public libraries than McDonald’s. Libraries are simply making people smarter and helping them in their everyday lives.

Libraries connect ideas, information, and people

This is only a little part of all the things libraries are doing. Storytime inspires our kids with the power of great stories and their parents to read aloud, which again helps the children’s language development and makes them better readers. Makerspaces are emerging at libraries worldwide. Oh, and I almost forgot, you can still borrow good reads at your library – in traditional paper form and as e-books.

In other words, by being the hummingbird the library is doing its part to put out the fire by supporting learning and inspiring people to read, experience and think. In lots of different ways libraries empower people around our beautiful planet. Libraries are connecting ideas, information and people, and they are facilitating the development of new knowledge in their communities. I find it a very realistic vision that the fire will be kept in control. LEflag

Image credit:
[Jungle Orchids and Hummingbirds], Martin Johnson Heade, Painting, 1872, digital image, Yale University Art Gallery, http://search.openlibrary.artstor.org/object/AYALEARTIG_10312577805.

References:

This legend of the hummingbird is a rough translation of a French version of the story “La légende du Colibri.” I first heard it at Copenhagen Business School where world renowned chef Claus Meyer told it at a conference: http://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/the-legend-of-the-hummingbird/

Additional sources:

The Library Effect

The legend of the hummingbird reminds me of all the amazing things libraries do every day to support healthy communities and to empower the citizens within them:

One day, a long time ago in a faraway place, or so the legend goes, there was a huge forest fire raging the countryside. The animals were terrified. They were running around, screaming, crying and helplessly watching the impending disaster.

In the middle of the flames, and above the cowering animals, was a tiny hummingbird busy flying from a small pond to the fire, each time fetching a few drops with its beak to throw on the wild flames. It kept repeating this over and over and over again.

After a while, an old grouchy armadillo, annoyed by this ridiculous useless agitation on the part of the hummingbird, cried out: “Little bird! Don’t be a fool. It is not with those miniscule drops…

View original post 889 more words

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…