Cph-Berlin tour 2011

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Hanna Saario: good collections or good reference services?

I think this homework is quite demanding ’cause there are so many multifaceted problems here … ; ) But thinking my perfect library – university or polytechnic library that offers access to vast collections of relevant printed and e-resources but still can provide expert personal information service – rises the question of resources. In practice we generally have either: Good collections or good professional service, how to have both? Questions of open access are my fav’ too.

Hanna Saario
Diaconia University of Applied Sciences


Sara Lind: How do we communicate in a digital library?

I work with communication at a University Library in Sweden. Mostly there’s communication in an external point of view, to our end users, but to have a good communication to users there’s also got to be good communication within the organization.

I have several key questions I would like to discuss. How do you get “everybody” on the train with new ideas (within the organization)? Just the other day I got the comment “But we’ve already tried that, it didn’t work..”.

As more and more communication goes on via text we have to start talking about what good communication is in digital text messages. Our end users today is living “their whole life” on the web and taking care of their business online – but we still have to be there to support and help. How do we do that when we lack eye contact, voice, tone, gestures and body language? I’ve held a small seminar on my workplace in this subject but I would be glad to discuss it further. Is it different between different libraries? How can you express “more” than just facts when you communicate with text? How important is it?

I work a lot with social media and find it to be a very good way of communicating with users. I want to hear your experiences and ideas! I also like the way social media brings the work place together – the staff is talking about what’s going on on Facebook on their coffee break. Can we develop this even further? Can we use these channels to create a creative spot for the staff to share about their daily work and thoughts (that I’m very curious about – I work in such a big library that it can be hard to keep track of all the people who work there.)?

I’m also interested in strategic communication planning. Have any of you done a plan and a follow-up in strategic communication? What was it about? Did it work?

Sara Lind
Stockholm University Library


Phil Hall: starting now to imagine the library in 100 years

Does anyone remember the “old days”, not that many years ago, when there would be guys in a bar who used to make a bet with each other about some trivia question and then call the library to find the answer? Ever notice that those guys don’t call much anymore? Now that they have Google, Wikipedia, and a smartphone, they never think of calling the library. Are we no longer the ready-reference source of information for our communities?

At the same time, public libraries have always been the primary source of reading material for the recreational readers in our community and we have obsessively counted their every transaction; carefully noting the holds and circulation of bestsellers. And many public libraries have done the same with feature film videos and then DVD’s. Now, Netflix will send DVD’s into obsolescence and, perhaps e-readers will do the same to books.

When that happens, we have to be sure that we are still making a difference to the citizens of our towns. I have given two presentations this spring about envisioning the library one hundred years from now. My goal at Cycling For Libraries is to learn better ways to help my colleagues to envision a long-term future for their libraries, and to find the things they can start doing right now to reach that vision.

Phil Hall
Vancouver Public Library


Bruce Pomerantz: Find the balance between an open floodgate and a gatekeeper

When I attended library school and the first twenty years of my career through the early 1990s, I adhered to the principle–as did my colleagues–of providing resources to a library user and let the individual decide which materials were best suited for the intended purpose. I did not and would not indicate which materials were best or prioritize them in any way. During that interim, the amount of information I could provide was finite.  More than likely, the information in all of the resources I provided had been vetted by the publisher and then reviewers.  I could be assured of the validity of the information I provided, no matter which resource the individual chose.

Now, with the World Wide Web, I can assist an individual by accessing any number of online catalogs and almost an infinity of additional resources which have been vetted in varying degrees from maximum to not at all. I have the extreme options of acting as an open flood gate that overwhelms an individual with materials or a gate keeper who, perhaps inadvertently, withholds information the individual could use. How do I balance these two functions?

Bruce Pomerantz
Minnesota State Library Agency


Pamela Martin: How can we improve public library services and encourage young people to engage in library activities?

How can we improve public library services and encourage young people (age group 12 -24 teenagers) to engage in library activities? Currently we have events, but get very low or no attendance.  The offering of pizza does not even entice them to participate in the library events!

How can we identify the needs and develop programs differently than what we are doing so that we can provide services to teenagers?

Pamela Martin
Logan City Council Library


Silvija Tretkova: Time management in librarywork

The ideal library is a cooperation network rich in electronic resources. It enables everyone’s active participation in cultural and life-long learning processes and brings to fruition personal and community aspirations.

The network should be generously funded and promote cultural variations by region. In Latvia, I work on reading promotion programs which involve thousands of children as active readers and critics of the latest books. With that in mind, I see the ideal children’s library as hospitable place, both a virtual and a physical, with books and other media and information platforms. It should provide everyone with media creation opportunities regardless of whether the resulting product is a newly composed musical recording, a theatre show, writing, visual arts, an animation or a documentary. In this environment, every child would be knowledgeable and would feel confident of personal ability. The librarian would feel the same. The questions to ponder while I cycle:

  1. How to accelerate the development of child and teenager user services in the libraries?
  2. How to extend the day to 28 hours?
  3. How to successfully participate in social networking, without using too much time on them?

Silvija Tretkova
National Library of Latvia, Library Association of Latvia


Bo Jacobsen: To find the right path

I see a line of challenges for the libraries in the coming years both virtually and physically. How do we manage to develop our internet services, when Google is God and some of our basic services like book, music and film databases will be commercialized?

However, operating in a small municipality my main concern is how to develop the physical library as an attractive house for the local citizens.

I think it is absolutely necessary that the library is able to act in accordance with the local society and its needs. Being so, I predict that in the future we will see libraries moving in different directions.

Some will grow into local service centres and others will develop partnerships with other institutions and some will partly be operated by volunteers. The challenge will be to choose the right direction for just my library.

Bo Jacobsen
Vesthimmerlands Biblioteker


Anssi Sajama: invent 10 ways to make library more environmentally friendly

My home work for cyc4lib will be to find at least 10 new things that will make our library more “green” and environmental friendly. 5 of these things should be something that can be used in the near future.

Anssi Sajama
Espoo City Library


Hilde Nelissen: Make information fun and available for everybody.

Although heavily advertised as such, the internet does not contain all information available. The library has become an alternative rather than the main source of knowledge. How can I inspire users to reconsider the printed paper ? Perhaps by promoting the hybrid solutions already in place like online catalogues and databases. How can we do that in a playful and attractive way ?

In many parts of the world people do not have access to libraries or knowledge in general. It is our responsibility to help and assist these people. This improves their life but and has also an influence on the western world in more ways than we can imagine. How can we do that ? But even more important: How can we bring and keep this fact in our awareness, because it is so easy to slip back in our own little patterns of life.

In India there is a word that perfectly describes my vision: “Acharia”. It means teaching by example. Distributing information is just one shackle. The manner in which we do that, our conduct, our philosophy, our respect for the ‘other’, our friendliness and openness, will have a far greater impact, especially on the young people we meet on a daily basis.

Which brings me to my final point. Students of all ages are rapidly becoming accustomed to a host of online technologies from web 2.0 to the many social networking platforms. How can we best plug-in these opportunities to interact with our users?

Hilde Nelissen
Katholieke Hogeschool Limburg, Media, Arts & Design Faculty Bibliotheek


Ilze Marga: connect with bibliotherapists

First of all, a great professional challenge for me will be communication in English, because I do not feel free yet to communicate in English. However, there is one issue I am very interested in – it is bibliotherapy. I would like to listen to colleague’s view on it. Do other colleagues have experience in this field? Is this method used in practice in libraries? Are professional psychologists involved in bibliotherapy? I would like to establish personal contact with colleagues who use bibliotherapy in practice.

Ilze Marga
“Sunny Days Library” Service Point of the Riga Central Library
at the Children’s Clinical University Hospital


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