Public libraries

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Cycling for libraries Croatia 2020

Merja Marjamäki: Position of a library in the evermoving tides of change

Merja MM

This year is the 150th anniversary year of Turku City Library – it is just the right time to think about our library  and libraries on the whole.  Turku City Library is the library for the region of Southwest Finland. We also form Vaski conglomerate with 17 other libraries. It means great co-operation and responsibilities. Turku Cultural Affair was unified and library started collaboration with Turku City Theatre, Turku Philharmonic Orchestra and city Museums. We co-operate a lot with schools. Later Turku Cultural Affairs merged with Sports and Outdoor Activities and Youth Services to form Leisure Affairs. To meet the challenges posed by these organizational changes we are continuously revising our plan of operation. And in the midst of these various reformations the main library is busy to serve 5000 daily customers!

To summarize: I’m interested in the position of a library in the ever-moving tides of change. I’m interested in library networks and all kind of co-operation. And the question about the manner of education we ought to have is valid.

Merja Marjamäki
Children and Youth services, Turku City Library

Claudia Serbanuta: Is Everyone Welcome at the Public Library?


Public libraries are dedicated to providing services to all members of their community.  However, librarians face many challenges in implementing this desideratum.  From not being aware of special groups in the community, to budgets that force decisions that are exclusive to some populations, to allowing stereotypes to influence the librarians’ work, and so on, the reality is that in each community there are people who can be better served by the public library. During this unconference I will be inquiring my fellow librarians about the challenges they face when trying to serve different minorities and groups in their communities. In an increasingly global society, public libraries should and can serve their public in all its diversity.

Claudia Serbanuta (Twitter Blog)

Caroline Baab: Libraries incorporating non-written resources into their collections

I’m interested in libraries incorporating non-written resources into their collections. It seems like seed ‘libraries’ have been springing up recently and tool ‘libraries’ can be found in some cities. Similarly, hackerspaces have become linked with some public libraries. What is the place for these types of resources in a public library? How would these or other similar resources benefit the community and add to a library’s programming? Do they change the public’s perception of their local library? And how so?
Caroline Baab
Recent MLIS graduate
McGill University

Élodie Dehon: How to get over the crisis of adopting too many roles in libraries?


Originally, libraries were a place for highly educated people. Then, as the literacy became more common, libraries became a place of knowledge and conservation. Now, the public libraries are becoming a mix of different visions : a place to work, a place of general and local information but also a place of fun with a variety of activities for different age groups : animations, exhibitions, plus managing projects: educational and cultural programs with schools, nursing home, nurseries, local associations, training technologies…

Public libraries have many tasks and in the same time budgets have been reduced (in some countries many libraries have even been closed). Moreover, statistically, public libraries reach about only 5–10% of the local people (Belgian chiffres). Accomplishing all their missions seems more and more difficult: how to choose between different activities, which of them is the most important ? Isn’t that too much for a one service? How could people have a clear vision about the library services with this kind of dispersion? How to communicate and reach the right public with each action?

Kind regard Élodie Dehon

Bo Jacobsen: Reinventing the local library

Bo Benchmark 2013

The topic that I am most focused on to-day is the revitalization of the public library. If you could imagine a local community without a public library, what would make you feel the urge to develop a brand new one? In Vesthimmerland, Denmark, we have asked ourselves and  both users and non-users that question. This spring we have arranged three ideashops for the staff and generated 350+ ideas. We have also asked 864 citizens about their opinions. We are now analyzing the results of this work. Then we will reorganize the us, and then we will act. Our work is based on the DANISH “four-room model”described in Folkebibliotekerne i vidensamfundet (Public Libraries in the Knowledge Society, 2010). The model consists of four overlapping rooms: Inspirationroom, Learning room, Meeting room and the Performative room.


Facts about Vesthimmerland and our libraries
Population: 37.500
4 libraries with a staff of 16
5 bookcafeés in villages (managed by volunteers)
Visits (2012) : 256.000
Loans (2012) : 333.000
Opening hours: 7-22 (each day)
Annual budget: 1.7 mio EUR

Bo Jacobsen (Facebook LinkedIn)

Eeva Rita-Kasari: The collaboration between (public) libraries and local schools


In my current job I collaborate a lot with local schools by teaching information/media literacy skills to primary and secondary school students (from 7- to 13-year-olds). I’d like to share experiences and ideas with people from other countries and with different backgrounds. Do you collaborate with schools? How? What kinds of skills are relevant for today’s schoolchildren, in today’s information society? Information retrieval skills, copyright issues, how to efficiently use Google, social and new media skills, something else?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas!

See you in June!

Eeva Rita-Kasari (Facebook)
Vantaa city library

Juha Kortesluoma: public living rooms vs. peace and quiet


Many (or at least some) public libraries are evolving to be more and more like event venues and public living rooms. Living room like children’s and youth’s sections with video games etc. have been popular among younger patrons and parents have liked them too. On the other hand, many people think that libraries should be places of peace and quiet. How would it be possible to combine these two opposite interests? Is the only possible solution to profile libraries as public living room/event libraries or as quiet libraries (or if the library is big enough, to provide separate sections for both purposes)? Is time up for quiet public libraries?

Juha Kortesluoma

Kaisa Inkeroinen: What means good quality of customer service to us and what it means to our customers?


What means good quality of customer service to us and what it means to our
customers? Do we consider same things as good customer service? And how to measure it? I’d like to find some new revolutionary method other than surveys or these happy face or not so happy face machines.

Kaisa Inkeroinen

Anssi Sajama: library fees—what should be free for all?


Does your library have services that cost? Libraries should have equal services for everybody, which usually means that the library use is free of charge except for material fees (i.g like copying paper) and fines (i.g for returning books late). In what cases can the library have fees on a service and not put its customers in an unequal position?

Anssi Sajama

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