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Juha Manninen: public libraries in boxing ring of municipal politics


In city of Lahti, Finland, the politics decided that branch libraries will be closed down and transformed into library stands that will operate mostly in lobby premises of other civic services, eg. health centers, maternity clinics and senior houses. A public library is of course a place where many communal services can be provided. However, in this model the library is only in position of an additional service, not the main actor. This has been seen as a step to a path where libraries can be closed down easily, without resistance of loud and annoying citizen acts.

Can these kind of libraries – or joint stands – be seen as a tool to maintain at least some library services in cities with economical difficulties or are they just a political trick to get rid of costs when needed?

Library is still strongly tied to a certain place. A branch library creates different practices of everyday life when compared to main library, it’s part of social ecology of its area.

What could the staff of public libraries do to make an influence that libraries as physical spaces wouldn’t extinct in situations like this?

Juha Manninen

Rebecca Allsopp: self-publishing and library collections


My problem is about library responses to changes in the publishing industry, specifically with regard to the increasing popularity of self-publishing. As the number of self-published works increases so too does the variety. The extant collection of self-published works now includes everything from traditional “vanity press” titles to (a few) genre best-sellers by first-time authors to established authors who reject publishers’ offers in favor of a DIY approach.

Collection development policies typically do not include self-published works unless there is a high public demand for a particular title. This is a responsive policy, but as the publishing world changes and self-publishing becomes more established and respected, libraries will need to be more pro-active in their selection of self-published works.

My question is how to develop new policies that allow for greater inclusion of self-published titles while still maintaining the role of the library as an arbiter of quality. This is not so much a question of which titles to add to the library (this will still be subject to local needs and purposes and gets to the theoretical heart of what a library should be) but how to identify and acquire relevant, quality self-published works given limited staff, time, and financial resources.

Rebecca Allsopp

Lauri Holopainen: connection with philosophical values and operative strengths produce new services

Yes, libraries are important to our customers in many ways but we also have to convince the decision-makers about our strengths – again and again. I want also to clarify my vision about librarys new services for next 10 years. I’m also interested in values. Could it be possible to provoke more discussion about the meaning and importance of values? If the values are only theoretical, something is wrong. What are the values in different libraries? How are these values expressed in daily life? Why these values have been chosen? (For your information: Values in Espoo City Library are education, courage, know-how and social responsibility.)

Lauri Holopainen

Katie Herzog: Library aesthetics in an information age

I am interested in exploring the “image” the library is “selling,” and developing alternative platforms to interface with the public, including library artist residencies and locally elected classification systems. Branding and marketing are popular approaches many libraries feel forced to adopt to stay competitive, keep their image fresh and relevant, and maintain funding. In an over-saturated ad culture where it is increasingly necessary for the recipient to tune out messages entirely, let’s use our medium, information, creatively. If we are losing patrons to the internet and digitization, in our strategizing to invite them back in, let’s consider what libraries offer which online searches don’t: physicality, qualia, architecture, politics, community, light, human guidance, local historical archives, public space, etc. Let’s utilize the challenge of relevance as a means for institutional innovation.

Katie Herzog
Molesworth Institute

Satu Kemppainen: how to save libraries?

Council services, such as social and health care, education,  child-care and culture/the arts, depend on the  money available. In small towns there can be a main library and several branch libraries in different districts. People can come to a library to read newspapers and other publications, free of charge. People have access to computers, as many services are run online. The Library is a place to meet people and spend time and, of course, to borrow books, cds and films.

Many councils need to save money and one alternative is to shut down branch libraries. This is alarming as libraries offer services to the elderly, families and those who do not work. They will miss out on a place where they can get information and spend time for free. Not everyone has easy access to the main libraries that are often in the centre of town. How can we save the small, but vital, local branch libraries?

Satu Kemppainen
The National Library of Finland

Lauri Holopainen: list the strenghts of public libraries

I would like to think alone and together with you about what are the strengths the public libraries. What are those strengths today and what could they be tomorrow? I’m sure there will be a competition of public funds and it could be useful to be able to describe our strengths anytime in one’s own words & enthusiastically!

Secondly, i’m also interested in the possibilities of open data. What kind of mobile apps are possible by using open data?

Lauri Holopainen
Espoo City Library

Sonia D. Kirkaldy Nielsen: Build justification for all types of library services

You all have some really interesting and good ideas about library work. I am looking forward to discussions about all the different issues. No doubt, we will come up with some good ways to solve the different tasks within the field of library work.

I have mainly been working at picture and media libraries. For a few years I worked in the archive at a Danish financial news paper (Børsen) and an image library (Scanpix). The last 4 years I have been working in the library at TV2. At TV2 we catalog the news programs, archive the footage and do research for the journalists.

The library is the ”memory” of TV2 and it is very important to be able to go back and find footage, interviews and other things that have been broadcastet. For some people it is difficult to ”see” the importance of the library because we work in the ”background” and behind the scenes. Other places I have work it has also been difficult to make the library more ”visible”. My questions are:

  • How do we make library work more visible?
  • Are we to ”silent”?
  • How do we get out there and show people what we do?
  • Could we be more visible by finding new areas where our library qualifications can be used?

Sonia D. Kirkaldy Nielsen
TV2 library, Denmark

Juha Manninen: How to make librarians agree about partnering

Library executives, staff and customers are confused. New methods of service and new partners should be integrated in order to survive in a world where library financing is being reduced. Some of us are ready to accept all kinds of co-operation and circulation forms while others are trying to prove that this way libraries are going to loose the last of their credibility.

My concern is how to get these two parties to come closer to each other?

Juha Manninen
Turku City 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

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

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