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Ingrida Bučionytė: what do you need to do or know to become a helpful information tool for a doctor?

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I’ve just started my job in the library of medicine. So it’s very interesting how coleagues from other medical libraries work these days. What do you need to do or know to become a helpful information tool for a doctor?

Ingrida Bučionytė


Sören Niehäuser: The library as the main learning space in university – chance or risk?

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Historically, the function of libraries in Colleges and Universities has been to store printed media and provide it to teachers and scholars for learning and research. As it was often not allowed to take books on loan to work at home, the library also has a long tradition of being a „Learning Centre“ where students sooner or later will have to come to work.

All that described above has changed a lot since a couple of years. Online ressources, E-books etc. have become more and more important, students have become more and more mobile in their work with Laptops etc.

Interestingly, as the library environment has the reputation of beeing a good place to learn, at least in Germany the use of library buildings as learning space has to the joy of the library officials,not decreased, but in the contrary, significantly increased, much aided by the provision of of highspeed W-Lan, Power Sockets etc.

With that developments in mind, it seems easy to argue: „We (as Library/Librarians) will remain very important in the academic world as we are the preffered learning environment which we provide to the students together with our information ressources, print and online.“ But will that be the case? University officials in Germany sometimes argue: „Well, objectively seen the refectory can provide learning space as well, as can multi-function seminar rooms etc., there is no need to focus on the library when it comes to learning space, its just a question of the right technical equipment, furniture etc.“

Nontheless it seems that students prefer libraries for their learning, even if the university provides learning space somewhere else. Undoubtedly thats a nice thing for us as librarians, but that leads to important questions:
Is being a „Learning space“ the future of the library? Can providing space for learning really compensate the possible loss of the importance of physically accessed media?

And more practical: What makes a library such a good learning space that it will be the long term winner of the „competion of the different learning spaces“? What can, on the long run, the library offer that other service providers can’t?

Sören Niehäuser


Marina Vazhnik: what future at scientific branch libraries during a digital epoch?

I work in the Belarus Agricultural Library (www.belal.by) in a department of Personal Users’ Service (Personal users are what come to library. Except them we have collective users. There are the organizations and institutes which our library serves under contracts, giving the information on “desktop”).

Last years, despite comfortable conditions (use in service of modern technics and the technologies, open access to printing fund and electronic resources, free preservation of the information, scanning, copying, the order for delivery of documents from domestic and foreign information centers, etc.) the steady tendency of reduction of users’ quantity coming to library was outlined.

The professional purpose of my trip – is an exchange of experience in service of users of scientific branch libraries.

Marina Vazhnik


April Kessler: Academic and public library partnership

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How can we, as an academic library, partner with and better promote the public library to our students, staff, faculty and alumni? When students graduate they no longer have the same kind of access to the university resources. The public library provides excellent resources, but our customers are often unaware of how the public library can serve their needs. We are also the primary resource of leisure reading for 30,000 staff members – reinforcing the idea that the academic library is their only library option even though we purchase a limited number of popular materials. How can we provide the best service to all users while maximizing limited resources?

April Kessler


Hal Loewen: find the most effective ways to teach students and patrons to be life-long learners by selecting the best resources and methods for searching those resources

My homework is to find the most effective ways to teach students and patrons to be life-long learners by selecting the best resources and methods for searching those resources.

Most of my students and many of the patrons I deal with will only search Google and WIkipedia to find their answers. Both are great for finding information but it is important for them to know that there are many other great and specialized databases out there that are better at finding the information they need. They need to be shown how to understand what they are looking for, that is, how to properly define a question. Then they need to be shown how to  select the best databases to answer those questions – the trick is to teach them to be successful at using those databases so they know how and when to use something other than Google and Wikipedia.

Here is hoping the volcanic ash does not keep from making the start of the ride.

Hal Loewen
University of Manitoba


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


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


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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