Founded in 2011, the Cycling for libraries is an international cycling conference for librarians and library lovers. It aims to advocate libraries and increase awareness of the valuable services and resources that libraries offer to the community.
Almost 100 librarians and library lovers too part in the Cycling for libraries in the Baltic States 2012. Here we are in Tartu.
We are working together with local library associations and organizations as IFLA and EBLIDA. In June 2013 (from 18th of June to 26th of June) one hundred (100+) librarians and library lovers all over the world will join to cycle from Amsterdam to Brussels to show how vitally important they find the support of society for public libraries and the development of their services. Cycling for libraries pleased to cooperate with major actors in the European library field.
Cycling for libraries is a politically and economically independent unconference and a bicycle tour. It builds physical and mental well-being of library professionals, grassroots networking, and internationalism and — last but not least — the crucial role of libraries for the society and for the intellectual and scientific education in general. Cycling for libraries also supports environmental values and ecological way of life. Cycling for libraries inherits many values from librarianship. Openness, liberalism, access to information, lifelong learning and innovativeness are among these values. Librarianship is also by it’s very nature humanist, internationalist, cross-boundary and concrete.
Cycling for libraries a pioneer in modern networking for professionals
Road cycling and especially long-distance cycling is surpassing golf as the preferred way of networking for the modern professional says The Economist in its issue on May 26th. There are many reasons for that. First, it creates a stronger community and companionship than golf which is more competitive. Long-distance cycling also helps to relieve stress and focus on the essentials. Also cycling in a group make cyclists to work together and typically take turns at the front, a spot that requires more work and benefits everyone else, says the Economist.
Cycling for libraries was given a Riga city flag.
Interview with Cycling for libraries organizers (2011)
by Erik Boekesteijn from This Week in Libraries
TWIL #44: Zukunftswerkstatt live from Berlin: “A hot room, three guests and 40 minutes. These are the ingredients of another steaming live episode of This Week in Libraries from the Bibliothekartag in Berlin. Mace Ojala and Jukka Pennanen talk about their cycling unconference and Dr. Hannelore Vogt tells us more about the use of social media and gaming in libraries.”
|Cycling for libraries advocates libraries and raise awareness for their importance. Read the articles here.||The 2012 tour receiving a city flag from the Riga mayor|
We are talking about libraries
Cycling for libraries is a professional event for all people working with libraries – in addition to all library lovers, of course. So naturally the content is about libraries, and librarianship, and all things related to them. Being uniquely a mobile event, Cycling for libraries visits local libraries and meets with local colleagues. We will see some big libraries, and we will see some small libraries too.
Cycling for libraries is an “unconference”, and so there will be minimal exposure to PowerPoints and sitting in auditoriums listening to somebody talk on the podium. Instead we will workshop, debate, see, touch, hear and engage ourselves in more meaningful ways. At unconferences the programme isn’t dictated by organizers, but the content is made together by all the participants. By virtue of riding bicycles, we will experience the real environments where libraries and librarians operate. And yes. There will be bicycling.
Cycling for libraries is in the english language, and all the programme will be open and free to everyone.
How it all began…?
It all started actually more than 10 years ago as a dream to bike in continental Europe and to discuss informally in good company issues related libraries and their future. In EBLIDA Conference in Helsinki in 2010 a group of enthusiastic Finnish librarians became interested in the idea and were willing to get involved in this adventurous experiment. The purpose was to organize an unconference while examining how the librarians could cope with the 650 km-long challenge. We wanted to believe that a travelling together that long is a kind of a metaphor for the situation and challenges that libraries have to face today. The way in which librarian participants might survive tells whether we have a capacity to deal with the challenges as professional or not. The organizers felt clearly that the digital age brings a challenge for survival of libraries and their services. Libraries would not be able to survive without major changes. But who is to take the challenge for change? That was the thing we wanted to find out. And we want it still, because the challenges become more and more concrete day by day…
The first real kick-off for the whole Cycling for Libraries took place during the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in 2010 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Quickly brainstormed idea of the cycling unconference for librarians was set into motion when it was just at the level of a dream. We organized a 70 km demo-Cycling-for-Libraries tour from Borås to Gothenburg and the next few days presented the idea without posters, stand or PowerPoint, simply by chatting with people and delivering 800 cataloguing card looking spoke card ADs to IFLA visitors. It was a kind of fun thing to do and in fact the method proved to be an excellent way to get inside the international IFLA community.
Few months later we made our first recce to get to know the route and cycling circumstances in Denmark and Germany. Now we have done that twice. We rented cars from Copenhagen and Rostock to be able to evaluate cycling routes and possible options there in case we had to change the route plan. We flew to meet people from the libraries and library organizations and to present the project to them. Working in this kind of project could be difficult unless we know each other well enough on both sides. We were happy – and we always are we meet our library colleagues – to discover that the professional and political aspects of the Cycling for libraries as well as its obvious marketing potential were important for all of us. The warm reception from our partners’ side is always really a boost for us and really one major reason we want to do Cycling for libraries tours!
From the very beginning Cycling for libraries wanted to take advantage of the new communication and social media tools for organizing the event. The organizer group would consist of partly Finnish librarians and partly local organizers from target countries of each year. We are really in the business of cooperation and we gladly accept the fact that most of our partners are overseas. Although the Cycling for libraries is very much a case of face-to-face interaction and relevant encounters especially in terms of participants, the web has a key role in organizing and communicating the event worldwide to all who are interested in keeping libraries alive and functional.