Be prepared for an extraordinary session, because it doesn’t happen often that two hardcore librarians from the Netherlands and two unconference evangelists from the UK join forces!
The four of us share a strong belief that to evolve, libraries need to become a space for the production and exchange of knowledge and know-how, citizenship and much more. To achieve this we need to transcend the ingrained concepts of library work and develop truly new concepts. But we definitely also have to deal with resistance to change.
In this session we will combine our expertise to introduce you to a new way of working, teach you to predict potential barriers and help you develop strategies to overcome them.
Towards a new way of working
Public libraries strive to enrich, empower and inspire people to support their full participation in society. But personal development does not automatically lead to good citizenship. For that, people need to develop a sense of community, an interest in the problems of their own living environment, empathy towards their fellow citizens etc. To achieve this libraries need to aim for a more active role in the engagement of people and communities. It means not just focussing on individual growth but also on the development of smarter and more sociable communities.
We will introduce a new work process that will help you turn the library into a participatory learning environment in which a continuous process of knowledge creation takes place. Through interaction with the collection, but – most importantly – through interaction between people in the community.
The process implies that the library addresses local issues and researches the answers together with people and institutions in the local community. But how can this be done? And what challenges do we face in taking up this new role?
After showing you a few examples, we will split up in two groups. The first team will be asked to think up ideas for activities, exhibitions, collection presentations etc. on a relevant social subject, using the new work process as a guideline. They prepare a short talk or pitch as though they were going to establish a similar project in their own library or community. The second team will be asked to think about the consequences, potential barriers and challenges of the new way of working. After discussing the outcomes, we will all work together to provide solutions to the challenges and to discuss whether the strategy would really work in real-life.
We think this new way of working will be of great interest to everyone searching for ways to turn the library into a participatory learning environment for the community. It’s also very important for colleagues struggling with the future of library collections, because this new work process completely redefines the role of the collection and turns it into a source of inspiration, working material and a living archive.
Are you anxious to learn more about this entirely new way of working? And do you want to learn how to deal with the resistance to change that will inevitably result from it? Then you’re more than welcome to join our session!
Rob Bruijnzeels is a qualified librarian who has been involved in initiatives such as ‘Libraries 2040’, ‘The Library of 100 talents’ (a new concept for the children’s library of the future), ‘The Architecture of Knowledge’ and ‘The LibrarySchool’, a groundbreaking masters level training course for the librarian of the future. He is a frequent speaker at home and abroad.
Rob is part of the Dutch Ministry of Imagination, an innovative workplace within Hanratharchitect BV for the development of exciting new library spaces.
Sue Lawson is Service Development Coordinator at Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives.
Since 2007 Sue has been involved in innovative digital library programmes, often circumventing traditional methods of formal consent. She spoke to the SCL’s Digital Leadership course, encouraging UK senior library managers to support staff creativity and was recently a Carnegie UK Library Lab mentor. Sue works for Manchester Libraries, looking after social media and working in the Business and Intellectual Property Centre.
Joyce Sternheim is a library consultant specialising in future visions and innovation in public libraries. As a trained librarian she is familiar with all aspects of library work. She uses the creation and exchange of knowledge to drive innovation in public libraries. Joyce has written several papers on library innovation, e.g. for the international journal New Library World.
Joyce is also part of the Dutch Ministry of Imagination.
Richard Veevers is Library Assistant at Lancashire County Council.
It’s no secret that Richard is an unconference evangelist. Between 2011 and 2015, and whilst working as a library assistant, he organised four annual Librarycamp unconferences. Crowd funded, independent and oversubscribed, each event encouraged hundreds of library staff to pitch and share novel ways to improve library services. Richard has worked for Lancashire County Council in public libraries across the county since 2002.
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