Call for Ideas for Next Library® Conference Berlin 2018

Für die deutsche Version bitte hier weiterlesen.

As any Next Library® alumni knows, involving attendees as much as possible in creating the ideas, topics and formats so as to ensure relevance and opportunities for networking and learning, has been a key success factor in the past. For the conference in Berlin, we once again turn to you, the NLC community!

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Call for Ideas - Deadline was 22 November 2017, 10 A.M. CET

The Call for Ideas is over, we thank all submitters.

Please note: At this point, we want to collect ideas for topics. They can be applicable to all kinds of formats: interactive sessions, ignite talks, minutes of madness, pecha kucha, fish bowl, keynote speaks, panel sessions etc.

The aim of the conference is to provide inspiration, knowledge and insights that will enable its participants to become active game changers and transformers of library services and facilities, in close proximity with users and stakeholders in their own community.

The event in Berlin in 2018 will provide room to address all aspects of Public Libraries as Active Contributors to Community Development in Diverse Societies. We are sure that this subject allows for a multitude of questions and issues that will ensure a scope of relevance and perspective for future of libraries across the world. In case you think of an idea which deals with a different topic please don’t hesitate to let us know. All your suggestions are very welcome!

If you can think of a catchy and memorable title of the above mentioned focus – please share it with us in the commentary field! 

What kind of questions do we need to ask to find answers?

We want to gather questions and find answers and solutions during the Next Library Conference! Please provide your idea in framing a question!

Here some initial food for thought – feel free to add more:

  • The library as (work) space: What will the next generation library look like?
  • The library as a forum for urban development: How can we effectively collaborate with other libraries and partners?
  • What role does the diversity of the users play for public libraries?
  • For what kind of societal questions do public libraries already have the answer?
  • How can we visualize the high potential of public libraries for policy makers?
  • How do librarians need to re-think their job profile, and which life-long learning offers do they need to become the best possible librarian in a world full of digital native users?

Again, please note: Right now, we want to collect ideas for topics. In a second step (presumably in December 2017), we will launch a Call for Proposals (also here on the website), which will then ask for specific suggestions for speakers and projects, incl. formats.

The deadline for submitting your ideas (and a title suggestion, if you want to) is 22 November 2017, 10 A.M. CET. Please use the comment field below to submit your ideas for the conference!

We are very excited to hear from you!

Your Next Library® Conference Berlin 2018 Team

NB: Calls from Next Library® Aarhus available here

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Comment by Next Library Berlin 2018 on November 23, 2017 at 11:46

We are very grateful for all the interesting ideas and topics you have shared with us in response to our Call over the last weeks – thank you so much! The Call for Ideas is now closed. In a next step, we are preparing the Call for Proposals on the basis of the topics you have submitted. Please find more information about the Call for Proposals soon right here on our website!

Best regards

Next Library Berlin 2018 Team

Comment by Catalina Escobar on November 20, 2017 at 17:41

The discussion around the relation of libraries and Internet of things (IoT) needs to be opened. How are libraries going to embrace and use IoT?

Libraries are hubs for knowledge and information, and IoT devices are new sources of knowledge and information. Libraries need to start thinking about this so they can always be relevant to their communities. 

We are already thinking about this in Medellín and we are working with libraries to install pollution sensors to monitor air quality. This serves as a perfect excuse to teach users about IoT, data literacy, big data, etc. In addition, this helps measure SDGs.

Comment by Grif Peterson on November 17, 2017 at 20:56

Partially due to the Aarhus conference earlier this year, a number of libraries in the US, Europe, and Africa have been running learning circles with Peer 2 Peer University. Calling on their experiences, I'd love to see some topics that address how libraries can serve to provide equitable learning opportunities for patrons beyond offering one-off sessions or access to online content. The open access and community-first mentality of libraries leads me to believe that they are better suited than schools to address many challenges related to learning and education!

Comment by Sue Lawson on November 17, 2017 at 16:33

I've been thinking about collaboration and how we can we move from catalogues to cooperative sharing platforms? This blog post from Common Libraries and the comments include some powerful ideas:

Laurie Putnam -  “Could it someday be possible to catalog library holdings and programs, shareable community stuff, and community expertise in one integrated LMS? Wouldn’t it be cool if you could search the library catalog for “French” and find not just language books and recorded audio lessons, either in the library or in the community network, but also information about the library’s conversation groups and pointers to local French speakers who would be willing to tutor you? Then the community really does become the collection.”

I'm also interested in better outreach and increased connections with our communities. Can we empower citizens to co-design and deliver new library services or have a say on potential services?


Comment by Martina Kranenburg on November 17, 2017 at 13:19

For Next Library 2018 I would like to address the role the public library can play in the empowerment of people within the democratic system. How can we facilitate the process of citizens becoming active, responsible, informed participants in a democracy? Can the public library become a platform for education/information/exchange about the democratic system: ‘How does it work? Which paths can I travel? How can I affect change? How can I contribute to my neighbourhood, my city, my country? How can I make myself be heard?’

Which steps can a library take to achieve this goal and keep its neutral position? I would love to hear ideas from other libraries/organisations/educators about this subject and brainstorm with the participants of Next Library!

Comment by Lotte Duwe Nielsen on November 17, 2017 at 13:00

Public Libraries as Active Contributors to Community Development in Diverse Societies is a great theme. There are lots of interesting and relevant topics to explore – and great examples to learn from.
Personally, I am interested in how libraries can document the impact of activities that are not related to transactions of media. How do we measure the impact of partnerships, community engagement, the library as a meeting place, the library as a learning space, the library as cultural hub in diverse societies?
At the Next Library Festival 2017 Jason Griffey from Measure the Future and DTU Library made an interactive session about Smart Library. 
I think it could be interesting to continue the sharing of ideas and experiences in this field.

Comment by Sidsel Bech-Petersen on November 17, 2017 at 12:50

Design thinking are spreading throughout the library field and is becoming a tool, a mindset and a set of methods that librares can use to improve their services, spaces etc. 

But what if design thinking could also become a library service - something that could be used by the users to create change. Richland Library in South Carolina did this event which sounds amazing: Could be interesting to discuss and find out what the libraries can do in this field. Creativity and small design exercises might become part of what you experience when you come to the library? Or maybe the library can support longer projects or initiatives in the city using human-centred methods?

Comment by Helene Bruhn Schvartzman on November 17, 2017 at 12:09

Libraries are essentially Sustainable institutions. Sustainable climatevise and economiccaly:  sharing ressources, circular economy, social equality, free and equal access, trustbased, third place for meeting etc etc.

How can we unfold and emphasize this position, and use it proactively to support civic empowerment in light of the Climate Crisis?

Comment by Helene Bruhn Schvartzman on November 17, 2017 at 12:00

Aarhus Public Libraries have a policy regarding Branch Libraries as community Centers/Community Hubs. We have worked intensely on involving communities in the programming and development of the libraries, but also the other way round  working to get the library out there engaging with communitites. This requires that the library, the staff and the tasks are flexible, dynamic and adaptive - but how do we keep up the pace in everchanging environments, how do we stay true to the policy and to our patrons and how do we stay open to new ideas and methods. In Aarhus Design Thinking is one of the answers, but I would love to hear how you all do it?

Comment by Jane Kunze on November 17, 2017 at 10:47

In Aarhus some of us are working with the public library's role in teaching and building data literacy among students and soon hopefully the general public. How is big data affecting our lives, and how can we use them to create better and smarter cities, equality and democracy for all. As data is changing the way companies make profit and expand their business, who will ensure that this data revolution also serves society as a whole? The library could play a role in this context, but it would require new skills and new tools? I would love to discuss those topics among peers at the conference:-)

Comment by Janet Hollingsworth on November 17, 2017 at 7:06
A few ideas from BLDG 61 in Boulder, Colorado in partnership with the University of Colorado Arts Department. We have adapted a performance art piece developed by a Chicago artist in 2002 to be one of the most vibrant community programs in our makerspace. The Sewing Rebellion is armed with the motto: Stop Shopping, Start Sewing. This monthly series activates, educates, empowers, and unites members of our community to come together to participate in a project of the month with donated or upcycled materials, or work on mending/tailoring in a communal environment (this has been an especially safe space for LGBTQ members of our community with need for mending and customizing clothing as well as working poor with limited ability to purchase new clothing). A few questions have emerged that might be relevant for the Next Library conference:
What do maker/non-traditional programs and services provide local communities?
How do we fund, build, and maintain healthy community partnerships for makerspace programming?
How do Libraries partner with the Arts to strengthen community and break down barriers to entry?
How can the library better serve its community as a center for democratic discourse through performative maker programs?
Comment by Christine D'Arpa on November 17, 2017 at 4:20

I am interested in exploring the ways libraries expand their collections in ways that address and help cultivate community health and wellness. I am particularly interested in libraries with gardens and farm plots and the many ways those resources are used by community members. Included among them the opportunities these resources present for programming about nutrition and wellness or, for example, create opportunities for physical activity that offers mental and physical health benefits.

Comment by Sacha van Tongeren on November 16, 2017 at 18:56
For the Amsterdam Public Library (OBA) the year 2018 will be about visioning the future. In 2019 we will celebrate our 100th anniversary and for that occasion we want to share an updated vision. Of course there is no such thing as a library of the future. Our future public institutions will be very different from the ones we know today, and they will continuously change focus, strategy and character. This changing dynamic has been part of the Amsterdam’s DNA since the 17th century, and nowhere is it reflected more clearly today than in the kaleidoscopic diversity of the city's population. The Amsterdam Public Library (OBA) - founded in 1919 to provide access to knowledge, culture and information for all Amsterdam citizens - has been growing with the city for nearly a hundred years and pioneered wherever citizens pioneer. 
For Next Library Berlin me and my colleague Maarten Lammers would like to propose the following ideas:
idea #1: casting creative teams
“Come up with something new! And make it good.” Have you ever said that? More and more leaders nowadays make this demand without thinking twice. We want to innovate and many organizations are finding it difficult to keep pace. By commissioning something "new and good", maybe you'll find your way back on the right track. Or maybe you don't quite have a tangible concept in mind for your groundbreaking new product or service, so you've delegated it downwards in the hope that someone else might come up with some useful ideas.
But take a step back for one moment and consider – is this really the right way to spur the creative energy within your team? We need to be clear here: we are speaking about creative teams, not operational teams. An operational team looks to solve defined problems with known solutions. A creative team works on understanding and re-articulating the problem itself first and then searching for solutions that are unknown or unconventional. At the Amsterdam Public Library we are experimenting intensively with new ways of working and investing time and resources in training to help librarians transform from information gatekeepers to learning coaches. We would love to share our experiences and discuss strategy and vision around this with others.
idea #2: digital detox
In the shift to the digital age, libraries could become more important than ever. As we search for new ways of improving the flow of accurate information, of connecting with one another, and preparing ourselves for an ever-more digital future, libraries have an essential role to play in our communities. The abundance of information, Internet, technology and gadgets are creating new societal problems. Why are we constantly pulled to the Internet, how is technology changing our social life and mankind itself? What are the new feelings we experience online? What processes technology triggers within our psyche and how we can efficiently live in a digitalised world? Libraries can be the place for people to disconnect and reconnect to others, a place to discuss how Internet and gadgets define us, and a place to detox from a digital overload. We would love to co-create a concrete program for this together with our international colleague institutes.
Comment by Tomáš Štefek on November 16, 2017 at 18:40

Hi there. Our team at university in Brno (Czech Republic) is mad about designing social innovations in libraries (that would be the THEME suggestion), creating inclusive services and environment there, as well as services supporting local communities and dialogue. Some of the target groups of these inclusion-driven services would be socially excluded, migrants or national minorities, ethnic groups, unemployed, people with disabilities, seniors etc.

We're going to run an "incubator" for libraries, build on modified design sprints, that will take them all the way through the designig process, leading to tested service prototypes. Then we'll be helping them to make their innovations real by connecting them to investors and teaching to cooperate and fundraise. All done by design thinking methods and by cooperation with experts from wide range of areas. (That - design sprint and other service design methods as a social innovation or community boosting tools in library - would be our another THEME suggestion.)

Comment by Maxine Bleiweis on November 16, 2017 at 1:03

Great libraries give off a certain vibe the minute (or two) you walk in the door.  Let's explore what that vibe is and how we can create it together!  Maybe something like this:  The two-minute test:  you have two minutes or less to form an impression of your physical library space as customers walk in the door. Explore how to design an inviting, functional space and give off the best vibe using a human pinball machine of library conference attendees!

Comment by Birgit Lindl on November 15, 2017 at 18:29

How can libraries respond to their visitor's needs/wishes and extend their opening hours? E.g. late in the evening, early mornings or on weekends. How can they get financial support by local authorities and communal financiers to offer these flexible services? How can we convince local authorities that it is important to invest in libraries as they are major important to any community while resonding to the communities needs and while showing up as a future-oriented, sustainable renommee project for the community and the politics.

Libraries are offering great services to a continuously growing and manifold group of patrons and visitors. Libraries are changing their status from institutions that provides books into modern social hubs where everybody feels like being 'at home' and is able to learn, work, meet, read books, listen to audiobooks, play games etc.These services should be available flexible at any time!

Open Libraries in the Nordic Regions have extended their opening times from 30 h to 100 h per week and patrons love it. Let's discuss options and solutions how the so-called "library of the future" in these terms can be realised.

Comment by Nizar Keblawi on November 15, 2017 at 15:14

Dear all,

We work with an EU project called A Million Stories; its collaboration together with Malmo public library (Sweden), Roskilde library (Denmark), Cologne library (Germany) and Future Library (Athens, Greece).  A Million Stories is inviting refugees and asylum seekers to share their stories. The partner libraries in the project countries are starting to collect stories from people who have had to flee their homes and leave behind family and friends in the hope of living in safety. Each library will interview 160 refugees. Refugees could choose between video interviews, sound interview, paint their story or sing. We will upload all our stories at our website.

The topic could be: Libraries – Storytelling & Refugees or/ Libraries – Integration

You could visit our website at , we are still working with our website.

Creative Europe has written an article about the project:

Best regards

Nizar Keblawi, Project manager, Malmo public library, A Million Stories

Comment by Stephan Schwering on November 14, 2017 at 18:41

Rethink the library! We have a new "LibraryLab" in the central library of the Stadtbüchereien Düsseldorf (public libraries of Duesseldorf) and we want to go with the people together the way into the future. "Try out digital equipment, practice yourself in the virtual world, measure yourself in gaming, learn about digital life & reading, discuss digital topics."

Since LibraryLab's concept of integrating Düsseldorf's digital community and winning them over for its offers and further development, the LibraryLab was also presented at the "BarCamp Dusseldorf" and the "Next Level Gaming Conference" and attracted many interested listeners.

So the communication with the target group takes place mainly via social media. We believe that whoever wants to use social media has to be personally involved. We try to connect a library community through the LibraryLab through personal networking

We would like to present our new LibraryLab on NextLevelConference with the topic "The LibraryLab builds the library community of the future - but how?"

Comment by Brigitte Döllgast on November 14, 2017 at 15:00

Dear all,

librarians develop amazing ideas and bring their communities forward in so many ways. International exchange of ideas, strategies, best practices and worst failures(!) are the key to make the library community thrive. How do we make sure that this exchange happens beyond those who attend conferences?

And then of course comes the question on how we can make sure that politicians and management finally realizes that libraries are not about books, but about service to the community.   

Comment by Deem Stam on November 14, 2017 at 10:58

Dear all,

Our question for the Next Library conference in 2018 is how we, as public libraries, can successfully co-create with that whimsical and hard-to-reach group of youngsters (14-27y)?

For a number of years, the public library of Rotterdam has focused specifically on the target group of young people between the ages of 14 and 27.
With a wide range of services and products, the library is able to reach this target audience successfully. For this she has set up a physical floor mainly focussed on the youngsters. This successful concept will be further developed in 2017-2018 into an integral formula for youngsters, which can also be implemented in other libraries: For, with and by youngsters.
We can make a big contribution in the form of a presentation and workshop in which we seek the solutions for successful work for and with young people in the context of a big city.
In September 2018, the results of the research will be available to the youngsters target group and the formula is expected to be developed.
We would like to share this with all interested libraries and present it during interactive workshops.

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