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Blog # 4

Global Communities and Global Librarianship

For this week’s readings, I chose the module on Global Communities and Global Librarianship. I wanted to explore what other libraries around the world are doing to serve underprivileged communities. I will be discussing four articles, Responding! Public Libraries and Refugees by IFLA. (2015), Helsinki Central Library Oodi Chosen as the best new public library in the world by Oodi (2019), The library of the future is an 80-year-old converted train shed by Schwab, k. (2019), and Dream. Explore. Experiment by Stephens, M. (2016). These articles highlight how libraries are thinking about immigrant communities, space and books, architecture, historic buildings, and partnerships. 

How are libraries around the world coming up with solutions to help immigrants that are coming into there spaces? Libraries in major cities throughout Germany are rethinking what kind of documents to ask patrons to obtain a library card. “The Association of Public Libraries in Berlin (VÖBB) is the first German Library Association which provides library cards to refugees without demanding an official certificate of registration.” IFLA. (2015). This is one of the most important steps that a library can take to help underprivileged communities. The libraries are cutting through red tape and opening their doors to anyone who wants to use the services.

International Libraries are also thinking about space flow and architectural beauty. The “Helsinki Central Library Oodi was chosen as the best new public library in the world” in 2019. Oodi (2019). The library was designed together with customers and received more than 2,000 ideas on how the library should look and function. By allowing the community to give their input on the architectural design “the customers immediately made Oodi their own.” Oodi (2019). The Director of Oodi Anna-Maria Soininvaara said, “The Public Library of the Year award tells us that the world has also taken notice of this.” Further, community members are more likely to be long-term library users if they are part of the process and their ideas are taking into account.

In addition, international libraries are designing buildings with a historic perspective and with a third space in mind. The “LocHall,” library “short for Locomotive Hall,” “it’s an example not only of adaptive reuse at its finest, but also a “third space” outside of home or work that mixes events, exhibitions, and learning.” Schwab, K. (2019). The library was built in an 80-year-old locomotive storage warehouse with 58,000 square-foot of space. Here patrons can learn new food skills, read books, hold or attend events. Schwab, K. (2019). The idea of the third space is something very interesting because communities are beginning to use the library as a gathering place.

Photo: Stijn Bollaert/courtesy Civic Architects

How are international libraries have been able to transform themselves into a vibrant part of the community? Libraries are doing this by forming partnerships with cities, institutions, and businesses. Dokk1, the public library in Aarhus, Denmark, was designed with people in mind not books. Stephens, M. (2016). By rethinking the way buildings are being built and partnering with community members, libraries are becoming a third space for the community. “Partnerships, Østergård noted, are a cornerstone for keeping Dokk1’s vibrancy going.” Stephens, M. (2016). Overall, libraries must collaborate with their communities and cultivate partnerships to bring in patrons, seek inspiration and feedback to create a third space where all patrons can gather and partake in library events and programs.

Reference:

IFLA. (2015).  Responding! Public Libraries and Refugees. Retrieved from https://www.ifla.org/files/assets/public-libraries/publications/library-service-to-refugees.pdf

Oodi (2019). Helsinki Central Library Oodi chosen as the best new public library in the world. Retrieved from https://www.oodihelsinki.fi/en/helsinki-central-library-oodi-chosen-as-the-best-new-public-library-in-the-world/?fbclid=IwAR1s8tUj7PoFGt27m4JMfpzPtjdSTAEopK_sqU7FcviZWxOe4AMXurKmjM0

Schwab, K. (2019). The library of the future is an 80 year-old converted train shed. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/90316219/the-library-of-the-future-is-in-an-80-year-old-converted-train-shed?fbclid=IwAR17fZ3TDaYY2n-fQEvpGJLrXw8ft-ZoxoX4VO7CbXno6eKEz0xCRrBzA2Q

Stephens, M. (2016). Dream. Explore. Experiment. Retrieved from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=dream-explore-experiment-office-hours


3 Comments

  1. I loved reading about Dokk1–I think that was the one constant in every choice we had for this week’s blog post, was reading up on that particular library space. While I personally didn’t enjoy how far apart the books were spaced from one another, I did love the idea of a much larger area with less books and more seating, TV screens that shared information in multiple languages, and the overall layout as a community space with partners teaching classes and leading free programming. The library system I work for is one of the best in the region and has really good funding compared to others nearby but it’s still nowhere near Dokk1’s league! Definitely something to aspire to.

    • @lkrikourian I love old signs and the idea of having screens everywhere is not appealing to me but it is more practical. Especially if the screens are being used to help patrons who speak different languages use the library. The library system where I work is very advance but is not as advance as the Dokk1 library. We also have a long way to go but we are on the right path.

      Thank you for reading my blog!

  2. “Overall, libraries must collaborate with their communities and cultivate partnerships to bring in patrons, seek inspiration and feedback to create a third space where all patrons can gather and partake in library events and programs.”

    Clear and succinct summation of what is happening on the global stage with progressive and user-centered librarianship.

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