Planning a new library with the aid of blogging

The municipality of Time with some 15,000 inhabitants is situated on Norway’s southwest coast. In 2007 the decision was made to build a new library sharing premises with the Garborg Centre, a national institution commemorating the Norwegian author and social activist, Arne Garborg.

With a view to increasing not only interest but also debate about the new library, the blogging programme WordPress was taken into use. The home page provides a blog containing documents, plans and press comments on the project. In addition articles are published on subjects relevant to the planning process. All pages and contributions are open to general comment. The library’s date of completion is August 2010, so the blog should become quite extensive as time goes by.

The use of blogging in a municipal planning process is quite unique. The fact that anyone can offer their views, even anonymously, is in stark contrast to normal planning procedures. Our hope is to gain the involvement also of people working in the library sector outside of our own municipal region. We also aim to establish interaction with our normal Internet pages by having the blog accept RSS from and by links from our search engine.

So far the indications are that these measures have succeeded in raising interest in the new library, but also that it can be difficult to get people to take an active part by blogging. The solution will almost certainly be for us to follow the standard procedures of committees and public meetings, while retaining the blog as an additional channel for those who prefer digital input. This should serve to broaden and deepen the whole process.

Vidar Lund
Chief Librarian, Time Municipallity

vidar.lund AT

Translated by Eric Deverill

Chief Librarian, Time Municipallity