Recent Library Developments

FINFO – Information for ethnic minorities in Denmark FINFO is a web service provided by the Danish State and University Library/ The Danish Central Library for Immigrant Literature. The service is maintained jointly by the Immigrant Library and 68 regional and municipal libraries.The overall aim of FINFO is to provide representatives of ethnic/language minorities with better access to information about their rights, obligations and opportunities in the Danish society. Furthermore it is an objective of FINFO to prompt relevant authorities and organisations to provide targeted information for ethnic minorities on their web sites. This information is presented in 13 languages.

Additionally, the web site includes regional and municipal information. Furthermore there is a global link index that serves as a gateway to information about relevant nations, language groups and continents.

As a service to participating libraries there is a guide to proper handling of multilingual support on web browsers, and the guide links to download sites for multilingual programmes, plug-ins and true type fonts.

FINFO is developed with financial sup – port from the Development Pool for Public and School libraries and the web site can be located at: www.finfo.dk.

Ann K.Poulsen, Danish National Library Authority

The Generator – an experimental library in the starting block In Sweden the town of Västerås is planning to initiate an a ctivity library. Besides offering the user the possibility of seeking information, it also intends to create experiences,arouse curiosity and inspire the users to instigate their own personal creative efforts. It is meant to be an experimental library where new work methods, for both visitors and staff, will be on offer.

Västerås is Sweden’s sixth largest town with approximately 128,000 inhabitants. Two years ago, plans for a ‘house of culture’ was in the making. It was suitably named CuLTUREN.The name CuLTUREN derives from the standard chemical designation for copper (Cu) as the building is situated in the town district called Kopparlunden (Copper mews),the remainder of the name accounts for its content, that of culture in all its aspects.

Dynamic environment CuLTUREN is an exciting and, in many respects, a pioneering building for cultural activities and has in a short time made notable inroads into the cultural life of Västerås. It is a forum offering various parties a great number of options. The environment stimulates creativity for amateurs, non-profit organisations, professional artists and cultural workers. CuLTUREN houses all art forms and there is considerable commitment from its users and participants. An added attraction is the historical industrial setting characteristic of the early 20th century. Today the area contains the Technology Community incorporating new enterprises. There are at present 130 new business ventures with just over 1,000 employees situated here. CuLTUREN also has exhibition rooms in which guest appearances are presented within the areas of music, dance, film and lectures etc. It also houses an independent school, initiated in the autumn of 2001. The school’s main subjects are within the fields of media and Information Technology (IT). The Kopparlund senior high school will eventually have a media laboratory and teaching will take place within the building.

Experimental Library An established forum is needed within CuLTUREN, whose terms should be dictated by the visitor and developing an individual profile. The intention is to create an experimental library, known as The Generator. The experiment will be administered as a library branch of Västerås Public Town Library. Its content will be contemporary, appealing to a younger audience and the library should be easily accessible from CuLTUREN’s main entrance.

The aim is not to build a library in the traditional sense adhering to the accepted use of media, equipment and staff, but rather to encourage a fresh approach and complement to other library activities. It will not be a lending library where books are borrowed and returned. Instead, it should be seen as a multimedia library allowing the visitor to try his hand at new approaches involving work processes as well as other forms of media. The contemplated content of The Generator might be to offer the visitors access to computers, periodicals,newspapers, poetry, comics and certain books. The library should also be an open forum for all kinds of debates, instigating discussion evenings, activities and workshops in cooperation with Kopparlund senior high school and youth organisations active within CuLTUREN.

Method development and recruitment The intention of The Generator is to create a stimulating and thought-provoking environment to develop library activity methods targeting young people and young adults. The Generator is not only the concern of the town of Västerås, but also a collaborative effort for further education in conjunction with the County Library of Västmanland as co-ordinator. The experimental library, The Generator, intends to strategically develop recruitment issues. By means of contacts with the Department for Library and Information Science in Uppsala, a number of trainee postings will be made available to deal with the alternation of generations. The matter of recruitment, and the readiness to incorporate new incentives from the educational/research community, is important to the development of regional library activity.

Cajsa Broström, librarian,Västerås Town Library

Lego Mindstorm Centre At Kongsberg Library children and teenagers will have the opportunity to go exploring in an electronic playground. Lego bricks are supposed to teach them how to use computer technology in programming and project works. By installing the Lego Mindstorm software, the users will be able to create computer-programmed robots that can react to their environment and carry out a range of both simple and complex tasks. The Norwegian Directorate for Public Libraries supports the project, which is aimed at children between eleven and sixteen years old. Besides the intentions to increase the interests in the technique,the project is an opportunity to investigate the influence of Lego Mindstorm on other library services within the age g roup.

- We want to expose relevant literature that hopefully stimulates the curiosity among young people. Too often we inhibit children’s curiosity, says the director at Kongsberg Library, Bjørg Sælid, to the local newspaper, Laagendalsposten.

The seamless library As part of the ABM-development, the Norwegian Directorate for Public Libraries and the National Office for Research Documentation, Academic and Special Libraries co-operate on a pre-project in Oppland that started this summer. In accordance with the idea o f the seamless library, the aim of the project is to improve the availability of information resources for the inhabitants in the region, as well as examine its necessity. It will be done through the establishment of a regional library network, working independently of existing sectors and institutions.

Oppland regional library, Gjøvik University College and the Sandvig Collections, Maihaugen,are participating, but all public and school lib raries are invited to take part.

All inhabitants in the area are supposed to benefit from the project, although more specifically it is directed at people taking further education.

Ann K.Poulsen, Danish National Library Authorityapo AT bs.dk

Cajsa Broström, librarian, Västerås Town Library Nyhavn 31E • DK 1051 Copenhagen K • Denmark • splq AT bs.dk

Librarian, Västerås Town Library.
Senior Advisor Agency for Culture and Palaces