Citizens information at public libraries
SPLQ has already outlined some of the changes that the reform of the municipality structure brought with it for the public libraries in Denmark. The libraries now have an official role in providing citizens with help and information on public authorities and their services whether it be acquiring a digital signature or ordering a health insurance certificate.
This has been the reality for the public library of Svinninge ever since the local town hall was closed down at the turn of the year when the five municipalities of Holbæk, Jernløse, Svinninge, Tornved and Tølløse were merged. The staff of eight has got used to the fact that library users may not only ask for Astrid Lindgren’s The Brothers Lionheart but also a new bus pass or batteries for a hearing aid.
The line is drawn at dealing with the users’ money matters. According to the staff, after some initial confusion the service has worked fine and multitasking has become a part of their working day.
Fitness for mind and body at your local library
The Idea Store of Fredericia Sports Centre is a public library branch with a difference where the users can literally take care of both their body and soul during the same visit. The latest of Fredericia’s idea stores was modelled after its counterparts in London and opened in mid-August 2007 with a grant from the Danish Library Agency. The goal of the idea stores is to combine traditional library and information services with opportunities for life-long learning and take these where the potential users are gathered. One of the objectives is also to bring members of the community together, at natural meeting places such as sports halls or schools. At such familiar gatherings ideas get exchanged, giving way to new ideas. After a good swim you can meet people, borrow books, search the Internet and also get help from a librarian a few hours a week.
(Danmarks Biblioteker 6/2007)
– a playground for developers Biblioteklaboratoriet, The Library Laboratory, is a cooperation between The Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority – through the programme the Norwegian Digital Library– and the Oslo University College. The goal is to create an open rendezvous for librarians and all who use and develop the digital resources and tools for libraries. The developers would like to see the Laboratory as an active platform for communication and development, a playground for all who are interested in library data and social technology. The ultimate goal is, of course, better user services through new and innovative solutions.
The Laboratory makes use of blogs, wikis and the Library Thing. All users are invited to add their articles, descriptions of projects or definitions of related terms in the Laboratory wiki. In connection with the opening of the Laboratory site several competitions were announced for e.g. finding the most functional library website in Norway.
Hearing out the local community
The Danish Fredericia Library is not the only Scandinavian public library to follow in the footsteps of the idea stores in London. In January 2008 the Garage Library branch of Malmo public library will open its doors. It is called Garage Library for the obvious reason that the building has earlier served as a bus depot. One of the goals, as for other idea stores as well, is social inclusion. In Malmo, the Garage Library is next door to a music hall, school, community centre and a care housing unit. The library will cooperate with the local college and its lighting design education program. Also the Centre for urban integration will move into the same building.
In autumn 2007, the library has already met with the locals and asked their opinion on the library services needed in the area. Computers, new technology, a café, creative workshops, homework help and all kinds of exhibitions are already on the wish list.More wishes and ideas can be sent through the library website. Hearing out the local inhabitants is likely to give the new library a good start and a warm welcome within the community.
Presenting electronic resources During three weeks in October the public libraries in the Stockholm area made an extra effort to present all their electronic resources and services on the web. Several ads were published in national newspapers and a website presented the services with links to all local library websites.
Apart from the more well-known eservices of renewing and reserving library material on the web library users can borrow e-music or e-books and use databases and other electronic resources licensed by the library. Now the users can also borrow talking books through the library website. The streaming e-books can be listened to while connected to the Internet, and the loan period is 28 days.
Finland’s first mobile library in need of restoration
While most news is by definition about new developments, it’s sometimes refreshing to come across greetings from the past. Finland’s first mobile library started on its route in Turku in 1961. It was replaced by a new model in 1975 and sold on as a motor home. In 2000 it was, quite accidentally, found elsewhere in the country where it had served as lodging for fishermen for several years. A recently founded association is now trying to get it restored to its former glory.
Super librarian to the rescue
Super librarian, Super Libby to her friends, is touring the libraries and schools in Finland. The Super Librarian campaign is a joint effort of the Finnish Library Association and the Ministry of Education to instruct and inform library staff, teachers and parents about media education for 7-8 year-olds.
After a series of seminars several dozens of pilot schools and libraries will work together to enter more deeply into the world of media with the help of material on media education produced during the campaign. The package will present inspirational projects, list contact information for media education professionals, give practical tips for librarians, teachers and parents on media education etc.
The Super librarian has got her own logo, theme song (plus some), posters and brochures which all the pilot schools will receive. Needless to say, there is also a weblog where all media educators can send in their comments.
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