About a month ago I participated in an online library conference, Libraries 2.016 “Libraries of the Future”. As I am working at home these days, I got to curl up with a mug of tea and listen to the webinars – a different pace compared to being at a conference in person.
Because I’m not in a physical library these days, and separated from colleagues that I see everyday, it was refreshing and reinvigorating to be with a group of people who have the same passions as I do about libraries.
In particular about libraries and community. Most sessions had a discussion about the role of the libraries in the community. The key point I got from the various sessions was that the library need to come to the community, and not to wait for the community to come to the library.
- Librarians should work at understanding data for fulfilling social responsibility in our communities. Data can be used to improve the well being of our communities by identifying needs of our communities.
- Working at using web extensions to bring cultural and scientific information to our users, instead of relying on users finding that content (check out EEXCESS).
- Libraries should empower our communities. The Community Librarian is a community cheerleader.
- Libraries are not a building, but it is about people. Libraries should meet people where they are – go out into the community and find out what they need.
- Make connections with colleagues and other community members.
Two web resources that were new to me were:
The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries (http://www.libraryvision.org/), and the Center for the Future of Libraries by the American Library Association (http://www.ala.org/transforminglibraries/future)
If you are interested in checking out the recordings and resource links from this conference, you can check it out at http://www.librariesofthefuture.org/
The role of libraries in communities, and working with a community as a librarian, has become a passion of mine. I worked at achieving that while working as the Fine Arts Coordinator at Saskatoon Public Library by reaching out and working with various arts groups. And I’m excited and looking for opportunities to continue this in new communities as I travel around the world.