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David Lee King

Reinventing Spaces & Places – Internet Librarian 2012



This was the closing keynote, and had some really cool ideas on reinventing libraries.

Speakers – Erik Boekesteijn, Jaap Van De Geer, Paul Pival, and Jeff Wisniewski

Grand pronouncement: We cannot save libraries by doing more of what we have done before, because the outcome will be the same.

Simple observation – media consumption is very obviously shifting. So we need to shift, too.

Opening random thoughts (random because of me, the notetaker, anyway):

  • Jaap and Erik wanted to have the best library in the world. So they toured the US and collected best practices in libraries.
  • Libraries need a new business model. Don’t focus on books – focus on stories.
  • Showing pictures of a beautiful library … With no people in it. Versus a new Apple Store that is full of people.

Where to start?

Viewsy – tracks people’s cell phones to measure foot traffic in a building. More info from their website:

“We provide a way to digitise an analogue world, turning visitor foot traffic into measurable insights that can be analysed and acted upon. We do this by measuring anonymous phone data from each customer walking past and through your store, data which is then analysed and presented for you on an easy to use online dashboard.”

What are successful spaces doing?

  • Library of 100 Talents – the teens designed their own youth department. Looks like a really fun place
  • Creation spaces –  TFDL digital media commons as example
    • 12 Mac pros with full a/v editing suites
    • 4 soundproof editing suites
    • DJ mixing board
    • Etc.
  • Fountaindale Public Library – 7000 square foot of digital media creation studio
  • Westport CT Public Library’s maker space – Placed in the middle of the library, in the stacks

Learning outside the classroom

  • Providing spaces where students an share ideas in public locations – promotes peer learning
  • Can also serve as formal learning spaces
  • Collaborative spaces can be in wide open areas and should have multiple uses

Renting out spaces

  • Assen public library in the Netherlands
  • They have a television studio
  • They make their own programs, but also rent out the space to professionals to use

Keys to success:

  • Involve the community
  • DOK library as an example
  • UrbanMedia Space Arhus Denmark – another example

What do the users say?

Paul played a video of students talking about the library. They want to collaborate, and want to have quiet study spaces. Go figure.

But the point here? Actually go ask your patrons what they want the library to be, then try to build that.

We don’t know what the future holds….

So create/design with flexibility in mind.

  • Flexible libraries/spaces
  • Flexible teams
  • Flexible furniture
  • Flexible infrastructure (add more wifi than you possibly imagine you’d need)
  • Raised floors – so you can put data and networking in the floor.
    • Me – that’s huge, considering in some parts of my library we have to drill to install more wiring. And that’s pricey.
  • Agile walls (you can move them easily)
  • Flexible technology – iPads replace desktop computers at north shore public library
    • No mediation required – there are check out stations / kiosk that will dispense iPads…
  • Interactive walls and flexible content
  • Marketing your space

What if you don’t have any space?

  • Reclaim that space – kill the large reference desk
  • Get rid of things that aren’t used (ie., 75% of your collection, perhaps)
  • Share space (airport library in Amsterdam)
  • Crossover with museum

Bucharest Metro Digital Library – poster walls of books with QR Codes. Scan and immediately download the book. Nice.

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