Be still my heart, the new Calgary Public Library is simply gorgeous. But for me, beyond how lovely the design is, I love the 21st century library ideas that run through it.
You can check out the design and the full article at Fast Co Design, but here are my favorite bits about the modern philosophy:
Twice as large as Calgary’s existing public library, it’s designed to be both a circulating public library and a community gathering space, a combination bookstore/computer lab/cafe/event space/social hub that provides a pathway between two disconnected neighborhoods.
There is talk of not having security gates, though the details of that have yet to be figured out entirely.
Then there is the focus on ease of access for both of the neighborhoods that are being connected via the structure.
This is a plan for a library that is going to change neighborhoods in the city, focus on connections and collaboration. It’s a vision of a new modern library, and it’s very exciting.
For the last day and a half, I attended an amazing conference called Poverty Matters. It was right down the road from my library, cost very little to attend, and opened my eyes to issues affecting what my library does and people who are already hard at work addressing those needs that the library can partner with.
The room was filled with people who are social workers, drug abuse counselors, case workers, housing authority staff, shelter staff, and many more. I was the only librarian in the room.
I tell you that not to brag, but to show that there are opportunities right in our own communities to attend conferences like this that open your eyes professionally and inspire. This conference about the war on poverty spoke to the library mission on many levels. It offered context for what we are seeing inside the library, inspiration on what can be done, and even let me meet new people from my community that I did not yet know. It was amazing.
Here are a few of the things I took notes on during the sessions:
Urban areas have up to 80% of children without a father in their home.
In mediation, be hard on the problem and soft on the people. Address emotions, because ignoring them does not mean they go away.
48% of the population is poor or low income.
10,000 baby boomers retire every day.
Sessions ranged from how to communicate better to the importance of father’s in a child’s life to a full poverty simulation that ran for a full afternoon.
So I’d recommend taking a risk on a conference like this. I certainly am glad that I did!
According to IT World, an EU court has ruled that European libraries may digitize books and make them available at electronic reading points without obtaining permission first from the copyright holder.
The EU Copyright Directive has an option specifically for publically accessible libraries that allows them this right to digitize books.
"The right of libraries to communicate, by dedicated terminals, the works they hold in their collections would risk being rendered largely meaningless, or indeed ineffective, if they did not have an ancillary right to digitize the works in question," the court said.
However, this right does not extend to allowing users to print out the books or save them to a device. This sort of copying is not allowed for in the exception.
PewResearch released the results of their latest study today that looked at how people aged 16-30 use libraries and books compared to those over 30. Many people believe that Millennials are not using libraries in the same way, that young children are turning away from them, and that reading too is falling off.
Here are some of the major findings. You can head to their website to read more.
- Millennials use lots of technology but also say at a higher rate than those over 30 that not all of the important information is available online.
- 43% of Millennials have read a book on a daily basis, a rate similar to older adults.
- Millennials are just as likely as their elders to have used a library in the last year and even more likely to have used a library website.
A lot of librarians can talk positively about the importance of the Summer Reading Program at our libraries. We talk about the “summer slide” and how public libraries fill a gap particularly for children at risk.
I’m not sure all libraries though have a way to talk about why reading is important for children beyond just knowing that it is. An article in PsychCentral written by a Children’s Therapist gives some great and more broad reasons that children need books:
1. Improves kids’ ability to manage potentially stressful life events
2. Increases feelings of recognition and management
3. Enhances relationships
4. Calms and strengthens the mind
5. Improves self-confidence
And honestly, these are the same benefits that adults will find if they start reading more. I love having deeper reasons like this to talk about with people who think that reading is dead, that we just need connectivity to the Internet and all human knowledge is there. Books are different, and these reasons are part of our story about why that is.
Looking for some new ideas or a glimpse of the future? Well, the new CNN10 is sure to inspire you. These design ideas are specifically about public spaces and so have a lot of ideas that could inspire change in your library.
There are ideas for new office designs that increase collaboration and creativity. Perhaps we can’t afford a swirling single-surface desk that defines the entire space, but we can incorporate these new private/shared spaces in our work areas.
Playgrounds that kids build themselves can inspire libraries to make room in their buildings for interactive play areas, perhaps even on a large scale like this.
Pop-up living rooms can be a new model for outdoor public spaces that libraries can offer.
Even more ideas can be gleaned from less obvious connections. Hospitals that set patients at ease can speak to the need for libraries to do the same. Hint: huge public service desks are not designed to make our patrons comfortable.
The Pew Research Center offers a list of seven surprises about libraries that they discovered in their recent studies.
1. People aged 65 and over are LESS LIKELY to visit a library than younger people.
2. The 10% of Americans who have never used a library still think libraries are good for their communities.
3. Only 4% of Americans are e-book only readers.
4. Readers of both digital and print formats prefer different formats in different situations.
5. Library users are MORE LIKELY to be book buyers and prefer to buy books than to borrow them.
6. There is a majority of people interested in personalized recommendations from their library, despite its impact on privacy.
7. There is no real consensus among Americans on how to handle the changing mix of print and digital collections.
For more data on each of these check out the Pew Research Center site.