Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Conference archive: IFLA 2008

Inspired by the darkly dismissive words of our mayor last night (he says the new Central Library project was stalled because council couldn't decide what a 21st century library looks like - although really there were other, more concrete, issues involved in stalling it...), I have posted my conference notes from the 2008 International Federation of Library Associations congress in Quebec City. IFLA is like a librarian's United Nations; over 4000 delegates from countries around the world get together every year to discuss programs, policies, best practices, and new ideas.

In the posts linked to above, you will find musings about designing libraries and library programs for children and teens, national library programs to target adult illiteracy, international efforts to promote books-as-therapy for children facing trauma, activist art libraries, oral history collections, and joint-use library facilities (libraries and museums; public libraries and school libraries; public libraries and academic libraries).

So, I would draw your attention to a few 21st century libraries - some mentioned at IFLA, some just sitting around waiting for interested people to discover them. Building one is really not that complicated; it just requires vision (and trust me, OPL staff have vision! In fact, we even have a conceptual design plan for the New Central Library) and some bravery. As a recipe, I would recommend slow cooking various forms of knowledge: hardware (books, computers, art, manuscripts, microfilms + people, for starters) and software (databases, online tools, e-books, digital audiobooks). Add spaces that allow for quiet contemplation, group work, and inspiration. Stir frequently and serve daily. Consult (in no particular order):

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