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The 23rd Internet Librarian has come to a close with attendees heading home filled with new knowledge and eager to experiment with what they’ve learned during the time they’ve been in Monterey.
Looking ahead to next year, Internet Librarian will be the 20-22 October with pre-conference sessoins on the 19th. It should be just as wonderful as this year’s conference. Not only that, the city of Monterey will be celebrating its 250th anniversary. What a combination!
Keynoting the third day of Internet Librarian is Rolf Hapel, Professor of Practice, University of Washington Information School and former Director, Citizen Services & Libraries, Aarhus, Denmark, speaking about his experience designing the Dokk1 library, which opened in 2015. Its vision statement doesn’t even mention books or technology, even though the library has both.
Important to the library’s mission is community engagement. The cure for eroding community engagement, according to Hapel, is to move from informing to involving, from giving access to information to facilitating exchange and sharing, from consumers of democracy to active participation, from their problem to our problem, from concerns to opportunities.
Libraries should find ways to mitigate the social challenges caused by economic shifts, post-industrialism, new types of jobs, disappearance of old jobs, and gentrification. We forget that some people find libraries intimidating, since we think of libraries as welcoming. Hapel recommends developing an inclusive service planning model and a community assets map. Libraries are an excellent place to teach all types of literacies and to build trust and fight misinformation. Tools, such as non-partisan fact checkers, aren’t enough; we need to address belief systems.
At Dokk1, the reinvention of the library involves using flexible spaces for many different purposes, from concerts and lectures to hackathons, open data days, and literature festivals. Robots at Dokk1 (they have two, both named Norma) get people accustomed to what happens when everything is robotized. Manufacturing, he noted, has returned to Denmark, but the jobs are done primarily by robot. In the library, robots even do story hours for children.
The Danish Digital Library (bibliotek.dk) provides the same backbone for all Danish public libraries, allowing for collaboration on purchasing and unsiloing data. Its digital infrastructure puts information into meaningful containers. Moving forward, Hapel listed a dozen 21st Century job skills, which he grouped into learning skills, literacy skills, and life skills.
The Tuesday Evening session on Wizards, Prophets & Our Future transformed the hotel conference room into a world straight out of the future. Full of costumes, music, and interesting sets, it began with Erik Boekestejn cradling a small robot as he set the scene. Rolf Hapel contemplated the library of the future and Rebecca Jones, complete with witch’s hat, told a story about a dystopian library future. Comments from Cindy Hill, dressed in full NASA garb.
Michael Peter Edson took on the role of the reference librarian in 2119, answering (or dismissing) reference questions.