Always a highlight of my work calendar, this year’s Autumn Gathering was a full and varied day with plenty of interest to this government librarian. And of course a great place to meet those colleagues I’ve only worked with via phone or email over the year.
Keynote talk on ‘Library as Third Place’ – Diane Bruxvoort, University of Aberdeen Librarian and Director
Wikipedia defines Third Place as the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home (“first place”) and the workplace (“second place”). Examples of third places would be environments such as cafes, clubs or parks. Diane explained how the Sir Duncan Rice Library opened in 2012 has embraced the concept of a library as third place.
To achieve this the library is open 24/7, designed to be a low stress place and one of interaction. Staff have also redesigned some services such as inter-library loans to make them easier for students to access. Unpretentious and playful and a home from home to a diverse population. It also plays host to student societies and community groups.
Diane explained these changes are not revolutionary. They are attitudinal, cultural and pervasive and library staff must innovate and adapt to continue developing the library as a 3rd place. Though it does represent a cultural change and challenge for library staff.
Free for all: open licensing at the National Library of Scotland – Gill Hamilton, Digital Access Manager, National Library of Scotland
Open licensing allows people to reuse your content and redistribute under the same licence you used. The NLS has done this using Creative Commons licences. Gill explained NLS’s approach to open licensing was ad hoc:
- NLS content digitised by the Internet Archive – licensed under Creative Commons
- NLS out of copyright images made available via Flickr Commons
- Europeana – NLS contributed content to these collections
There was inconsistency in metadata and licences and access, and moral issues around applying copyright on digitised works where the originals are out of copyright. Legislation came in that helped remove barriers and improve access, and in 2014 NLS introduced a licensing policy and streamlined down to 3 Creative Commons licences. The policy was introduced making content open to all, and now part of the role of the NLS Wikimedian in Residence is to push to make more content open.
Coding in Libraries – Dr. Martin Goodfellow, Coder in Residence, Glasgow Life
Martin gave a very interesting overview of this work from its start 4 years ago to date. He began by explaining the process of coding can help you in other areas of life and recommended Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions.
This work is about teaching young people in Glasgow how to use technology in digital making classes through CoderDojo in 12 clubs in Glasgow. Held in public libraries and using libraries PCs. These have been very popular and have waiting lists. Martin also assured us you don’t need to know about coding to run one. Just be enthusiastic and happy to work with young people.
Dojos cover basic programming languages Scratch and Python aswell as web technologies, cyber security, physical computing (equipment such as a Raspberry Pi). Apart from the physical equipment all the tools used are open source and accessed through a browser.
Some of the initiatives include participating in National Coding Week on 19/9/16, the Hour of Code project, coding music using Sonic Pi as part of Celtic Connections, Wee write! – coding for creative writing and Build it Scotland using SketchUp and printing 3D models created on Minecraft.
Glasgow Life is planning to set up clubs in all Glasgow public libraries and introduce to school libraries. However clubs do need volunteers to run them, but Martin explained the work he does talking and presenting about Glasgow Life’s coding projects encourages volunteers to come forward – especially from colleges and universities.
Decade of Commemorations programme – Ann Duffy and Linda Ming, Northern Ireland Libraries
Based in the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies this was a very powerful and fascinating insight into Northern Ireland Libraries programme – a decade of commemorations from 1912 to 1921.
Financed by the Together: Building a United Community fund it includes exhibitions, talks, displays, workshops, drama and music telling story of Ireland’s past and it’s shared heritage. Bringing people together, creating discussion in an inclusive and respectful way. Just one example of this is a reader development project – 2 cities 1 book. Bringing readers groups in Belfast and Dublin together.
I don’t think I’ve seen such a shining demonstration of the positive role libraries play in community life. Anyone wanting to discover more about some of this work should check out The Library Men of WW1 and Living Legacies 1914-18.
Although acknowledging some political, cultural and religious barriers remain, Ann and Linda described how the programme has resulted in greater community engagement and increased footfall in libraries with communities talking together and opportunities for them to work together. It’s good to hear another 5 years of commemorations are planned.
Information Literacy in Scotland – Cleo Jones and Jenny Foreman, The Information Literacy Community of Practice
The Information Literacy Community of Practice (IL CoP) is an online community of practice which is open to everyone both within and outside the information profession, primarily in Scotland but also elsewhere. It is for anyone who is interested in information literacy and associated skills and competencies.
This workshop introduced delegates to the IL CoP and how it is working to progress the Scottish Government’s Smarter Strategic Objective and SLIC’s strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015-2020 focusing on 5 of the strategy’s strategic aims:
- Reading, literacy and learning
- Digital inclusion
- Economic wellbeing
- Social wellbeing
- Culture and creativity
Delegates were then asked to provide examples of how libraries are helping to achieve each of these aims using a ‘speed dating’ format. I have a declared interest here as a member of the IL CoP I helped facilitate the workshop – and it was fast and furious with lots of examples for IL CoP members to collate. It was personally really exciting to hear all the work libraries are doing to achieve these aims and we hope to share the results soon. In the meantime please check out the workshop presentation.
Final keynote – Libraries, Scottish Book Trust and key national agendas – Marc Lambert, CEO, Scottish Book Trust
For me, a key message of the conference was how libraries underpin culture and Marc summed that up perfectly. Starting with asking if the Chauvet cave paintings could be considered a library, then moving to Scotland’s first lending library at Innerpeffray before describing what the Scottish Book Trust is doing now through Bookbug and the First Minister’s Reading Challenge to contribute to SLIC’s strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015-2020.
Marc pointed out these programmes are funded by the Scottish Government and national ambitions should motivate us to develop literacy skills.
Marc also stated the role of libraries in 21st century still needs to be addressed and asked what kind of collaboration between government, the Scottish Book Trust, SLIC and others will be needed in future to deliver programmes.
October 23, 2016