Saturday, May 12, 2007

Prototyping the Future Library

Thanks to Darlene Fichter for pointing out* this really excellent video from the Aarhus Public Library in Denmark. "When everything is available online, why come to the library at all?" The video attempts to answer this.

It is in English and reports on a project they called The Transformation Lab that included the Literature Lab, the Music Lab (which included an Inspiration Zone), the News Lab, The Square, and the Exhibition Lab.

They present five lessons learned (and shown):
- flexible spaces are necessary
- open events are a good idea and well received
- the physical library needs to be augmented with interactive technology
- networking is critical among users, IT specialists, library staff, architects etc
- users need to have a more visible role inside the library

Simple techniques produced the greatest impact...the users like to become involved "as long as it was not too much trouble and providing it brings about an instant result."

The narrator comments that users have been forced to dismiss the book as library brand (makes me wonder if they've read The Perceptions report) and that they are co-creators of a new library space.

And reading the credits, I see the project was supported by the Danish National Library and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. So, are libraries in North America making grant applications for such projects?

*Darlene has other good videos noted at "Blog on the Side".

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