The Shanachie tour Guys, aka Jaap van de Geer and Erik Boekesteijn, are an inspirational duo from the Library Concept Centre in Delft in the Netherlands. They regularly visit libraries around the world and record their experiences on video.
Jaap and Erik have travelled the world looking for the best in library innovation and spent Monday morning sharing it with librarians from Christchurch and beyond.
A shanachie is an Irish storyteller who travels round villages telling and gathering stories in return for board and lodging. This is exactly what Jaap and Erik decided to to do but instead of folklore they were looking for library stories.
A passion to bring the world of gaming into libraries led them to the United States to meet Jeny Levine, a librarian with a passion for gaming. This was followed by the making of the video, “If you’re not gaming, you’re losing”. However, they wanted to find out more about best practice in libraries and made a further trip to the US in October 2007, this time coast to coast from New York to Monterey, California.
Their presentation took us on a whistle-stop tour of their encounters in the US accompanied by some truly amazing interviews with librarians including Paul Holdengräber, Director of Public Programs at the New York Public Library, Matt Gullet of Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library and Eli Neiburger of Ann Arbor District Library, Michigan.
The second half of the programme looked at the Library Concept Centre in Delft known as DOK. The guys showed off their own innovations in this library which led to them being named the best library in the Netherlands in 2009. Highlights included the Gaming Flightcase, a portable gaming console that can be taken anywhere and the Multitouch Microsoft Surface Cultural Heritage Browser, an incredible application that browses the collection of the local photo archive and presents photographs of streets of patrons/users based on their ZIP code.
It is hard to convey the enthusiasm and passion these two Dutch guys brought with them but a look at some of their videos gives a flavour of their amazing energy. You’ll even get a glimpse of some of your Christchurch City Libraries colleagues.