The modern library debate

Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye was on Kim Hill’s show recently, talking about his work. He provided an interesting description of what he thinks a modern library is like.

Think about the library as a network hub, a place where the community hall is merged with the library, and social services are also activated there. So you have life-long learning, you can learn motor mechanics, flower arranging, yoga, you can get a book, you can get a class on languages, you can get government services. So it really becomes a hub, and it becomes one of the few places where you see multi generations of people, people of different languages and backgrounds, all coming under a service that is supplied in their community and neighbourhood.

And it helps with this idea that the library is more than just a container for books, which is really a post-war idea to do with educating and edifying communities,  but the library has become in our communities a place where communities overlap and children and adults overlap, a place which can edify and continue life-long learning, which we know is now incredibly important. It’s no longer just getting your education till your eighteen or twenty and then that’s it. There’s so many technological changes, information is changing so much, that life-long learning is part of our way of life in big cities.

Sir David Adjaye, Wikipedia

Aspects of this seem to fit nicely with the vision for our new Central Library.

Listen to the full Radio NZ interview with Sir David Adjaye.

Public Libraries: the changing face of the public library  features:

  • information on how public libraries are changing in the UK,
  • debate about the Idea Store concept (which Sir David was involved in designing).

MetLib 2014 : Intrepid Libraries

2014-05-15 15.04.23-2What do librarians enjoy doing at conferences even more than networking with other librarians? Visiting libraries of course and Metlib has given ample opportunities for that. I could hardly contain myself as, reminiscent of a school trip, with much excited chattering and a sense of anticipation of what was to come we clambered aboard our bus on a glorious Auckland day, We set off on a trip that would see us visit libraries at Botany and Mt Roskill, Tupu  – Auckland’s dedicated youth library – as well as the Marae at Unitec.

Highlights for this self confessed architecture junkie had to be the Botany Library with its elements of industrial chic. It is a space that delivers on so many levels and a forerunner in its day of RFID and incorporating a retail model in a mall setting. It features some stunning design elements such as the amazingly lit seating in the YA area.

As if this wasn’t feast enough for the senses, Thursday afternoon saw us on the ferry bound for Waiheke to visit the new library there. Unfortunately  due to construction difficulties the building is somewhat behind schedule and is not yet complete. However we were allowed to wander through and it promises to be another stunning building in Auckland City Libraries retinue.

The architect explained that the premise of the building is that the library is gathered under a sheltering canopy of trees. Light wells in the space are filtered through a patterned layer to mimic the lighting of an exterior grove of pohutakawa. A beautiful exterior amphitheatre lies north – accessible through almost an entire wall of glass doors and the library itself is accessed through a courtyard shared with additional spaces including a small gallery and a piano museum.

New Zealand really does do great libraries.

Get an international mentor today! (or maybe in September…)

International Librarians NetworkThe International Librarians Network is a peer mentoring program aimed at helping librarians develop international networks. They believe that innovation and inspiration can cross borders, and that spreading networks beyond our home countries can make us better at what we do.

Sounds like a good idea to me, such a good idea in fact that I’ve gone and signed up!

If you would like to know more, or even sign up (go on!) take a moment to check them out.

Come on September, only 177 days to go…

New Professionals Network – If you’re new (like me) then this is just the ticket

I’ve recently found out about a New Professionals Network for people new to the library profession. It’s all very new and jam-packed full of ideas.

They have a blog and this is what they say about themselves:

This blog will trace the evolution of the New Professionals Network in New Zealand from its humble beginnings in February 2013 onwards. It is a central hub of resources, conversations, and information where new professionals (and those not so new!) are able to share their ideas and enthusiasm and take steps into making this dream a reality.

I’ve made my blogging debut about this not just because I think the New Professionals Network will be great but because I think that us newbies at CCL can and should get involved, in fact they’re reaching out for volunteers to be:

  • Website Moderator/Curators
  • Round the World Blog Series – Facilitator
  • Twitter stars!
  • Facebook moderator(s)
  • Skype brainstorming session – Notetaker

So, if you want do get your hands dirty – jump in!
PS: I’m keen to throw some ideas around about how we might collectively contribute, if you’re keen – post a comment on the blog.

Libraries and Leisure

The ideology of the library being a place to get books from is so last century.  Anyone who hasn’t been looking will have found that their library has become a lively and vibrant meeting space for the community to hang out, have fun and pursue some leisure-time activities – the complete entertainment/information package!  Internet access and wireless (for libraries lucky enough to have it) are great drawcards for visitors who play their part in creating a buzz.

The Recreation section of our library website caters to a wide range of visitors, both local and overseas with links to all the biggies such as music, reading, sport, art and entertainment but more about these topics later.

Have you ever stopped to browse the Hobbies section?  There are some very weird, cool and wonderful things in that list.  Otherworldly events and activities reads like a DIY fantasy novel. There are clubs for serious game players where you can recreate your own war and play real time Risk!

Comic book groups and computer gaming clubs exist for all those grownup kids.  The Games page has an extensive list of word, card, board, computer and role-playing games for people to join. Crosswords, home-brewing, gardening, kite flying, even investing are just some of the activities listed in the Recreation section that you may be able to interest customers in over the summer.

The staff of New Brighton and Parklands libraries have compiled a massive list of resources for finding out about what’s on locally, not just in summertime but all year round.  A good examples is  Music on Internet Gateway, which has several useful websites detailing local music events.  One of these, Undertheradar, has a line-up of events featuring magazine-style news and reviews.

Eventfinder and BeThere feature a breakdown of places and musical preferences.  Mukuna and the RDU event guide are useful for followers of popular pub-style gigs. The New Zealand Herald also gives a quick fix list of the more obvious music events in Christchurch.

Nicole Reddington

New Brighton