Shanachie Tour Downunder

Sydney from Jaap van de Geer on Vimeo.

I had the privlege of attending the Shanachietour Downunder seminar at the SLNSW in Sydney. Erik Boekesteijn and Jap van de Geer of Dok, Delft Public Library are currently touring Australia to see what innovative services are currently being cooked up by Australian Libraries. Erik and Jap were very captivating presenters with a casual style, filled with humour wicked tunes and great videos interviews of some of the top guns of library innovation such as Michael Stephens.

They were strong advocates of the benefits of introducing gaming (Xbox PlayStation Wii) into libraries, obviously to attract younger people with the hope that they might explore other facets of the collections and services on offer. They believe (and rightly so) that libraries should be a fun, cool place to go for all ages. I must confess that their virtual tour of Dok blew my mind and made me feel rather envious. It's great to see an institution pushing the boundaries and redefining what a library is or should I say can be. It is truly one of the coolest communal spaces I have seen anywhere in the world.
I guess from the perspective of working in a relatively small public library in Australia the prospect of emulating Dok would be challenging. That's not to say that we are not innovative it's just an issue of scale and finances. I do think the big challenge for public libraries in Australia will be to forge a new image; to break free of the old stereotype of the quite building filled with primarily books. I'm not talking about stereotypes held by the library profession (lots of examples of great new initiatives) but more so the perceptions of those that provide funding; council management etc.
Australia's challenge, to emulate DOK, perhaps such a facility exists?


Ellen said…
Delft has a population of under 100,000, Cerritos has a population of under 60,000. Both are very innovative libraries - and show what can be possible for libraries of all sizes.
Ross said…
Wow that is really impressive. I guess it's a matter of selling a vision to the community and being politically savvy.

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