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A room is not just a room: The Library as place and why it matters

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Talk on why public places matters and the library as a significant part of communities social infrastructure at the yearly ASL Conference in Dublin March 29 2019. Programme: https://www.aslibraries.com/full-programme

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A room is not just a room: The Library as place and why it matters

  1. 1. A room is not just a room: The library as place and why it matters Christian Lauersen Director of Libraries and Citizen Services, Roskilde Municipality Mail: cula@roskilde.dk Twitter: @clauersen ASL Conference, Dublin, March 2019
  2. 2. What makes a great place?
  3. 3. Why do they always put academic experts in the library?
  4. 4. What we are going to talk about today: 1) Why public places matter 2) How to work with public places 3) The Library as place and social infrastructure [I will not be talking about library decor or design]
  5. 5. Some concepts we are gonna talk about • Places: A building or area. Public • Individuals: You and me • Communities: A group of individuals • Libraries: Public, academic, special
  6. 6. To understand the impact of places we need to understand people
  7. 7. A place is not just a place: We respond to our surrondings Environmental psychology (late 1960’s) - Interplay between people and their surroundings - Environtments effects human behaviour
  8. 8. We respond to instutions
  9. 9. Places and people: Why I love Berlin
  10. 10. Chicago heat wave Places and people: The 1995 Chicago heat wave
  11. 11. Social infrastructure are.. ..spaces and organizations that shape the way people interact. When it's robust, we are much more likely to engage one another and build relationships. When it's degraded and neglected, we're much more likely to hunker down and be on our own Eric Klinenberg
  12. 12. The Library as social infrastructure: Not only shared books but also shared spaces
  13. 13. First life, then spaces, then buildings - Jan Gehl Placemaking: An approach to creating public places
  14. 14. Placemaking Creating public spaces that promotes people’s health, happiness and well being [translated to academic library context] Creating public spaces that promotes students and faculty’s ability to learn, connect and belong
  15. 15. Placemaking principles • The Community knows best • Places, not designs • Make and act on observation • Requires a vision • Placemaking is an ongoing process
  16. 16. Roskilde Main Library, rebuilding and placemaking 2019 New entrance: ”LIBRARY” The smell of coffee and freshly backed bread Green open public area with a stage Transperancy and light Linkage to the city Community involvement
  17. 17. To sum it up • A place is not just a place. It effects us on a practical and emotional level and has the power to shape us, connect us and empower communties • Loneliness kills • Don’t start with the building. Start with the community • Public places as libraries are important parts of our social infrastructure in civic life. But how about in academic life?
  18. 18. Why do they come? Do we have that great tables and chairs? Why don’t they sit at home? Or at Starbucks?
  19. 19. Case story: Trashed campus, neat library
  20. 20. Why do they come? Two approachs: • The library as place (and brand) • Social infrastructure and the life of the user
  21. 21. The Library as brand: Trustworthy since 2600 BC
  22. 22. The life of the user goes beyond tables and chairs Social infrastructure is at least as important as hard infrastructure
  23. 23. The story about Knut, the lonely student
  24. 24. The story about Knut, the lonely student
  25. 25. Success in research and higher education is not only about hard infrastructure We need to belong to perform, learn and connect. We need to thrive The academic library as place is a cruzial part of the social infrastruture in research and higher education
  26. 26. Library Candle Light Dinners: Fostering social infrastructure on campus
  27. 27. The library as place and brand are attached to great values Let that place and your actions foster social infrastruture on campus learning, knowledge, trust, inclusion, cultural experiences
  28. 28. Final notes! [Hey Laura, how much time do I have left?]
  29. 29. The librarian Final notes #1: The most valuable asset of a library as place is the employess and the community
  30. 30. Final notes #2: Be like the anthropologist
  31. 31. Final notes #3: Great places are a pinata of inter-related factors
  32. 32. Final notes #4: Functionality, functionality, functionality
  33. 33. Embrace failures Final notes #5: Embrace failures
  34. 34. Final notes #6: Never ever change the library name to something else
  35. 35. Final notes #7: Be proud
  36. 36. Thanks for listening Christian Lauersen Director for Libraries and Citizen Services Roskilde Municipality Mail: cula@roskilde.dk Twitter: @clauersen The Library Lab: christianlauersen.net Library Planet: libraryplanet.net Instagram: @librarylovestories