Tuesday, August 28, 2007

PL 34/07: Nordic papers at IFLA 2007

Filed under: IFLA — plinius @ 8:19 pm

img_1204.jpgIn Durban, almost two hundred delegates came from the Nordic contries. In the IFLA programme for Durban on the web I found more than twenty contribtions from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland (none from Iceland this year).

Kirsten Leth Nielsen (picture) is a Danish librarian working in Norway – and chairs the Library Services to Multicultural Populations Section.

The list gives some idea of current interests and concerns in our corner of the world.


  1. Loads of books in mother tongue make the child a happy one! Babelbarn – a library project on books and services to dual language families. NINA STENBRO and KIRSTEN LETH NIELSEN (Oslo Public Library, Oslo, Norway)
  2. The Multicultural Library Manifesto – a tool for creating a better world
    KIRSTEN LETH NIELSEN (Oslo Public Library, Oslo, Norway)
  3. Linn Christin Røhne Tønnessen, Stavanger Public Library, spoke about children’s books *
  4. Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions: Indigenous People’s Perspectives. MATTIAS AHREN (Saamia Council, Norway)
  5. The open access association? EAHIL’s new model for sustainability
    TONY MCSEAN (Great Britain) and ARNE JAKOBSSON (Norway)
  6. Information Literacy Applied on Electronic Resources – Practices from Brasov, Romania and Bergen, Norway. ANGELA REPANOVICI (Transilvania University Library of Brasov, Romania) and ANE LANDØY (University of Bergen Library, Bergen, Norway)
  7. “The dung beetle effect” : Taking law to the people in Southern and Eastern Africa, with an emphasis on Zimbabwe. Cecilie Butenschøn-Mariri, librarian at the Southern and Eastern Regional Centre for Women’s Law in Harare (Zimbabwe).

*Pam Berger, an ICDL Advisory Board Member, will present stories on how to use ICDL around the world, based on experiences from ICDL Ambassdors [ International Children’s Digital Library]. Best practices from Norway and Croatia how the ICDL in libraries and classrooms can be used will be introduced by a short film, discussion with audience, exchange of materials and informal get to gether.


  1. What is Community Centre, Gallerup? LONE HEDELUND (Århus Public Library, Denmark)
  2. Guidelines for library buildings : the final version. HELLEN NIEGAARD (Danish Library Association, Copenhagen, Denmark)
  3. Preparing library staff for reference and information work in the hybrid library – the need for skills and continuing professional development
    GITTE LARSEN (Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, Denmark)
  4. Predictable and Unpredictable Patterns: Adoption, Avoidance and Alteration in Danish Research Libraries. CARL GUSTAV JOHANNSEN (Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, Denmark)
  5. Webarchiving Internationally: Interoperability in the future. GRETHE JACOBSEN (Danish Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark)


  1. Cooperation for Better Libraries. ANNA-BIRGITTA ERIKSSON (Rinkeby, Stockholm, Sweden)
  2. The Role of ALP in Facilitating Grassroots Development in Division VIII Countries. BIRGITTA SANDELL (IFLA/ALP, Uppsala, Sweden)
  3. Picture books accessible to blind and visually impaired children. BEATRICE CHRISTENSEN-SKÖLD (Swedish Library of Talking Books and Braille, Enskede, Sweden)
  4. Library participation cultures. PETER GIGER and EVA NORLING (Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden)
  5. The Sami people – a people in four countries. The Sami library and information service. MAUD ROBERTS (Stockholm University Library, Stockholm, Sweden)
  6. New forms challenging the contents. INGA LUNDÉN (Stockholm Public Library, Stockholm, Sweden)
  7. Digital Archiving and Preservation Update. The national libraries of the Netherlands and Australia have organised an informal information session on recent developments in digital archiving and preservation happening in libraries around the world. This session is intended to facilitate information exchange among libraries with an interest in managing digital collections. Presenters from different countries (including Sweden, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Italy, South Africa, Japan, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands) will give short presentations on their latest developments. Presented topics include: digital archiving workflow, repository systems, web archiving, digital preservation tools (characterisation, migration, emulation), file format registries; (inter) national projects etc.


  1. The virtual cultural heritage of Lapland. ANNE IHALMO (University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland)
  2. Public libraries and adult dyslexic customers: A model and its evaluation. RITVA JARVELIN and MARJAANA MERILAINEN (Tampere Public Library, Tampere, Finland)
  3. Description of Collections in Theory and Practice. JUHA HAKALA and ESA-PEKKA KESKITALO (National Library of Finland)
  4. Cooperation Across Continents: Case of Library and Information Association of South Africa and Finnish Library Associations. MARJATTA LAHTI (Finnish Library Association, Finland) and TOMMY MATTHEE (LIASA, South Africa)





Scandinavian libraries, both public and professional, have a high status on an international level, and are considered to be well-equipped and to be run with a high level of professionalism. Despite this, they do not measure up in the area of multicultural services.

Despite Library Laws that guarantee free access to information to all citizens, the fact of the matter is that libraries’ development has its roots in the middle class, with the consequences this implies: libraries are above all built by and for the Nordic Caucasian majority, by and large the middle class. This is mirrored in the staff, the services offered, and the collections’ content.

Library heads and librarians with linguistic or cultural background other than Nordic can be counted on the fingers of one hand. A strategic collections development, with a goal of contributing to cross-cultural understanding, is practically nonexistent.

Patrons with a different linguistic background are not seen as a resource, but rather as a problem, and a group needing «special services». The status is more or less the same for professional and research libraries.

Source. Kirsten Leth Nielsen. The Multicultural Library Manifesto – a tool for creating a better world



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