In the North, the main schools of library education have prepared a Nordic platform for research on public libraries, The researchers involved plan a meeting in Oslo on February 12. Representatives from the Baltic countries, the Netherlands, the UK, Hungary and Germany have also been invited.
At the meeting there will be a discussion of possible collaborative research projects. The convenors also ask if we should aim at a special conference on public library research in 2010.
I’ve participated in two of the meetings organized by the l.ibrary school network – in May 2007 (Uppsala) and October 2007 (Copenhagen) – and also written about them:
- PL 17/07. Practice-oriented public library research. Position paper for the meeting in Uppsala.
- SK 43/07. Det nordiske bibliotekfeltet. Reflections – in Norwegian – about the new knowledge society and the importance of Nordic cooperation in library research.
This week I have also worked with Roswitha Poll to select papers for the session Statistics on the agenda at IFLA in Milan. We received about a dozen proposals for papers using public library statistics – and half of them represented large scale projects. There is clearly a growing interest in the development impact of public libraries – and in statistical data that will reveal what is happening.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – BMGF among friends – is promoting public libraries in a big way. Their Access to Learning Award (ATLA) is well known in the international library field. Supporting Libraries is one of their Special Initiatives.
The Global Libraries Initiative has financed large-scale public library projects in Latvia (an interesting paper was presented at BOBCATSSS in Porto), Poland, Romania, Botswana and other countries. The Foundation is also very active in the United States – and one of their activities is systematic data collection about the digitalization of public libraries.
In Milan, there will be a second two hour session on Statistics for cultural heritage – with February 16 as the deadline. But the biggest event in this particular field will be the 8th Northumbria conference in Florence on August 17-20. I hear that lots of proposals are coming in. I’ve submitted two myself, both on public libraries.
- PS 2/09. Private lives and public libraries. Proposed paper on traffic count for Northumbria
- PS 1/09. How to win friends. Proposed paper on statistical indicators for Northumbria
In the months leading up to Milan I’ll probably be writing a lot more on these issues …
- Seattle Director Jacobs to Lead Gates Global Libraries Initiative
- Bibliomist – Global Libraries Ukraine
- PL 28/08: Global library statistics. When library data are sparse on the ground, statistics must be developed from the ground.