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(Richard_Künzel_The Future of the Library)

(Richard_Künzel_The Future of the Library)

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Published by Joseph Marmol Yap
Future of the Library
Future of the Library

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Published by: Joseph Marmol Yap on Apr 23, 2012
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President Alicia Paraiso, Members of the ASLP, Good Morning.

On behalf of the Goethe-Institut Philippinen and my team I like to express my gratitude to the ASLP and its President for giving me again the opportunity to speak at this ASLP convention in Puerto Princesa. This year I feel especially honoured, as one of our colleagues, Alicia Paraiso, Head of the Library of our institute, had been nominated President of the oldest professional library organization in the Philippines. Last January I said: “Relevant to the young of the computer age, I want to recall how in a recent interview the German Minister of Education, Frau Annette Schawan commented on the young: The catchword “net generation” means that young people develop the necessary skills themselves by using digital media. The contrary view assumes that the influence of the net has caused young people to forget how to think. In my opinion, the question is more complex. Human beings are always changing along with their environment. Young people too are changing through the use of the new media, with which they’ve grown up and spend a great deal of time. But it’s not the case that the Net automatically influences them either simply positively or negatively.” Minister Schawan may be right insofar, as looking into a group of young German bloggers Slow Media Manifesto put on the net in 2010, these people want to swim against their own current: they want to create islands of slowness in an increasingly accelerated media landscape. “Sustainability” as media value is what they have in mind. The authors thereby hooked up with the international Slow Food movement, for which human dignity, decent living, enjoyment and quality are all inseparable. The central concept of the Slow Media manifesto is sustainability, as exploitation, superficial consumerism and the fast buck is incompatible with sustainable media. It is rather a matter of finding an “appropriate response to the media revolution” and to use and design media more in accordance with standards of sustainability. Meaning for example:

“Long-term reader loyalty pays off” In 2008 the tri-quarterly magazine XXI came on the market in France. The goal from the beginning was to finance the magazine without ads, through readers alone. Sceptics said that no one in the Internet Age was about to pay 15 € per issue. But the editors were able to convey to their audience that quality costs a little, and now XXI has 50,000 readers. So this works when you provide quality and build up a close relation to the readers. Fast sales alone don’t create bonds with the reader. Those who want to create sustainable media, however, will initially have to advance costs. Long-term loyalty doesn’t pay itself out with the first issues. How does Sabrina David deal with the overwhelming multiplicity of media? Everyone has to decide for himself among which media and forms of digital communication he will distribute his energies. Me, I wouldn’t want to do without Twitter, for example. I’d prefer to give up TV.” www.slow-media.net

The Future of the Libraries, The Library of the Future A group of ASLP’s members will be travelling to Germany shortly and will be confronted with a number of libraries in Germany and their experts and managers. One of them is Mr. Reinhard Feldmann of the University of Münster (Westphalia) who played an important role in assessing the degree of deterioration of the manuscript of Noli me tangere before putting hands on its actual restoration. The printed interview with Mr. Feldmann I copied for you and his here for collection. So I did with the Slow Media Manifesto. Unique recent examples of recent restoration activities I touched in my speech last January talking about what German restorers did in flooded Thai libraries. Right now I want to look into Germany, where 2 years ago the entire Cologne Municipal Archives collapsed in 2009 due to inappropriate digging of new subway tunnel. This picture shows one of the most beautiful German libraries near the city of Weimar: the Library of Anna Amalia – which went up in flames a couple of years ago (in 2004).

Here are more libraries in different Federal States:
(Excerpts from The Future of the Libraries, The Library of the Future - by Jürgen Seefeldt * 1953, studied public librarianship in Cologne. Certified Librarian at various libraries)









The library users of the 21st century have changed, too: they are better educated, better off, more mobile and more responsible than they were 20 years ago. Modern library customers decide for themselves how they wish to spend their valuable leisure time. Libraries must compete with other organizations in the leisure marketplace. At the same time, changes are taking place in public administration, leading to a gradual privatization of individual services and their subjection to the stringent principles of cost-performance analysis. Looking into the immediate future from a present point of view one may define 5 general hypothesizes:

Hypothesis 1: Education will be the decisive factor determining the future course of society, and more especially the course of the economy. Hypothesis 2: The mere retrieval of information will be less of a problem in the coming decades than the retrieval of the required information; the focus will be on quality rather than quantity. Hypothesis 3: The concept of the library as marketplace allowing real contact between real people must be completely re-thought; the idea of the lonely desk and PC monitor as a window to a “global village” internet world is no longer good enough. Hypothesis 4: Tomorrow’s library must be identifiable with a real physical space and form an integral part of the cultural and social life of the community. Without a library building, towns will have no soul and their citizens will lose all sense of orientation within the maze of network and machines. A national strategy paper published in 2004 by the Bertelsmann Foundation reports how libraries are seen by customers. To summarize libraries are seen as friendly places, but not friendly enough. Insufficient or out-of-date stock, with financial cuts increasing the discrepancy between supply and demand, only served to increase the general level of dissatisfaction. One of the following models was often mentioned in a book describing the “Library of the future”: Model 1: More than 75% of those interviewed see the library of the future as a mixture of a resource center and information service unit, call center and citizens’ office combined with the additional role of learning center and the function of book museum. Model 2: More than 50% of those interviewed also regard the library of the future predominantly as a combination of documentation center and full-text server with integrated cultural center and internet café. Reservation and skepticism were most frequently expressed with regard to the suggestion that the library might develop into a computer center functioning mainly as a data center with internet café attached and a few books as museum exhibits in a separate department. A well known librarian (Klaus Dahm) has developed a series of 4 models worth considering, which combine the present and the future in a particular vivid way. (1)The “Feel-good” Library

Today it’s hard to imagine the modern library without its cafeteria. In Anglo-Saxon libraries, pleasantly furnished rooms known as “Living Rooms” have become an established feature, inviting visitors to drop in for a chat, to surf the internet, enjoy a cup of coffee or read a book in relaxing surroundings. In the planning and conception of the future libraries it will be more important than ever before to pay more attention to furniture and fittings suited to the user experience and to designing flexible and “function-free” spaces. Evening and weekend opening will be a matter of course. (2)The Network Library As no library can possibly stock every item its users might need, the public library of the future will need to be part of an even more tightly-nit library network offering access to the total pool of literature and media, which by that time will be even larger. A cataloging network in the form of a common media database will be particularly effective if customers are able to access to access it from their homes, schools or work-places. (3) The Combination Library One promising option would be to merge several smaller libraries to form one large physical and administrative unit. Where several cultural and educational institutions exist in a single town, it would be worth considering amalgamating them at a single site. This could mean combining the local museum, school library, resource center, local archive, adult education center and art gallery to form one united “Information and Media Center”. (4) My favorite type of library has been invented by students and other young people in Bonn: Random Libraries or Open Bookshelves “Keeping books on shelves is cruelty to books” – is the slogan used by Bookcrossing, an internet-based book-swapping network. This site enables readers to get themselves organized and to put the books they have finished reading at other peoples’ disposal without any financial interest. In contrast to “Bookcrossing” the “Open Bookshelves”, however, are organized on a very local basis. They are available offline – ideal for people who feel they suddenly want to have a read. The Bookshelves in Bonn are located close to the railway station. Lots of commuters pass by every day, all of them in need of a book to read on the train and then they can return it after a few days. And if they really liked it, they can keep it and replace it with another one. – no other library offers a deal like this.

The Bürgerstiftung Foundation in Bonn is particularly pleased about the fact that tourists have taken the idea back to their hometowns. “Visitors often give us a call to enquire about how to organize the libraries. Then, later, they send us press articles about the new bookshelves in their towns.” In the meantime there are now “Open Bookshelves” in Hanover, Darmstadt and Bayreuth. Not only a lot of books of all kinds have gone into them, but also a lot of community effort and commitment to an idea that is beginning to catch on everywhere.

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