I’ve spent today at a conference for staff working either in, or in support of, my library service. I approached the event with a mixture of trepidation and bemusement based on a number of anecdotes related by colleagues that suggested it would be a massive waste of time. How bad could it be?
I’m relieved to be pleasantly surprised by the experience, and even inspired by some of the speakers. A lot of time was devoted to looking at innovative approaches to developing library spaces for and in conjunction with their communities – enabling them to tell and enhance their own stories.
This may sound wishy-washy, but providing safe, open and free spaces that promote learning, growth and expression really lights a fire in me. Seeing people of all ages and backgrounds blossoming as they discover or create things is absolutely one of the best things about this job.
So discussion of makerspaces, artistic collaboration, coding workshops and generally shaking up people’s perception of what can happen in a library was meat and drink to me. I’ve already thrown a couple of ideas at management and had thoughtful agreement in principle, so hopefully I’ll soon be writing about at least one of them that involves local musicians.
Normal grumpy cynicism will be resumed shortly.