Monday, June 21, 2010

Globetrotting librarians gear up for e-book age
By Claire McEntee- - Dom Post

 Erik Boekesteijn, left, and Jaap van de Geer have been in Wellington talking about social networking and how it can be used to keep libraries relevant.
Phil Reid/The Dominion Post

Dutch "library innovators" Erik Boekesteijn and Jaap van de Geer are on a quest to ensure libraries survive the digital revolution – and pick up a few technology tricks along the way.
The pair were in Wellington last week visiting the National, central and Karori libraries, and held a seminar for librarians in the city.
They began travelling the world four years ago in the tradition of Irish shanachies or storytellers – sharing and collecting stories about best practice in libraries, particularly in technology, in return for food and lodging.

"We were worried about the future of libraries with all the new changes, such as e-books," Mr Boekesteijn says. "We wanted to know what libraries around the world thought about it all."

Libraries are catching on to the potential of social media tools and new ways to engage patrons, and some are using Twitter and Facebook to communicate, letting students send tweets or messages asking for help with their homework.
But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Mr van de Geer says their own library in Delft in Holland, DOK – where they work nine months of the year – is a pioneer in adopting new tools and technology to bring historic information to life and create new stories.

A multi-touch application at DOK lets patrons place their library cards on a screen, which reads their zip code and shows them pictures of their street and area from the local photo archives, and patrons visiting exhibitions can create and contribute their own stories on the topic in text, audio and video.
Although digital content will proliferate, bricks and mortar libraries will remain invaluable as venues for meeting and sharing ideas, the pair say.

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