Papers at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Singapore

There are many relevant papers that will be presented at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress, August 17-23, 2013 in Singapore.

By John Stephen Agbenyo and Aaron Kuwornu:

Collaborative Innovations-Making Libraries More Relevant in Society

There are more than 230,000 public and community libraries in developing and transitioning countries. With the advent of technology, many libraries appear to have become irrelevant and are gradually losing their position and role. Further, with heightened focus on Millennium Development Goals as the 2015 deadline becomes imminent, libraries need to position themselves to play a role in meeting these goals. The contribution of public libraries to the development of countries is under-valued and un-tapped. This assertion is noted in a communiqué released at the African Public Libraries Summit in Johannesburg in September 2012 that challenged African Libraries to: 1. Be essential hubs for development, and be catalysts for community development with potential to transform people’s livelihoods; 2. Develop partnerships with other development workers to ensure that they remain relevant to the needs of the communities; The presentation provides an analysis of a partnership between Northern Regional Library in Ghana and Savana Signatures, a Northern Ghana based NGO. The presentation will show how this partnership has contributed to the Library, which is now seen as a major stakeholder in developmental discourse and practice. Analysis focuses on two activities resulting from the partnership: (1) On the Last Thursday of every month, Savana Signatures partners the Library to organise the Northern ICT4D Forum. This open event is hosted by the library and brings together development experts and members of the general public to discuss the role of ICT in community development. (2) The Technology for Maternal Health Project . Launched in 2012, the Project sends SMS messages with health information to the mobile phones of pregnant women. For both projects, the partners have put in place rigorous monitoring and evaluation processes. The paper is based on results of these processes.

By Madeleine Lefebvre:

The Library, the City, and Infinite Possibilities: Ryerson University’s Student Learning Centre Project

Ryerson is a dynamic university in the heart of Toronto, the largest and most diverse city in Canada. In the last decade the university has undergone rapid expansion from a 9000 student polytechnic to a comprehensive university of almost 30,000 students, offering programs at all levels. The three goals of the University’s 2008 Master Plan are: urban intensification; people first (pedestrianization of the urban environment); and a commitment to design excellence. At the Master Plan announcement Sheldon Levy, Ryerson President, said “With energetic partnerships and great ideas, our aim is to move Ryerson and Toronto forward together”. Numerous inventive partnerships have been formed since then. The first new building since the Master Plan was the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC), which houses a large image bank of twentieth century photo-journalism from the Black Star Agency. Next, The Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) rose from Maple Leaf Gardens, an iconic 1930s building famous for ice hockey, Elvis, and the Beatles. In partnership with a national grocery chain the MAC houses new student athletic facilities, an ice arena, and a huge supermarket. Third is the Student Learning Centre (SLC), to be built on Yonge Street, the major spine of Toronto. The current Library is a 1970s brutalist book warehouse. This building is completely inadequate in size, functionality and ambience for our users. The new SLC, designed by Snøhetta (Oslo) and Zeidler (Toronto) satisfies the three tenets of the Master plan. It will provide a window and gateway to Ryerson. The transparent building will focus on student learning support, individual study and collaborative space. There will be no bookstacks. The two library buildings will be organically connected. Retail stores will occupy the street face at ground level and below, to revitalize the street. Completion is planned for 2015. This paper describes the philosophy, the landscape, the planning, the design, the collaborations, and the challenges of this exciting project.

By Sam Boss, Fang Jiazhong & Zhang Jiangshun:

The Intersection of Design and Culture: The New Guangzhou Library and Its Relationship to the City

A new facility for the Guangzhou Library was recently completed, and it is currently among the largest in China. It is situated on Flower City Square in Guangzhou’s Zhujiang New City, which is home to the city’s most modern cultural institutions. It was designed by an international team from Japan and China. The design is based on the Chinese character “之”, and its exterior walls are inspired by a collection of books, an idea the designers call “美丽书籍”, or “Beautiful Books.” The facility is a cultural landmark and represents a new direction in architecture and design for Chinese libraries. The paper explores the facility’s relationship with the square and the surrounding institutions, the Guangzhou Opera House, the Guangdong Museum, and the Second Children’s Palace. Additionally, the paper examines both the exterior and interior designs of the facility to show how it not only represents a break from traditional library design in China, but also the ways in which design and planning have created a library that captures the spirit of the city and is prepared to engage with and meet the various needs of its users.

And, there are probably some others.

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