Sunday, 24 August 2014

1,001 libraries to see before you die

There has been quite a bit in the media & through emails about some great libraries as physical spaces.  

We've been very pleased to see the Travel & Leisure Magazine's recognition of the State Library's Mortlock Wing as one of the world's most beautiful libraries. There is a great follow-on report from the ABC which shows some wonderful photos & information about the Mortlock library.

Many of you will have seen the emails about Craigieburn's win in the inaugural IFLA Public Libraries Design awards competition. The Hume Council which built the Craigieburn library, also reports on this global award here.  

Along with the Mortlock and Craigieburn libraries the Murray Bridge Library also rated a mention in a Guardian online article.

Many of you who attend the PLSA Awards ceremony will also remember the great presentation of the new Melbourne "Library at the Dock" which can be seen here.  

Some of you will be aware that I have had the privilege of presenting a paper about out network at the IFLA public libraries conference at the new Birmingham Public Library.  This is a new library which at 3,500 SqM is the largest public library in Europe. Much can be read about this incredible library here.  I am deeply impressed not just with the 111M pounds spend on the library, but the incredible philosophical perspective which has driven the amazing programs which fill this library space.

Which brings me to the IFLA public libraries division project called "1,001 libraries to see before you die".  This is a really GREAT OPPORTUNITY for a number of our libraries to get some recognition and get on the "library tourism" map.  This is a new IFLA project to list the best 1,001 libraries in the world.  Of course we all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we do have some sensational libraries & it would be great to have a few SA ones on the lit.

If you believe that you'd be keen for your library to be listed in this 1,001 list you can find the conditions and entry form here.  

I am sure there will be a Mk II of this post in the next 12 months or so, but it is great to be able to share where we are internationally with public library buildings.  

As a post script, I should also report that while I have not been able to visit the library, one of my colleagues tells me that their favourite UK libraries is the relatively recently refurbished Manchester Public Library.  I will take their word for it & hope to visit this library at some stage.

I am thrilled to see that in many parts of the world great library buildings are being developed and provided to the public.  In some ways great public library buildings are the enablers which allow for great community outcomes. 

We all know that while a building may be great - the real action for a public library is in how it uses its space, how its collection meets the needs of its community and how its public programming engages with its community.   I look forward to reporting on some of these issues in the near future. 

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