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Posts Tagged ‘urban libraries council’

Last week I was lucky enough to attend the Edge 2010 conference at Edinburgh Castle – and what a fantastic conference it was! ūüôā ¬†The speaker list was top class and thanks to some excellent programming from the event organisers I didn’t have to miss any of the sessions. ¬† This was such a relief because there’s nothing worse than getting all excited about the speaker list then realising that all of the big names are on at the same time. ¬†But The Edge managed to avoid this pitfall and offered delegates an impressive list of sessions that truly were all killer and no filler!

The journey up to Edinburgh¬†Castle¬†was stunning and delegates were filled with a real sense of occassion before the conference even started. The conference suite was jam packed by the time I arrived and there was standing room only for Susan Benton’s keynote speech. ¬† ¬†A wonderful sight, especially considering the audience was made up, not only of librarians but also high profile councillors, MSPs, Chief Executives¬†etc.; all joined by a collective desire to “push the boundaries of public service delivery“.

Up first was a truly inspirational speaker – Susan Benton, President and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council (ULC). ¬† Unfortunately, thanks to some freak snowstorms in the West of Scotland I missed the start of Susan’s keynote speech but I managed to catch her final remarks. Susan spoke passionately about the public library as a “trusted neighbour” in our communities, highlighting the vital role that they play in “bringing diverse entities together” and the need to “strengthen the public library as an essential part of urban life“. ¬†I’ve been a huge fan of the ULC for a while now and Susan’s speech reflected some of the wonderful research they’ve carried out in recent years to communicate the value of public libraries in communities in the US. ¬†A selection of these publications are linked to below:

Welcome, Stranger:  Public Libraries Build the Global Village

Making Cities Stronger:   Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development

The Engaged Library:  Chicago Stories of Community Building

Following¬†Susan’s rousing “call to arms” speech we welcomed¬†Ewan McIntosh-digital media expert and founder of the innovative 38 Minutes project. ¬† I’ll be discussing Ewan’s talk in a future blog post…

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Last weekend I was at a party with lots of other librarians (yes, librarians do party!) and I got to talking to East Renfrewshire’s former Head of Libraries Liz McGettigan about the power of public libraries, as you do!

Liz brought to my attention a recent report published by the Urban Libraries Council in America – The Engaged Library: Chicago Stories of Community Building. There’s some amazing case studies focusing on urban regeneration, embracing diversity, services for young people and the library as space and place; not to mention a really useful toolkit to help other library services emulate the success of Chicago Public Library.

If you’re at all interested in learning about the potential of public libraries to connect, engage, inspire and transform communities then check out the full report here.

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