Schatz, ich habe die Bibliothek geschrumpft

Angelehnt an den Titel “Liebling, ich habe die Kinder geschrumpft”, wurde das folgende Video “Honey, I Shrunk the Library” von Didier Soulier produziert. Es zeigt die neue Birmingham Public Library aus der Miniaturperspektive.

Musik und Produktion: Didier Soulier

Architektur: Mecanoo

Zwei Videos zur Eröffnung der neuen Stadtbibliothek in Birmingham

“As one said, ‘A room without books, is like a body without soul.’ I say, a city without books, a city without libraries, is like a graveyard.” Malala Yousafzai


Die Stadtbibliothek Birmingham wird morgen eröffnet

Das folgende Foto aus dem Jahr 2010 zeigt die alte Central Library in Birmingham. Der hier 2012 veröffentlichte Kurzfilm “The Very Last Plea From My Heart” war als eine Reminiszenz an das alte Gebäude gedacht. Das 2010 im Blog veröffentlichte Video bot damals einen Vorgeschmack auf die neue Einrichtung, welche morgen eröffnet wird.

Andreas Mittrowann berichtete aktuell auf Globolibro sehr ausführlich über den Neubau der Kommunalbibliothek der Stadt mit der zweitgrößten Einwohnerzahl Großbritanniens. Sie wird morgen offiziell eröffnet und damit die größte öffentliche kommunale Bibliothek Europas sein. Das folgende Video mit dem Titel “First look at Birmingham’s new £188m ‘bling’ library” aus dem britischen Guardian gibt Auskunft über den Neubau der Central Library Birmingham. Es kommen auch der Direktor und die Kreativarchitektin zu Wort. Der Zuschauer erhält einen ersten Einblick vom Inneren und Äußeren des Gebäudes.

“Not everybody approves of the new library ethos, summarised as being “from collection to connection”. Some remain aghast at the encroachment of the technological revolution, which is not only reshaping the world but reconfiguring the public library along with it. Whether 19th-century library pioneers would recognise these 21st-century buildings may be questionable – but once inside they would feel at home. Even today, the world inside the library has changed less than the world outside.” Ken Worpole (publiziert in Contemporary Library Architecture)



“The Very Last Plea From My Heart”: Ein Kurzfilm über eine Liebesaffäre mit der Stadtbibliothek Birmingham

In diesem Kurzfilm wird der “Liebesaffäre” von Olivia Sparrow mit dem “alten” Gebäude der Birmingham Public Library nachgegangen. Am 3. September 2013 soll der Neubau der Bibliothek an anderer Stelle eröffnet werden. 2010 habe ich bereits ein Imagevideo zur künftigen Stadtbibliothek gepostet, in dem Kinder, Jugendliche und Erwachsene sich zur Bedeutung ihrer Stadtbibliothek äußern.

The Very Last Plea From My Heart from Olivia Sparrow on Vimeo.


Von John Dolan

Library Camp 2011 took place in Birmingham, England on 8 October – like a spontaneous outburst of thinking and enthusiasm. Though termed an “unconference” it was in fact a well-organised, lightly structured event of 173 participants (2 didn’t make it on the day)!

Jo McCausland (@libraryjmac) was inspired by a Local Government Camp a year earlier to set this up: a good venue; email and twitter announcements; Sponsorship (essential if admission is free and not easy to find at present!). It was fully booked online in 21 hours – yes!

There was a fantastic mix of library and information practitioners from all backgrounds plus people active in related fields like theatre and media. After (yes) everyone introduced themselves (who I am; why I’m here) people “pitched” to lead a session on a subject of their choice.

With 45 minutes for each session across 7 rooms there were 35 discussion groups through the day with multiple additional chances to network and make friends. Everything from the day is on the web.

There will surely be a #libcampuk 2012!

Worth mentioning that after an early humourous reference to cake many – many! – people brought cake to share. Look at the pictures!

Some of the sessions I attended or found the notes and links valuable include the following:

Transition: There is little investment in managing the transition between school and university. Learners are rarely able to transfer skills from one stage in education to the next; how librarians can help teachers and learners provide continuity so each stage in education builds on the previous. This applies to all stages in the education system. Librarians can work with teachers and students at all stages of education, avoiding waste and gaining more. Above all, embed the learning skills into the curriculum; learning skills are not “an extra” they are essential to education:

Several areas of innovation discussions included Games and Gamification, Mobile apps (maybe more questions than answers but useful links), libraries without buildings, creative commons, open-source software, representing the most incredible opportunity for strategic library cooperation. A session on library philosophy reminds us of the many reasons we are here.

A Special Collections session was interesting. Early in the notes they referred to the fate of special collections as seeming like a private resource for the few. Much of the session was therefore about increasing accessibility. This was a key issue for me and a key purpose of creating the Library of Birmingham: Immense special collections are unknown to most but the expert; but it’s not just about display it is about actively interpreting their relevance in a modern diverse city community and projecting those collections globally.

Several linked and overlapping themes included Partnership, working with Stakeholders, Embedded Librarianship, Social Networking, Information Literacy, Social Change et al. Together these highlighted the centrality of libraries and their potential for other institutions and to the rest of society.

Useful contacts? Notes from most discussions have useful links. Or, follow #uklibchat led by and for library & information students and new librarians. Meets on twitter every Thursday 6 – 8pm. Each week there’s a topic to discuss. Older librarians can contribute on what’s happened before to inform progress or avoid reinventing the wheel.

Links that should be of interest.

John Dolan OBE


  1. Twitter. @johnrdolan

“Reinvention and regeneration: the message for me at the Bibliothekartag 2011 Berlin June 2011”

Von John Dolan

I was first struck by the number of delegates – over 4,700 – and the scale and complexity of the event. Now here I was in Europe, at and event that would reflect the universal presence of libraries in our lives – in school, college and university, in business, health and government, in kindergarten and across the communities of cities, towns and villages. However, what really mattered was quality. I was not disappointed.

The most important feature – rather like CILIP’s Umbrella conference in the UK – was that the event embraced all library sectors and covered all aspects of library and information policy and provision; from technical to technology, from publishing to reading, from conservation to communications, from the physical to the virtual.

In Berlin. Being in Berlin for the first time was a phenomenal experience and I was helped hugely by Wolfgang Kaiser, my conference “mentor” both during the conference and on my weekend stay. We saw many sights – as librarian and tourist.

I went on the evening cycle ride for the Long Night of the Libraries. In contrast to the disturbing memorial to the Nazi book burning by Humboldt University (the guide said they only burnt books from public, not academic, libraries, which I found interesting) was the inspiring terraced interior of the 1995 university library.

From there we visited the Bibliothek am Luisenbad, a modernised and extended (1995) historic spa house. Children and families in this predominantly Turkish area are the priority. Staff tell of crowded days, not enough seats, staff and volunteer-supported learning and cultural programmes, partnerships with adult education, health and community workers. It is similar to my experience of UK inner-city library services and with 29 staff and 40 volunteers helping with programmes, though pressured, it is flourishing.

International colleagues reinventing libraries. I was amazed by the Cycling for Libraries group – their marathon journey from Copenhagen and their relaxed but persuasive presentation. Above all they – notably, organiser Mace Ojala – exuded a tremendous passion for libraries and the freedoms, learning and cultural experiences that people get from libraries.

Meeting colleagues from other countries is always rewarding; colleagues from developing countries struggle with hardly any resources to bring reading and learning to poor communities; in big western economies supporters advocate for libraries as democratic spaces; libraries are places to learn, community centres, information resources.

I was there because in 2010 I organised a visit to the UK of the DBV Commission for Intercultural Library Services. They came to look at library services for new communities and at the Bibliothekartag published a statement on the library’s role in this area of access and social justice. We hope it will soon be re-launched as a joint statement with CILIP in the UK.

It was a pleasure for me to meet friends and colleagues from the Goethe Institute in New Delhi. I had worked with them on Indian library development. It is typical of the Goethe that they carry the message of the value of libraries across the world (Goethe is supporting a conference in Athens in October Redefining Library Services: Responding to the Economic Downturn ). The joy of the Goethe is that while they promote German language and culture they also invest imaginatively in the quality of life of their host countries.

Regenerating libraries. The power of the Bibliothekartag reminded me of such conferences in the UK about 20 years ago. The LIS community was strong, new communications technologies were emerging, new public and university libraries were opening. The UK has always been active in library innovation. At the moment UK public libraries, in particular, are suffering badly from cuts to public spending with reduced service budgets and threats of library. There are challenges too in other areas such as library services in schools. CILIP our national professional body is working hard advocating for library provision which we all know is fundamental to a free and prosperous society.

I am concerned that in twenty years time libraries in Germany are not suffering like their UK partners. How to avoid this? Libraries are often a resource that underpins other endeavour. Consequently they may be seen as peripheral to the main agenda. Instead our society cannot function without access to credible information and cultural resources that libraries mediate. Ensure that libraries develop a central role in education, lifelong learning, citizen and community information, literature and culture. Libraries are part of national life. Above all do the research to prove it and then promote that message loud and clear to advocates and power-brokers.

To maintain such a critical role librarians must constantly reinvent the library service responding to changing needs with new ideas, exploiting new learning and communications technologies, refreshing resources and renewing the unique and essential skills base of the library professional. What I saw at the Bibliothekartag 2011 was the regeneration of a united industry. I hope it can be shared as a model for other countries.

John Dolan OBE

Birmingham, England

Zum Autor

John Dolan was Head of Library Policy for England and, previously, Head of Birmingham Libraries. He has had an extensive career in UK public libraries and has spoken at many conferences in the UK and elsewhere. John led the early development for the Library of Birmingham  which opens in 2013. He is now a Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). The views expressed here are his own.

Imagevideo der "Library of Birmingham" (UK)

Als Einstimmung auf den nächste Woche stattfindenden Deutsch-Internationalen Bibliotheksdialog in Birmingham, ein Vorgeschmack auf das neue Flaggschiff der Stadt, das 2013 eröffnet werden soll. Für die Bibliothek werden umgerechnet 214 Millionen Euro investiert. Das niederländische Büro Mecanoo Architecten (Delft) hatte 2009 die Planungen für eine neue Bibliothek am Centenary Square vorgestellt. Das Projekt ist Teil der Kampagne „Global City with local Heart“ und ist das neue Vorzeigeprojekt der Stadt. Es wird auf einem prominent gelegenen Grundstück am Centenary Square zwischen dem Birmingham Reportery Theatre (REP) und dem Baskerville House errichtet. Im Erd- und Mezzaningeschoss mit dem REP verbunden, entsteht mit der Bibliothek ein Bildungs-, Informations- und Kulturzentrum für täglich 10.000 Besucher. Der stellvertretende Direktor und Abteilungsleiter für Servicedienstleitungen der Stadtbibliothek  in Birmingham, Brian Gambles, formulierte die gegenwärtigen Herausforderungen, vor denen auch viele andere Bibliotheken im 21. Jahrhundert stehen, wie folgt:

We are trying to redefine the library and archive in a major city centre. For 150 years the role of the library was to democratise access to books and information which many could not afford. That model of service is being challenged.The number of books we loan out and reference inquires we receive is sliding. We can all use Google and with discounts on Amazon, three-for-two offers in Waterstones and Tesco discounting every Harry Potter book, many of us have the means to buy books. We need to make the library more of an experience. Our role will now be less about transactions with users and more about aiding their transformation.”

In den letzten Jahren sind mehrere beeindruckende Bibliotheksbauten in Großbritannien entstanden (bzw. noch in der Entstehungsphase). Besonders hervorzuheben sind die Bibliotheken in Norwich, Manchester und Newcastle. Trotz anders lautender Meldungen sind durch Einsparmaßnahmen zwar viele Zweigstellen und Bibliotheken auch dort betroffen, aber es gibt dennoch Beispiele,welche von einem Gegentrend zeugen. Die politischen VertreterInnen von Birmingham planen die neue Bibliothek als ein Instrument zur sozialen Inklusion unterschiedlichster Teile der multikulturell zusammengesetzten Stadtbevölkerung zu nutzen.

Library Of Birmingham from The Proudfoot Company on Vimeo.