Presentation on theme: "Public Libraries Improving Public Participation and Democracy"— Presentation transcript:
1 Public Libraries Improving Public Participation and Democracy ALA Annual, Chicago24th June 2017Anders Ericson
2 About myself 1973 - 76: Library student, Oslo, Norway : Librarian in a college of education, a folk high school and library manager in a small municipality near Oslo.: Consultant, deputy director etc. in the National Directorate for Public Libraries, and journalist in their journal, Bok og bibliotek.: Librarian in a college of engineering1999 to present: Freelance journalist, consultant, lecturer, study tour planner and guide, etc.2001: Published a book on PL information services and the need for an independent public library (in Norwegian): A short version in English: ISC No. 18, Winter 2003.: Journalist at Norwegian Library Association; Web editor and journalist in their journal Bibliotekforum2006 to present: “Concept developer”: “The Library Takes Up The Case” - with associated blog:
3 Library campaigns against fake news - a paradox When did public libraries last really prioritize information, facts and news?Not since people - and libraries - let Google take over ...We abdicated
4 Public libraries desperately seeking ... Click pics to open sites.Use Google Translate for Scandinavian ones
5 Then why not the good old information, facts, news and knowledge? “Our central concerns are with content, not the means of communicating that content, and certainly not with modes of communication that are peripheral to the human record”New ed. 2015
6 Information, facts, news in PL today typically limited to individual requests Knowledge out of date:1922: Norwegian recommendation: Fiction 20% of holdingsToday: 53% and counting
7 2017: A favourable situation for PL and information, facts and news:
8 Intellectual and political freedom at stake At det du øver på helt konkret påvirker kraften i den posisjonen du konkurrerer i.Intellectual and political freedom at stakeWas supposed to forbid “conspiracy theo- ries” and control “non-violent extremism”
9 Press struggles with its societal responsibilities From paper to Web:Ads’ transit, first to TV, then WebMicropayment = micro revenueThe Tyranny of Clicks - ClickbaitsThe challenge of citizen journalism and grassroot and social mediaFake newsThe concept of citizen journalism (also known as "public", "participatory", "democratic", "guerrilla" or "street" journalism) is based upon public citizens "playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information WPedia
10 - Thus in an age of specialization, of social fragmentation, the library, like the communication system of which it is a part, can become a great cohesive force at a time when social cohesion is most vital. But unlike the mass media of communication it need not be an instrument for the achievement of conformity. – Jesse Shera, The Foundations of Education for Librarianship, 1972.
11 First of all: Rediscover Samek! (2007) My own copy. See the many bookmarks!Click for Worldcat record
12 Libraries to improve public participation and democracy
14 Open debate meetings 1Monroeville Public Library, Penn.
15 Open debate meetings 2 The public library of Lillehammer, Norway: Open debate on a controversial road plan, against the will of politicians and deputy mayor.Library manager: «Some council members and administrators were very annoyed but most people appreciated it very much».
16 Open debate meetings 3Alta, Norway (the 3rd northernmost town in the world!):The library arranged an open debate that settled a long-lasting conflict fish farmers versus sport fishermen and environmentalists
17 Open debate meetings 4 Gran, rural town, Norway: The public library, in cooperation with local newspaper, gathered reluctant council members of two municipalities to debate controversial consolidation of the two
18 Norway 2014: “The debate library act” Act revised to include debates as a compulsory service:Library is «an independent meeting place and forum for public dialogue and debate».Status of chief librarian a parallel to a newspaper editor.Click to read articleThe chief librarian is solely to decide contents of the debates and no officers of higher rank nor politicians may overrule. The Minister of Culture pronounced the status of a chief librarian as parallel to a newspaper editor.
19 Libraries to improve public participation and democracy On their Websites:
20 An easy start: Daily presentation of the actual sources of issues covered by local media (or not covered)No known example yetWho is first?!Press quote but don’t often link to the actual documents.External links make readers leave and often not return to the article = fewer clicks to ads and thus reduced revenue.Library funding is not by clicks!
21 The Monroeville HOT TOPICS Sets of Web resources on local, national and international current issues. Initiated by Mark Hudson, Monroeville, Penn.Click pics to read
22 The Library Takes Up The Case: A more exhaustive approach #librarycase An LTC-service strengthens transparency and thus democracy in major cases when information is insufficient and/or unbalanced.Where neither authority nor press offer balanced coverage of e.g. a controversial development program.First LTC 2006: PLs of 4 municipalities ran an LTC on a controversial new civil airport in Southern Norway
23 The Library Takes Up The Case: A Current Case The portal “New Municipalities – New Library”, covering ongoing govt. process of consolidating Norwegian municipalities and preparing PL for the changes.Links to documents, news and debates; pros and cons.Find orange translate icon at bottom right
24 Suggested elements of an LTC portal. Display links to: Informative and/or revealing documents of importanceAgendas and minutesPronouncements by political parties etc.Grassroots campaigns, NGOs etc. of both or all sides and views. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter.Search links (e.g Google URLs) on relevant terms in newspapers and trade, scholarly and non-scholarly journals and magazines that cover the process.News archives as PressDisplay etc.Relevant open discussion fora.Relevant library books and other media; search links in OPACs.Relevant encyclopedia articles Read more and see a dummy
26 Humanistic and disaster relief Ferguson Public Library after the unrest:Created an “ad hoc school on the fly”, cultural enrichment, and a meeting space for the community Library Journal
27 Humanistic and disaster relief 2005: After hurricane KatrinaInformation center for evacueesinternet access, , phone and faxlocal informationdisaster-related information.”
28 Support of social and free cultural movements Library organizations engage for:Open AccessCopyright issues - on behalf of common usersStand up for Wikileaks, Black Lives Matter, Natalya Sharina etc.Stand against e.g. Patriot Act
29 Finally: About the value of the independent public library
30 Adolf Henriksson - librarians’ equivalent to Julian Assange 1968: AH, chief librarian in Swedish mining town, invites author to present new, harsh documentary on working miners’ condit- ions. AH is given a secret document - a proposal for a new authoritarian organizat- ion model for the mines. AH hangs it up with an exhibition of the book’s photo. Soon it’s in all the newspapers. And triggered off the biggest strike ever in Sweden.Author Sara Lidman and AH at this event
31 Thank you! And welcome to contribute with ideas and existing services here: Libraries Improving Public Participation and DemocracyOr contact:mac.comgmail.com