I just found the latest issue of SCL News. There are some great articles, like the one on the opening of the first English children’s library in China.
I was especially impressed by a list of ten recommendations issued by the Danish Library Authority on the future of children’s services in the public library. Here they are (sorry about the weird spacing):
The committee’s main recommendations are set as
1. New competences create new activities in the library
A new media landscape, new cultural habits and different demands
and expectations require the development of new competences in
the library. Library staff must be more visible on the net, facilitate
activities in the library and organise meetings and dialogue with
users where they actually are.
2. The library space must create surprise and inspiration
We need new concepts for the design of the physical library space.
The library must be attractive for children to be, learn and play in.
3. The libraries develop their net services
The libraries create new frames and facilities i.e. by exploiting social
technologies and using staff as hosts and resources in virtual
networks for children.
4. Children play – in the library
The library can turn play and play culture into a central area of
activity. The library can create space for play, make toys and games
available and advise on games and toys.
5. The library gives children reading experiences and reading
The library continues the work on encouraging children’s zest for
reading, reading experiences and reading skills.
6. Create assets in new forms of cooperation between school
library and public library
Schools and libraries can work more closely together and coordinate
services to children. Exploit the various competences of the two
library types by doing things together.
7. The library creates community feeling – also for those
The library adapts its services to children with special needs:
Handicapped, socially vulnerable and children with ethnic
background other than Danish.
8. The library supports learning and cultural development
The library supports formal and informal learning that enables
children to grow and develop competences in coding, creating and
exchanging text, sounds and images.
9. The library must reach out to children
The library reaches out to children and offer services where children
actually move around: Kindergartens, day-care centres, schools and
10. The library’s management focuses on children
The libraries’ management prioritizes staff, money and time – for
continuously rethinking, innovating and locally adapting the library’s
services to children.
I think the Danish Library Authority has it going on. I think these recommendations are broad enough to apply to most library systems. Next time (or, you know, if ever) I get asked my opinon about the future of children’s services in the public library- I’m going to whip this out as my starting point.