March 25, 2009
As promised last week, here’s some more on Amsterdam’s Library of 100 Talents. Karen Bertrams, a library advisor from Holland, visited Ireland last year as part of a symposium presented by CBI and The Ark. Below is a summary of the project. There is some more information and images available online too – Try here and here
The project started in 2002 when a local school was asked to build a model of a new children’s library to be entered in the national contest ‘The Library of 100 Talents’ and by 2007 had resulted in a brand new library building in Heerhugowaard. This library reflects the way that children now use information, create new contexts and share this with other children. How children find and use information is completely different to adults and therefore a scaled down model of a library for adults would not be successful for children. Instead what was required was a different type of building that made it possible to organise and share information in new ways.
The concept of the Library of 100 Talents finds its roots in the educational visions of Reggio Emilia and the theory of Howard Gardner. The Reggio vision calls it the 100 languages of children. The learning theory of Howard Gardner explains how children look at the world in their own way. He distinguishes nine different forms of intelligence: Verbal, Logical, Visual, Musical, Bodily, Naturalistic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal and Existential.
The Library of 100 Talents offers a framework for developing a truly new library which is conscious of the children’s needs in all its services
Planning and building the Heerhugowaard Library involved consulting with children about the layout, the aesthetics and the programming of this new space. Two hundred and fifty children, 11-12 year olds from 10 different schools, took part in various consultation sessions and master classes. By recording the results carefully in text and illustrations, the architects’ brief for the children’s library gradually developed. This resulted in innovative and child-centred designs including a dome on the roof of the fourth floor where the children can look out over their town, a new way for organising books and materials and purpose built workshop spaces.
March 19, 2009
Seamus Heaney has been awarded the ninth David Cohen Prize for Literature. A popular winner Seamus accepted the award with his usual wit and warmth.
A great part of the prize? – he gets to select a recipient for the £12,500 Clarissa Luard Award and he choose Poetry Aloud organised by The National Library of Ireland and Poetry Ireland. Congrats to one and all.
Photo below via Book Brunch featuring Seamus and Maire Heaney along with Aongus O hAonghusa of the National Library and Jane O’Hanlon of Poetry Ireland. In accepting the award Jane said it was
“A heartening expression of support which acknowledged the organisations’ commitment to high-quality literary arts practice with young people.”
March 19, 2009
David coined that great phase recently when a passionate librarian responded to a Kevin Myers article which questioned the need for publicly funded arts and library spaces.
The library employees will stay on the state payroll while the bookshop closes and its owners and their employees go on the dole. Precisely what are the benefits of that for any town, or any minister for finance?
Moreover, what is the actual cost of keeping both theatre and library going, in terms of maintenance, heating, depreciation, plus the salaries and lifetime pensions of the public servants who work in them?
Discussion of libraries and their role continued in the Irish Times with a piece about their increased use in times of recession. Based on Library Council input the article outlines how
More people are coming in to use computer facilities – some 97 per cent of the State’s libraries offer free internet access – to look for and apply for jobs. “People are also joining simply because they now have less money and more time on their hands,” he (Brendan Teeling, The Library Council) believes.
The books being borrowed have shifted, again with the budget books now competing with self-help books for readers’ attention, although both are overshadowed by the demand for the popular fiction of Marian Keyes, Cecelia Ahern and Maeve Binchy, who all routinely feature in the top 10 most borrowed books in Ireland’s libraries.
Libraries are an extraordinary community resource and in so many cases, with the comittment of staff, community and other organisations become vibrant hubs for literature. Sometime I wonder though if they try and be too many things to too many people. Nurturing the creative flair of some library spaces may just allow them to excel in a particular area – children’s services, local history, music etc. I’ve been lucky enough to meet with some library teams from Holland who push to develop the range and ambition of library services. More on the inspiring Library of 100 Talents tomorrow ……
March 11, 2009
The ten titles on the shortlist have just been announced -
Full details here and both Celine and David are already talking about it,
Here’s hoping the media agree that discussing the shortlisted titles is worthy of some space. There is plenty of time between now and the May 20th announcement for some vigorous debate
Quick Update – Coverage today (March 12th) in Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, Irish Daily Mail and Metro