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Internet Librarian 2010: The Community: Most Important Part of Our Collection

Erik Boekesteign and Jaap Van de Geer

Erik & Jaap work for the Innovation Department of the dok library concept center in Delft, Netherlands.  dok won the Netherlands library of the year this past year.  They have an annual report that is put out as a high quality glossy magazine.  Very awesome looking – we’re talking Vogue or Rolling Stone quality.  They showed us a brief LBI Shanachie Tour video introducing the dok library.  The library offers a bluetooth-powered device that will deliver audiobooks to users’ mobile phones.  (Sarah’s comment: Why the heck can’t we do that here in the U.S.?)  The library has a download station in their airport library.  The dok Library Concept Center was named as a nod to the nearby IKEA Concept Center (a testing outlet for IKEA’s stores).  dok is a merged library with the local art library as well (a condition for the city council building their new building).  They had an architect and a designer.  The glass stairs and windows set off the simple concrete walls and floors.  One of the main features of the building is the light — the reading room is covered by a 60 meter long glass roof.  The administrative offices are connected to the reading room through the glass windows on the second floor.  Signage is important.  They hired university students to do a lot of work in dok, one of whom approached the signage issue in the library–simple color-coded words on walls and floors.  The bookshelves are made of very cheap material so that if they need to destroy them or move them, it’s not as big a loss.  The shelves have no top shelf (the top shelves only gather dust)…and all the shelves are angled slightly backwards.  The youth department shelves are all on wheels and can be moved around very easily.  They emptied out this area for a 48 hour LAN party for the teens — nice!  They have music chairs from Germany — little egg chair-type pods that they got through an external grant.  You only hear the sound inside the chair, and you can use the included Mac to download whatever you want, including full access to the library’s collection.  They’re rebuilding one as a Spotify chair (oh holy sweetness — can I move to Delft?).  Comfortable furniture was a big part of the interior design, and they did a great job.  They’ve got a huge art exhibit and museum area.  The high schools in Delft have screens in the classrooms and a new piece of local art comes up every few days.  After a few months, the students come to the library to see the real live works of art they’d been seeing in the classroom.  They love their floor — colorful cement.  It’s weird to them that we have lots of carpeting in the states.  In Europe, they prefer the hard floor – it keeps clean and lasts longer and looks better.  And as Jaap says “the beautiful floor serves as a serving tray for the content, and highlights the content even more.”  Yes!  They went looking for a new ILS 3 years ago and couldn’t find anything they wanted or liked, so they built their own.  Now they sell this ILS to others, and it does include a 30 percent open source component.  In the Netherlands, libraries are funded through subscription fees — $45 a year or so per adult.  If you don’t have a job or are 65+, it’s free.  Erik pointed out that here in the states, people are deluded into thinking they aren’t paying for libraries but they actually are.  Jaap talked about how they have a small single service desk, but what’s more important is the staff walking the floor with library staff tool belts to identify them as staff.  Their signage runs off of the Nintendo wii.  There are 12 screens in the library.  The wii channel is used to push out the signage, but they can be flipped around and used as a gaming device.  The reading cafe includes a huge set of all-face-out magazine displays.  Branding is very important.  Everything you do, brand it.  They have an old VW bus branded with dok’s logo.  Everything in the library was designed with minimalist design, simple geometric shapes and colors, and is just plain gorgeous.  I want to live in dok.  I don’t think they’d like that much though.  They have been doing gaming since 1996.  They work with a small Dutch gaming company.  Big gaming companies provided them with the consoles for free.  They developed a simple solution for libraries for gaming — the Gaming Flightcase.  It’s a single box on wheels, with a single plug that starts up the consoles inside — multiple consoles..everything’s on.  And there’s a remote that brings up a flat screen LCD screen out of the back.  All the controllers are included, and that’s it.  You’ve got all the consoles already connected and you start playing.  Here’s my question–why has no one developed something like this and marketed/sold it?  dok also has a surface table in their library.  They connected users’ library profiles to information in the city archive.  You place your library card on the table, the table reads your card, and goes into the archive and brings up pictures of your local address’s street going back to 1910.  You can interact with the maps, magnify them, look up streets…it’s a pretty awesome implementation of the Microsoft Surface Table.  dok also allows for renting of cubicles in the library too, pretty neat!  Jaap recommends that we use industrial and user experience design to develop new services in libraries.  Designers will help libraries look and operate better.

“Internet Librarian 2010: The Community: Most Important Part of Our Collection”

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    You know what…guys in general need to step up their interior decorating skills. I’ve never regretted going for high-quality, and the best prices I can find on modern furniture is at Modern Man Caves.

  4. Magg Says:

    Great idea. Don’t we wish to have similar concept in Canada as well?
    Can you get them to introduce such concept to other libraries ? Might spread like hot cakes…J

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