Dan Hallemar: Making Space in the Library – the Conflict between Permissive and Safe

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Live-stream recording from a conference “Nordic Libraries Annual 2023”. This live streaming video includes a presentation by Dan Hallemar, Swedish journalist, editor and podcaster, “Making Space in the Library – the Conflict between Permissive and Safe”. At the end of the presentation the moderator of the conference Päivi Jokitalo talks with Dan Hallemar.

In a shrinking public sphere, libraries have become increasingly important pillars of cities and communities. What role does architecture play in the place the library can take in the public realm? Most libraries live with an architecture designed and shaped in another era. How should you relate to what you have? Threat or opportunity? On his journey through Swedish libraries presented in the book Folkbiblioteket (2022), Dan Hallemar has encountered many of the challenges that libraries face – but also some of the opportunities that exist, both in the new and the existing.  Dan Hallemar is a journalist, editor and runs the podcast Staden.

Nordic Libraries Annual is an annual conference looking at topical issues in public libraries and library development. The conference examined the self-service use of libraries. In 2023 the conference was organized November 2. The conference was organized by the Regional State Administrative Agencies in Finland in collaboration with Kirjastokaista (Library Channel) and Espoo City Library. The conference was funded by the Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture. This year’s conference was streamed from Espoo’s new Lippulaiva Library.

What happens when customers have the freedom to decide how and when they use library services? Self-service means inclusion, community and ownership of the spaces, but also permissiveness and trust. It requires practical solutions, safety and tolerance, as well as adaptation of personnel and patrons. The customers’ self-service also affects the professional identity of the library personnel.

What can self-service libraries offer users? What does the freedom of self-realization mean and do we have limits for it? What does the library space allow and enable for independent use with others? What interesting examples can be found in Nordic libraries?

The conference was related to the report on self-service libraries in Finland, which was published in June 2023. The report is available in Finnish (.pdf), Swedish (.pdf) and in abbreviated version in English (.pdf). A blog post about self-service libraries is also available.

Read more:
All videos from the conference
Dan Hallemar, Folkbiblioteket (2022)

See also:

In 2022 the conference was organized 2nd to 3rd of November in Helsinki, at the Central Library Oodi, and the focus was “Literacy, Libraries and The Civil Society”.
All the videos from the NLA 2022 conference

In 2021 the conference was organized online from the 3rd to 4th of November, and the focus was on libraries as well as democracy.
All the videos from the NLA 2021 conference

“Nordic Libraries Annual: Towards Sustainable Futures” was organized for the first time on the 5th and 6th of November 2020.
All the videos from the NLA 2020 conference

Live-stream: Mikko Helander and Joonas Nevalainen
Producer: Riitta Taarasti
Produced by Library Channel (Kirjastokaista), 2023

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