Every annual report is one more chapter in the book we are writing together. The truth on which it is all based on: our love for the libraries.
What We Achieved in 2012
In 2012, the first year of our programme, we established collaboration with 87 public and municipal libraries across Greece and carried out 5 major projects:
- promotion of creativity, reading and innovation;
- training the future librarian;
- network of children services;
- digital services; and
- raising awareness.
It would be an omission not to emphasize that all libraries in our network have successfully executed a particularly ambitious plan in an era where the rest of the country’s cultural institutions face problems concerning their operations and their orientation about their role in society. Our confidence in the human resources of libraries and our investment in training sessions on competencies for the 21st century have contributed to the success of the programme during its first year.
Promotion of Creativity, Reading and Innovation
Summer is a period when there is a necessity for events and activities for children who do not go on vacation or camping. Libraries are capable of meeting this need by organizing activities. These activities have been designed to become the starting point for children to discover new ways of expression, to invent new means of entertainment and to experiment in different approaches to knowledge. They are placed in a wider structure in order to cover several domains, such as artistic performances, theatrical game, reading, cinema, and experiments in physics and chemistry. For the first time, 72 libraries cooperated under the umbrella of a common summer campaign on reading and creativity. This year the concept of the “route” was the core topic of the campaign under the title “Route with Library as a Compass.”
● 1,450 events in 64 cities
● 26,000 participants (children and parents)
● 2,900 hours of creative workshops
● 10,600 books donated to 68 libraries
● 99 librarians trained
● 291 volunteers
Network of Children Services
We renovated the children sections of eight (8) libraries in Central Macedonia in cooperation with the Municipalities of Thessaloniki and Kalamaria as well as the Ministry of Education& Religion, Culture & Sports. The redevelopment of the space of the eight (8) libraries was based on the idea of “Magic Boxes” of the Veria Central Public Library. Beyond the aesthetic refurbishment and renovation of the infrastructure, the project mainly aimed at defining the role and functions of libraries taking into consideration the contemporary conditions and needs. In practice, with these interventions two related simple questions are answered: “what can a child do in a library?” and “what can a library offer a child?” During the planning of interventions in the physical space, it was required to shape discrete areas for different uses and to form a familiar, challenging and attractive environment that will serve various age groups and functions.
● We redesigned, refurbished and re-equipped the:
○ Kilkis Public Library
○ Serres PublicLibrary
○ Kalamaria Municipal Library, “Danilidios” branch
○ Kalamaria Municipal Library, “Karabournaki” branch
○ Thessaloniki Municipal Library, “AnoPoli” branch
○ Thessaloniki Municipal Library, “Orestou” branch
○ Thessaloniki Municipal Library, “Xirokrini” branch
○ Thessaloniki Municipal Library, “Harilaou” branch
● In total, 997 square meters were renovated in the eight (8) libraries
● 16 librarians were trained
● 8 unique concepts of spaces were brought to life exclusively for children offering:
○ creativity study corner
○ workshop space
○ comic-reading corner
○ Internet and PC space
○ game area
○ artistic performance stage.
Training the Future Librarian
We believe that the most effective way to ensure that the creative and innovative library leaders do not behave with the rationale of the past, is to give them the chance to interconnect, to discover new ideas, to experiment in new services and to learn from each other. We created the leader officers’ network from across Greece, who share a common vision about what public libraries can and how they should be today. Sixteen (16) officers from libraries and cultural institutions participated in the first leader officers’ network. They developed skills to make their vision a reality at their local communities. They come from the 12 regions of the country and have different background, but they all share the same passion for public libraries and the desire to improve citizens’ lives.
● 16 leaders
● 88-hour series of empirical workshops
● skills developed: leadership, project management, advocacy, innovation
● 10 proposals for new library services.
We believe that a more open library is a better library. Informed people take better decisions and have greater impact, which is why we work hard to make sure everyone at Future Library has access to as much information about the programme as possible. This year our main focus was to build social value. We wanted to make libraries and librarians more open and connected than before and not just to build digital services for libraries. The Future Library social network lies at the heart of our programme where libraries and people scattered across the country communicate, share resources and receive training. We invested in technology and digital services that add value to the physical space and enhance the in-library user experience. We are developing the Digital Resources Space that offers access to premium content which will be accessible when a user is connected to free Internet service (WiFi& LAN) at any of our member libraries.
● 3,923 registered people
● registered organisations: 87 public / municipal libraries
● 11 libraries receive access to premium newspaper content (Press Display)
● 68 libraries supported with personal computers
● 2,826 blog posts written by our community
● 27,419 Facebook users per day.
In November 2012, for 3 days, the Future Library un-conference about the library of the future gathered more than 5,946 children, parents and professionals from all over Greece. We opened the door to the creative industry and brought at the forefront best practices and examples of excellence that were developed across the country and internationally. We are sharing the same books, lets share ideas was the main message of this annual event that attracted librarians, the internet industry, professionals from the creative and cultural sector, students, local authorities and city councils, the Ministry, children and parents. It included keynote talks, creative presentations and performances as well as workshops.
● 98 creative events, 5,946 participants
● 350 un-conference participants
● 3 keynotes speakers by Library-10, Google and Mozilla Foundation
● 11 workshops
● 13 creative speakers.
The Way Ahead
As a conclusion to the summer campaign on creativity and innovation, we reward the excellent efforts of our network to organise 1,450 activities, which accumulated more than 26,000 children and parents. Our network with the eight (8) renovated children libraries in the region of Central Macedonia has already shown a positive impact on the quality of library services. In the coming years it will become a best practice model for public-private partnerships. Regarding services to children and parents, it is evident that nowadays public libraries fill an important gap that occurs throughout the country. The Future Library social network covers the need to make libraries and librarians more open and connected and to build online social value. The Future Library un-conference proved that librarians are not merely professionals who handle collections and information. Librarians have the capacity to lead, create impact and inspire the local community.
The unfavorable economic conditions require us to proceed immediately to build synergies at local, national and international level, which aim at the promotion of new services and at the boosting of the efficiency of our actions. This is the right moment to look on the future with hopefulness and to believe in the ability to develop a modern network of library and information services; a network which will effectively contribute to the economic and social revival of the local communities.
During the coming years, we will be concerned with the sustainability of the network’s services both locally regarding each participating library in the programme, as well as centrally in cooperation with all stakeholders. Moreover, the training programmes which are going to be implemented will include ideas and plans about fund raising and advocating the role of libraries in the broader social environment.
If the first year of the implementation of the Programme focused on the organization of cooperation among libraries and on the strengthening of a feeling of confidence among partners, 2013 can be characterized as the year that highlights the beginning of building sustainable partnerships and establishing libraries as community and creativity hubs.