Daily Archives: January 18, 2012

Melbourne Open Lab

In the Melbourne Open Lab we heard from three speakers and then split off into two groups to discuss the questions and provocations that FSGR had sent. The discussion was lively, with a great mix of artists, librarians, historians, arts managers and interested locals and it was clear from the way our audience launched into discussion that libraries are places that ignite imaginations.

OPEN LAB welcome

“Empires of the future will be empires of the mind.” – W Churchill

Here is a snapshot of some of the discussions and and  some attempts by the groups at answering the questions….

What kind of librarians and cultural managers will we be?

Facilitators, Match makers, Distillers, Quality managers, Trusted guides, Conduits for information, they will act as points of access.

How do the public talk to each other? 

Musically… perhaps there might be musical instruments in the space.

Through common objects… perhaps there might be a comment book, a shared book that is built with each visit to the library.

In shared spaces… with a common focus, storytimes, homework and community groups.

The books exist so that people can use them collectively…Perhaps philosophy groups might run in the library making use of the books available to discuss areas of common interest.


“In the future… when we blink we will go online” Michio Kaku

In  this new context of online reading, how can we attract new audiences and what will the relationship between the digital and virtual spaces be like?

Is Web 2.0 content knowledge in the sense that libraries are accustomed to? and are these social or cultural exchanges archiveable in the way in which libraries are used to? If what is dawning is an age of greater social democratisation, how do libraries help facilitate these changes and adapt? And is this idea of co-creation in libraries a way of keeping people in the space for longer in the same way people stay in galleries etc…Will drastic changes alienate current users of passive services?

Someone suggested that libraries might like to host a “data furnace”…

…in the end this group decided that libraries have an ongoing role in contextualising / brokering and mediating knowledge and information and in bringing all these formats together and presenting them in meaningful ways. Libraries  have a role in helping us to build stories out of all of these disparate sources.

The group was interested in the difference between the precision of the knowledge that is available vs the informal colloquial knowledge that libraries attract particularly in rural centers.