IFLAcampLab-2014: A Hero of Our Time in a Library
On 26-29 June 2014 the M. Lermontov Interdistrict Public Library System of St Petersburg, Russia hosted the second Library Creative Laboratory IFLAcampLab: "A Hero of Our Time in a Library". The event was supported by IFLA’s New Professional Special Interest Group.
IFLAcampLab is a library unconference for new professionals. The event’s format - that of a creative laboratory - combines both theory and practice. Over the four days of the Lab, over 50 librarians and LIS students from Russia and around the world shared their ideas and success stories while exploring the rich traditions of St Petersburg’s leading public libraries.
The second IFLAcampLab: "A Hero of Our Time in a Library" was named after the famous novel by Mikhail Lermontov, one of Russia’s greatest poets and writers whose 200th anniversary is celebrated in 2014. The uncoference’s main focus was both on patrons and new professionals as heroes of today’s libraries. Some of the topics discussed were: engaging with the community, new types of user services and the relevance of libraries in the 21st century.
During Day 1 of the Laboratory a series of presentations were given by professionals from Russia’s public and academic libraries. Some of the highlights were: "Public library as part of a modern urban community" by Elena Petukhova and Ekaterina Olina, Kaliningrad City Public Library, "Public libraries’ role in preserving and promoting cultural heritage" by Olga Pechonkina, I. Turgenev Public Library, Moscow, and "User-generated library" by Maria Klimova, D. Blokhintsev Library of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna, Moscow region.
The programme also featured video-conferences with IFLA NPSIG co-convenor Bridgette Hendrix (Washington DC, USA), Cycling for Libraries project founder and co-ordinator Jukka Pennanen (Helsinki, Finland) and librarian at Koknese parish children's library Antra Vasiļevska (Koknese, Latvia). The presentation by Bridgette Hendrix was titled "Advocacy for New Professionals: How to Be a Hero for Libraries" and introduced the mostly-Russian audience to the concept of library advocacy, offering practical tips for being a better advocate for libraries, as well as gave an overview of IFLA NPSIG’s initiatives and activities.
Day 2 of the Laboratory featured discussion groups that were aimed to help devise problem-solving strategies for libraries. Also as part of the Day 2 programme, the winners of the Five Ideas for Libraries competition were announced and awarded. The nominations included: social projects, projects for children, work in preserving local cultural heritage, promotion of books and reading, educational projects, and workspace projects.
The IFLAcampLab cultural programme featured tours of St Petersburg’s libraries, including the State Library for the Blind, guided city tours, literary recitals, various workshops and an outdoor book exchange. The 4-day Laboratory culminated in a Cycling for Libraries mini-tour near the seaside resort town of Sestroretsk in outer St Peterburg.