Friday, November 6, 2020

A few thoughts on How to create a relevant public space by Aat Vos

How to Create a Relevant Public SpaceHow to Create a Relevant Public Space by Aat Vos
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book reads like it is written as a provocation. It has many interesting ideas, and I don't agree with them all, but it is still interesting reading. Ideas to consider include, who are you excluding from your library. It may not be deliberate (or it may), but it could be in how the library is designed, and services are provided that some people feel unwelcome. The chapter by Diane Ghirardo is of particular interest for this.

One of the libraries discussed (in Gouda) was a chocolate factory before it was a library. The chapter by Jan David Hanrath and Rob Bruijnzeels highlights the importance of telling the stories of the buildings in a context like local studies. They also stress the importance of collections, and of connecting communities to these collections.
It is important that you remain true to yourself. The library's existence begins and ends with the collection. I mean a modern collection with, in addition to books, other forms of content such as music, art, tools, videos, course and activities, either physically or online. But that the collection is the core...the collection is what you inspire people with stories and information that is relevant to them...The library is going to ask questions, questions that are important for both individuals and community' (pp162-163, 165).

There are many lovely photographs of libraries in this book, but for some of these libraries access seems limited to those who are able bodied with stairs seeming sometimes as barriers not for access. When reading this book, think about whose voices are not included.

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