Monthly Archives: November 2016

How can libraries better serve refugees and asylum seekers?

Join a discussion on How can libraries better serve refugees and asylum seekers?

Web-conference sessions:

  • December 2, 2016 10:30-11:30 am CT

Participant link:

  • Best used with headset and high speed internet on the Chrome browser, or another browser with Flash Player

Twitter chat sessions:

  • November 29, 2016; 1:00-2:00 pm CT
  • December 5, 2016; 8:00-9:00 pm CT

Join the Twitter discussion @MortensonCenter using the hashtag #libraries4refugees

  • Use the hashtag #welcomepitch to share announcements, resources, CFPs, etc relevant to chat topic or refugees and asylum seekers

Use to determine your local time.

The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs has partnered with ALA on the IMLS-funded “Project Welcome: Libraries and Community Anchors Planning for Resettlement and Integration of Refugees and Asylum Seekers”.   Project Welcome is a one-year planning grant (May 2016 – April 2017) that aims to learn about and articulate ways libraries can address the information needs of refugees and asylum seekers in order to support and empower them in their resettlement and integration process.  We are assessing the information needs and gaps in library services by learning from US and international librarians, international and national governmental agencies, and domestic resettlement and social services to develop recommendations and an action agenda on information resources, services, training, and research needed to support the resettlement and integration of refugees and asylum seekers in the United States.


As part of the planning grant, we are holding listening sessions to learn from the library and information community: How can libraries better serve refugees and asylum seekers?  The input will be incorporated into a thought paper, that will be used to provide background for the 2-day collaborative learning space/meeting to explore library and information solutions, including a 1-day public summit (February 6, 2017; Cambria Chicago Hotel)


If you have questions, please email


Project Coordinators: Clara M. Chu and Susan Schnuer, Mortenson Center for International Library Program

Project Partners: Michael Dowling and Jody Gray, American Library Association

Network of Young Librarians in the Netherlands (YLN)







Guest Blogger: Tamar van Moolenbroek, product manager ProBiblio

March 2016, a town near Amsterdam. Two young librarians (26 years old) are eagerly anticipating fifteen young colleagues that enthusiastically responded to the proposal to get together. Would these colleagues recognise their ideas and the need for mutual contact?

The meeting in March

The meeting in March

What is YLN?
Half a year ago, we formed a network with around 75 young employees from the public library sector. This included all sorts of employees – from communication employees to education specialists – from all layers of the sector: locally, provincially and nationally.

Our interview with the Library Journal: “Young Librarians: amazed about the branch”

Our interview with the Library Journal:
“Young Librarians: amazed about the branch”


What does YLN intend?
We want to achieve several things with the network. Common thread is the promotion of contact between young librarians, because, strangely enough, this barely existed. With this contact we hope to enthuse and inspire for our profession. From this contact, several other objectives emerge, such as sharing knowledge, strengthen ties with organisations in the sector, get items on the agenda, support existing initiatives and come up with new ideas.


What does YLN do?
We took up the promotion of contact in a very concrete way: we are in daily contact with each other through a Facebook group or through our group on Biebtobieb (see also the blog by Levien den Boer). Furthermore, we meet several times a year during regional and national meetings. In summary: at least twice a year we go to the pub together, and at least twice a year we hold an substantive meeting.

Coming up with ideas together

Coming up with ideas together

... a lot of ideas!

… a lot of ideas!

As far as the other objectives go, there is still a lot in the making. We are discussing within our group and with the library sector to find out what more we can do. Some members write blogs to tell about their experiences, others join the substantive working group or the national communication team. Still other members are busy making an information package for colleagues that are new to the sector. In this way, we are not only growing in numbers, but also in activities!

A substantive meeting (September 2016): ‘lecture’ by Prof. Dr. Huysmans (University of Amsterdam)

A substantive meeting (September 2016): ‘lecture’ by Prof. Dr. Huysmans (University of Amsterdam)

Curious about our plans?


Through our website


we will keep you posted.

Biebtobieb: sharing knowledge and ideas







Guest Blogger: Levien den Boer, moderator National Knowledge Sharing at Koninklijke Bibliotheek – National Library of the Netherlands.

Although there are of course differences between the various (public) libraries in the Netherlands, they face similar questions, challenges and needs. In order to prevent them from reinventing the wheel and foster the sharing and co-creation of knowledge and ideas, the online platform Biebtobieb was created. Biebtobieb offers employees of Dutch (public) libraries and relating fields an online environment within which they can cooperate, pose questions, gather information and share their knowledge. By connecting various libraries and librarians, we aim to (co-)create knowledge and expertise that are greater than the sum of their parts.

The essentials of the platform
Biebtobieb was created in 2012 by SIOB (an institute for public libraries that became a part of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in 2015) and SPN (the organ within which the provincial library organizations cooperate). It is an online innovation and knowledge sharing platform, built with open-source software Drupal, that features (to a certain extent) elements of social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Yammer. Once users have created a profile, they can follow other users, join groups (both public and private), within which they can cooperate with colleagues throughout the Netherlands, create events or post personal contributions. Groups are formed around either a theme (for instance: youth, library architecture or refugees), an event (for instance: the National Library Congress) or region in the Netherlands. An overview of recent messages posted by the persons or within the groups you follow is presented in the form of a personal timeline. Groups also have a separate timeline which only contains the messages posted or shared in that specific group. Users can comment on, like or share each message and tag colleagues. They receive notifications through the platform and can opt for additional notifications and digests via e-mail. To stimulate online cooperation the platform features a Google Docs integration.


  • Facts and figures
    Number of registered users (as of October 6, 2016):  4551.
  • Number of groups (as of October 6, 2016): 369 (129 public, 246 private).
  • Total number of logins in 2015: 28.858.
  • Total number of messages posted in 2015: 3189.
  • Total number of likes in 2015: 1201.
  • Total number of replies in 2015: 2165
  • Nominated for a Drupal Splash Award in 2014.


More information
The live version of the platform can be found at: (registration is not limited to Dutch residents, so feel free to create an account).

Special showcase page created by the software developer (in Dutch): .

Drupal Splash Award nomination 2014 (in English): .

Telephone: +31 70 314 0684
LinkedIn: .


Score a Book!







Guest Blogger: Jolanda Robben, coordinator Score a Book!, Biblionet Groningen

Learning to read well is of great importance to growing children. It helps even more when they enjoy reading. With this in mind, Biblionet Groningen and the FC Groningen Foundation are performing the Score a Book! project: a unique reading project for primary school pupils aged 7 to 9. Score a Book! combines reading with football, because you can score anywhere!

With Score a Book! pupils are challenged in a playful way to read as many books as they can in class in ten weeks. The pupils are cheered on by a professional football player using videos. For every book they have read, the pupils stick a ‘ball’ (sticker) on a poster. In this way we know of every class how many books they read during the project. Score a Book! is concluded with a sporting party at which the pupils can score on the football pitch.


It is known that boys lag behind girls in the area of reading. By connecting a reading project to football, the boys are particularly engaged. Since 2016, the project has been expanded with a home edition. The pupils encourage their parents and other family members to read extra at home as well.

Score a Book! has grown in six years’ time to become one of the most successful reading projects in the north of the Netherlands. In 2016, in the province of Groningen 6665 pupils participated. The final score was impressive: the pupils read a total of no less than 53,721 books.


The success of Score a Book! has not gone unnoticed in the rest of the Netherlands. At the moment, Biblionet Groningen is working with other libraries on a national rollout.

The Dutch Premier League clubs PSV Eindhoven, Heracles Almelo and Go Ahead Eagles have already confirmed they would like to participate in Score a Book!.

And it does not stop there. In October 2016, the organisation of the Dutch Premier League signed a pledge, in which the 18 Premier League clubs promise to undertake efforts to fight low literacy and to promote reading by means of projects such as Score a Book!. This promise is an important step in the national roll-out of this sporting project.


Want to know more? Please contact Jolanda Robben:


New in the Netherlands: the library for newcomers







Guest Blogger: Juan Khalaf, project manager New in the Netherlands, and nominated for Best Librarian of the Netherlands 2016 (an initiative of the Library Journal)

As a former refugee I know how important it is to learn to feel at home in your new country. When I came to the Netherlands from Syria fifteen years ago, the Library for me was a place where I felt safe and, above all, developed myself.

The library as a place for development of newcomers, that is the idea behind the project New in the Netherlands from Bibliotheek Theek 5 . New in the Netherlands is a series of theme meetings for newcomers that focus on both the get-together and the collection of the library. The meetings are intended for the personal development of the newcomers by connecting with the collection and with each other



Every meeting has its own theme, such as Typically the Netherlands, Dutch Art and Culture, and the Dutch Cuisine. The guest speakers at the meetings are often members or customers of the library. They hear about the project and are keen to contribute to New in the Netherlands. The collection is illustrated per theme with a story recommendation. Many newcomers are enthusiastic and now regularly visit the library. They are coupled to (Dutch) members and meet at the library to learn more about the language and about Dutch customs and traditions.

The project corresponds well with the objective of the Theek 5 organisation to let people learn for a lifetime. A lifetime of learning is the common thread in the policy plan of Theek 5.

The participants of New in the Netherlands with the mayor of Oosterhout, who also gave a talk

The participants of New in the Netherlands with the mayor of Oosterhout, who also gave a talk

The essential purpose of the project is to make people feel at home in the Netherlands by getting acquainted with various aspects of the Dutch culture, language and identity. Furthermore, they get to know the library as a place where they are welcome and able to increase their knowledge. I am happy and delighted that, as library, we can contribute in this way to make newcomers feel at home in the Netherlands.

More information:


The municipality/local council as a partner, the library as an entrepreneur







Guest Blogger: Erna Winters, director Public Library Kennemerwaard, member of the Executive Committee at EBLIDA

Once upon a time, a long time ago, when stories and imagination still ruled, deep into the 20th century, the world was still full of great expectations…. That was a time when local politicians were proud of their library. It was a time in which politicians believed in a better world for all, and that libraries and librarians were key partners to make these dreams come true.

Now, in the second decennium of the 21st century, we’re living in different times; times of hardship, budget cuts, nightmare years. Why has the view of politicians changed so much, why do they no longer feel that the library belongs to them and to the community? Do they really feel that the library is obsolete?

I was once told that the best time to start with advocacy was yesterday, the second best time is today. I would like to share some thoughts on advocacy with you.

  1. Make it a continuous process, not just at election time or at budget time.
  2. Take advocacy in a broad view: enhance and emphasize the added value of the library.
  3. Make yourself known, make it personal (get to know the local politicians, and make sure that they know you and your key staff members).
  4. Don’t just ask, give as well. Send them invitations to interesting activities, give them the floor if you have something to celebrate.
  5. Emphasize the value of the library instead of focussing on the costs (they can do that perfectly well by themselves).
  6. Invite newly elected local politicians for a welcome visit. Tell them about all the good work that you’re doing and show them around.
  7. Whenever there is a debate concerning the library or subsidies/budgets in the city council, be there and be seen (or heard if possible).
  8. If you plan to speak at/to the council, make sure that you inform your alderman (no surprises).
  9. Inform a new alderman, give him/her your strategic plan, key facts etc. Give him/her a tour of the library.
  10. Have some slogans on the value of the library ready to put into election programs, invite yourself to local party meetings before election time and share ideas on the future of the library.

When you have done all this, unfortunately there is no guarantee that you will not be faced with budget cuts, but there are a few more things that might help to influence how politicians think about the library; whether they think you are a trustworthy partner.

  1. Make sure that you deliver. Quality of services, opening hours, number of activities.
  2. Keep up your end of ‘the deal’, be reliable. If you say you will do something, do it!
  3. Work within budget.
  4. No surprises: if you foresee that you will not be able to manage within budget, tell your aldermen as soon as you know.
  5. Continuity: make sure that the municipality is dealing with the same set of library employees. A lot of changes in management don’t give a reliable picture.

Of course, all the above is written from a Dutch perspective. Most public libraries in the Netherlands are an independent  foundation, although for 70-80% of their exploitation budget they rely on funding by the local council. The position of an independent foundation does give more freedom when it comes to advocacy. Still, even if your library is part of the local council (i.e. your employees are civil servants), I feel that there are ways to inform and influence the local politicians. You should have started yesterday… but let’s get going and start advocating today!


FryskLab: Bookmobile with FabLab







Guest Blogger: Jeroen de Boer, programme manager innovation, Library Service Fryslân

Since September 2013, the Library Service Fryslân has a FryskLab at its disposition, a bookmobile that contains a FabLab (fabrication laboratory). The basis for this project is the sharing of knowledge and meeting. Joining up with what is known as the maker movement in our view was the way to accomplish a local ambition: to boost the sharing of knowledge in Friesland and with that confront a number of local challenges.

In this way, FryskLab is just as much about library innovation as about maker culture. And about mobility in a rural area. This, incidentally, is not unfamiliar. The first Dutch bookmobile operated in Friesland and was primarily intended to allow people to read. With FryskLab we are doing the same thing 70 years later, but we transform from literacy to digital literacy. It is important that we not only teach children how technology works, but also make them realize why this is important for them. Or at least give them something that they can work on themselves. Creativity is first and foremost in this.

An extra challenge is embedding this in the library itself. To this end, inspired by our Swedish colleague Ake Nygren, we developed a workshop to bring librarians into contact with digital literacy and maker culture.

Code Week

On 18 and 19 October, we presented this at the European Parliament in Brussels, as part of the Europe Code Week.


Our proposal met with many positive responses, among others by Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien and by Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. A set of ten Maker Boxes, assembled by us, was presented to ten European Members of Parliament, who in turn will present them to a library in their country of origin.


Because, as expressed by Cory Doctorow: “Damn right libraries shouldn’t be book-lined Internet cafes. They should be book-lined, computer-filled information-dojos where communities come together to teach each other black-belt information literacy, where initiates work alongside noviates to show them how to master the tools of the networked age from the bare metal up.

Listen to this interview with Jeroen de Boer from FryskLab – Library Service Fryslân who brought the FryskLab bus to the EMEA Regional Council Meeting 2015 in Florence, Italy. In this short video, Jeroen talks about FabLabs and makerspaces and the importance of making.

Images on Flickr