Follow that library!

Follow that car!” You all know this phrase from numerous movies when someone gets into a taxi and tells the driver to follow a car with the subject the person is tailing, and then the car chase scene begins.

Mobile library van

Follow that library! © CARLOS62

But this time I’m getting into your taxi and telling you to “Follow that library!”. October 1st is “Follow a library day on twitter”. See the Follow a Library blog and twitter page.

The idea is to send one or more tweets promoting your favourite libaries on twitter using the hashtag #followalibrary.

The initiative was a small but steadily growing campaign until on September 16 Wilma published the short promo video with Michael Stephens that she made at the UgameUlearn Conference on April 1st this year. Then it really took off when Michael Stephens blogged about it on the ALATechsource website and on his own blog. And now also David Lee King’s promo video and blog jump in.

What is so amazing to me is that it started out with a simple comment by me

Follow that cart! © Photos o' Randomness

on Wilma’s blog post (in Dutch) about the “Follow a museum” and “Follow an archive” campaigns. I said: “Wilma, hoe zit het met #followalibrary? 😉”, which is Dutch for: “Wilma, what about #followalibrary? 😉”. I really didn’t mean to start something, but Wilma replied: “Would be awesome to have a #followalibrary day. If you want to to start it, I’m in”. And then Poulus commented: “Both #followanarchive and #followalibrary are great ideas. I created a blog for both”.

And then there was no way back.

Cart chase © Lynnette Singh

Now there’s six of us: Ad, Edwin and Harriet got enthusiastic and  joined the team.

Six people from a small country (The Netherlands).

A global campaign for promoting libraries.

This is just to show that some great ideas just surface out of nowhere, and it only takes a small group of people taking action to get things going.

I still can’t believe it.

Wish you were here

It all started in Madrid during IGeLU 2008, in a bar at night.  A couple of participants talked about enriching lyrics of Beatles songs with Ex Libris product names. Maybe we could even perform at IGeLU 2009, with a group of people.

But you know how it goes, next year we talked about it again…and again…

So, I don’t know how it happened exactly, but this year I got the idea of adjusting the lyrics of the Pink Floyd song “Wish you were here” to the library and Ex Libris environment.  Somehow this worked. I asked Mark Dehmlow of Notre Dame University Hesburgh Libraries, who was one of the original partners in crime, if he was still interested, and he agreed to do it.

Here is the video of our performance made by Matthias Gross of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich. Apologies for the mistakes in the beginning. We practiced for hours and got it right in the end, but after a long and busy conference day we had some problems getting it going. For the lyrics scroll down to the background slideshow.

The guitars were provided by Patrick Hochstenbach and Saskia Scheltjens. And many thanks to the local organising team for helping making this happen.

David Mitchell at Teylers museum

David Mitchell reads

David Mitchell reading

On Saturday June 5th, 2010 I was at Teylers Museum in my hometown Haarlem to attend an interview by publisher Lidewijde Paris with author David Mitchell on the occasion of the launch of the Dutch translation of his latest novel “The thousand autumns of Jacob de Zoet”.
The story is set around 1800 on the small artificial Island Dejima (Deshima, Decima) in the harbour of the Japanese town Nagasaki, a trading post of the Dutch East Indies Company VOC. The Dutch at the time were the only western people allowed in Japan during the Tokugawa period. One of the novel’s main characters, doctor Marinus, is based on one of the first directors of Teylers Museum, Martinus van Marum.

The event was more a smart and witty conversation between friends than an interview, although Lidewijde Paris tried to get wandering off David back on the right track a couple of times.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet the author whom I admire very much since I first read Cloud Atlas. I have actually used him as an example of an author in a couple of posts on my library blog.

This time however, David Mitchell gave me an idea for an entire new post when he explained about the way his “oeuvre” is constructed: every single novel is part of one grand work, and several “virtual” sub-stories and characters live their own lives within this intertwined pool of stories. This implies that a story is not confined within the physical or virtual boundaries of one volume. Interesting!
When afterwards I had the chance to have my copy of “The thousand autumns of Jacob de Zoet” inscribed, I tried to explain my idea to David. I did not expect him to hear everything everybody told him. But when I walked away and saw what he wrote, I noticed he had listened…

My copy of 'Jacob de Zoet' inscribed by David Mitchell

It was a very enjoyable afternoon.

Happe.ning in Haarlem

Coster and dog

LJC

On June 4, 2010, the 4th Dutch Library2.0 Happe.Ning event took place in Haarlem. This is a kind of un-conference that is un-organised by different groups of members of the Dutch library 2.0 online social network Bibliotheek2.0.
This time the Happe.Ning was un-organised by people from my hometown Haarlem: Wilma, Jan, Peter, Ad, Janneke, Erik-Jan and myself. We work for a number of different organisations in the library and information area. The funny thing is that, as Jan pointed out, we probably would never have met in the first place without the Bibliotheek2.0 and twitter social networks.

The 2010 event was aimed at giving participants hands-on experience with a number of web2.0 applications that are interesting for libraries: videoblogging, mobile location aware services, Twitter, Foursquare, focusing on the central theme: the old story that printing was invented around 1430 in Haarlem by Lourens Janszoon Coster, and not by Gutenberg. Historians now say that Coster never even existed! This became the secondary theme of this un-conference: information and truth. How can you know that information is valid, but also: does it always matter?

After the introductory session with coffee, tea, cake and cookies the participants went out on the streets of the old medieval town in small groups, with their own assignments: videoblogging, finding historical Coster related objects and photographing them, or tracking a virtual/real life Coster through Twitter/Foursquare.

My own part in this was to play the role of Coster (my last name being Koster) and check in on Foursquare at a number of historical locations. For this purpose we had created a Foursquare account ‘Lourens Janszoon Coster’ and a linked Twitter account ‘ljcoster1’.

But during my field trip through Haarlem the large degree to which web 2.0 is dependent on the techological infrastructure made itself very clear: I just did not have a mobile internet connection on my smartphone, due to the T-Mobile network capacity problems in The Netherlands at the time. My smartphone was nothing more than a dumb phone.
But what to do to save the day and not let the participants wander aimlessly around, waiting for guidance?
Fortunately, there was a workaround. After going back to our HQ it became clear that you don’t have to actually be at the location you sign in for on Foursquare. You can just do it from a laptop or pc via a client like Tweetdeck that allows you to set a different geolocation and check in from there, even if you are somewhere else completely. So that’s what I did. I just conveniently checked in to a number of Foursquare locations sitting on a chair in our HQ. After entering the final location (Coster’s alleged residence and/or place of birth of printing, now a pub) all I had to do was to rush over there and sit down enjoying a nice glass of beer, waiting for the participants to find me.

This incident illustrated even more the fact that on the web it is very hard to judge the reliability of information. This, and the technological problems, were part of the end of the day’s evaluation. Of course there were also positive experiences. All gathered information will be mashed together in the event’s website as soon as possible.

See also:

Maastricht twip

Selexyz Dominikanen Bookstore

No, it’s not a typo! I am using “twip” to describe a trip I made with people I met on Twitter. This time we went on a day trip to Maastricht with Wilma, Janneke, Ad, Neeltje, and Mieke. On the way we visited Dannielle at her place of work, Fontys library in Sittard.

In Maastricht of course we visited the Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore, in an old church. Great for coffee and cake! Oh yes, and books.

On the trip we discussed a couple of library related informal projects we’re involved in: Happe.ning in Haarlem and #followalibrary.

Ugame Ulearn 2010

April 1st (no joke!) I attended the UgameUlearn symposium in Delft, focused on user experience in libraries. Some first impressions: this symposium is totally different from all other library conferences I have been to: it’s a lot of fun, besides very interesting and inspiring. Four great speakers (David Lee King, Michael Edson, Gary Vaynerchuck on Skype, Michael Stephens), a catholic priest (Father Roderick), music, a magician, a belly dancer, Stevie Nicks, and a two hour break combining lunch/market/gaming/speakers corner.
I had the opportunity to present our new Library of the University of Amsterdam mobile website there in 7 minutes, which was fun to do.

I will try to write some more detailed thoughts on my library blog Commonplace.net later.

It was also fun to meet a number of people that I knew online only in real life!

(Ab)Normal

Lukas Koster   March 22, 2010   No Comments on (Ab)Normal

Last Sunday, first day of spring, March 21 2010, I visited the Dolhuys (“Mad house”) psychiatry museum in my hometown Haarlem, together with 4 people I actually got to know on line. All are working in libraries or information management and all are active on twitter, blogging etc: Wilma, Janneke, Erik-Jan, Peter.
Apart from work-related things, we also have social and cultural events like this, and we are also organising a library 2.0 unconference “Happe.Ning” in Haarlem in June, together with a couple of other local library twitter people.
All because of twitter and the like.

Visit Ghent!

Lukas Koster   March 22, 2010   No Comments on Visit Ghent!

I was in Ghent, Belgium (or “Gent” in the original Dutch spelling) March 1 – 6 this year, for some IGeLU Steering Committee meetings, not the least with the local University of Ghent Library organising committee of the IGeLU 2010 conference. But also for Datasalon 4.

Of course I visited a number of bars and restaurants, which may be interesting for IGeLU 2010 participants as well:

  • Mistral Brasserie – Near IBIS Opera hotel. Good food, Flemish and local specials, international, not too expensive.
  • Café Theatre – Near IBIS Opera hotel, in the Opera building. Very good food, not cheap.
  • Café des Arts – Opposite Café Theatre, nice and cosy restaurant/bar. Good food, Flemish and local specials, cheap.
  • Vier tafels (“Four tables”) – Very nice restaurant in old “Patershol” area. International fusion and local traditional cuisine. (Just learned: closed during IGeLU2010 for summer vacation!)
  • Kasserolleke – Nice restaurant in old paint seller shop on Vrijdagmarkt square. Good local food, not too expensive.
  • ‘t Gebed zonder Eind (“Endless Prayer”) – Small cosy bar/restaurant, near IGeLU 2010 venue. Good local and French cuisine. Cheap. Reservations necessary.
  • Bistro Bijloke – In concert hall in historical “Bijloke” hospital compound, old and new architecture.
  • Mondada – Very nice lunch place, opposite Ghent public library in shopping mall, not too far from IGeLU 2010 venue. All kinds of bread rolls, coffee, soup, salads.
  • Soup lounge – Near Vrijdagmarkt square and Patershol. For lunch: large bowl of soup with bread and fruit for €6
  • Het Salon – Lunch restaurant just around the corner of Ghent University Library, not too far from IGeLU 2010 venue. Soup, salad, bread rolls. Students and University Library staff.
  • Quetzal Chocolate Bar – All kinds of chocolate food and drink. Just around the corner of Ghent University Library, not too far from IGeLU 2010 venue.
  • De Dulle Griet – On Vrijdagmarkt square. More than 250 types of drinks, mostly beers.
  • Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant – (“The waterhouse on the beerside”). Lots of beers.
  • Het Oeverloze Eiland (“The shoreless island”) – In Patershol area. Something between bar, lounge and snack restaurant. Nice.

Update August 17, 2010

  • OR Coffee – On Walpoortstraat 26, almost opposite “De Vooruit”. Coffee, lunch, and free WiFi!
  • Multatuli – Huidevetterskaai 40,  a bit out of center. Very nice location and food. Closed on Mondays.

Update August 25, 2010

Update August 26, 2010

  • ‘t Klokhuys – In Patershol area, near Vrijdagmarkt Square. Good local food. Try the “zurkelplets”. Lots of clocks.

Update August 28, 2010

  • Het Dreupelkot – Very nice selection of all kinds of Belgian “jenevers” (“Dutch gin“). Just ask the people behind the bar what to sample.