European Library Tour

Study Tour 2011

Project Summary

The first CULC/CBUC Study Tour took place in late September and early October 2011. By all accounts it was a successful foray into a new level of discovery and way to seek improvement for Canadian urban library service delivery. The plan was always to share, as broadly as possible, the findings, learnings, methods, confirmations, reaffirmations, network as well as whatever outcomes came from the event.

The group was 19 strong from as far West as Calgary and as far East as Halifax. There were nine CEO/Library Directors; three Architects who have or are working with large Canadian urban public libraries; one College Library Director; five senior staff involved in Planning and/or Central or Branch Library Development; plus the group was accompanied by the CULC/CBUC Executive Director.

The tour saw four countries (Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and The Netherlands). We visited 19 institutions and had formal presentations about three or four more through structured lectures from architects who have been involved in seminal library projects around the world. In each country we had Country Hosts who, in many cases, travelled with us and was able to share much more than what we had been anticipating.

Areas to Explore

  • Final Itinerary – this includes the actual spots as some were added once in Europe
  • Aha Moments from Participants
  • Participating Study Tour Travellers
  • Contacts at the libraries we visited
  • Presentations that were given to CULC/CBUC
  • Presentation at OLA Super Conference 2012 (more than 180 participants attended) where Tour Participants shared knowledge – download PowerPoint presentation here.
  • CLA 2012 Presentation (May 2012) coming soon
  • Formal gift presented to visited institutions
  • Link to Flickr pictures
  • Our deepest thanks to the following people who made this trip what it was:
    • Marian Koran, FOBID Netherlands Library Forum, International Office
    • Susy Tastesen, Head of Department, Copenhagen Public Libraries
    • Kristina Virtanen, Helsinki City Library

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THE TOUR IS A GO! Thanks to all who are participating. Watch for more details in the coming weeks. If you are still interested in going please contact CULC/CBUC’s Jefferson Gilbert about the possibilities.  

Reserve your space with our Participation Form

The Study Tour will take participants to the Denmark, Finland, and Netherlands where they will visit institutions who have an international reputation for excellence in innovation, service delivery, and building design.

Over the past decade, Canada has experienced dramatic population shifts as communities continue to diversify. Public libraries are the cornerstone of most communities and as such respond to the needs of newcomers, families, children and youth and seniors. The role of the public library of today is one of community hub, provider of access to information, technology and a broad range of services. Changing too is the increased focus on sustainability and green design.

Libraries continue to be very busy; in fact use has been increasing in key performance areas with growing demands and advances in technology and access to information. In addition, the role and influence of libraries are positioned to increase as our civic and “free” space diminishes. This tour will provide valuable information about ways to potentially strengthen and improve library service here in Canada, at a time when the resources libraries offer are more needed than ever. Libraries are needed as much as ever in the 21st century as hubs for information, research, learning, communication, and culture.

Innovative and strong leadership is required both now and in the future to ensure that public libraries remain relevant and continue to address the needs and priorities of the communities that they serve. By interacting with the leadership of forward thinking European librarians, Canadian librarians will be in a position to incorporate key themes and concepts into Canadian library service planning. Tour participants will support the creation of a bold new vision of the role of the public library at the federal, provincial, regional, and community level informed by first-hand knowledge of the world’s most innovative libraries. This unique learning and networking opportunity will build capacity in Canada’s current and future library leaders and support succession planning.

ViewPowerPoint Slideshow of Library Photos