On 14 March 2017 the KB (national library of the Netherlands) organizes the sixth national library conference in Assen, meant specifically for public libraries.
Just under 900 participants - managers, employees, specialists and other stakeholders - will meet and interact through workshops, talks, and on an information market with a creative zone. There will be many opportunities to have a chat, share knowledge and network.
The conference consists of a plenary morning session, followed by a great amount of parallel sessions in the afternoon. The afternoon is co-created with everyone working in the field of public libraries through crowdsourcing, to ensure that we make full use of the high level of knowledge, experience and expertise present.
This year, the theme of the conference is youth: making sure our younger patrons are at the heart of policy, strategy and practice. Children are incredibly important for public libraries: more than half of our members are under 18. The future of public libraries is in the hands of young people.
The three subthemes influencing the conference throughout are as follows:
'I spy with my little eye' - the world of the child.
The library already plays a big part in the world of children and young people, but there are plenty more opportunities to make a better connection with their perception of the world. How do children take in information? What friends, teachers, vloggers and gamers influence them? How does today’s youth see the current world?‘When I grow up’ – Future skills. How can libraries help children learn skills for now and the future? How do we work together with schools? And, for example, how can the library help with challenges for children who do not really enjoy reading or the opposite?
'When I grow up' - Future skills.
How can libraries help children learn skills for now and the future? How do we work together with schools? And, for example, how can the library help with challenges for children who do not really enjoy reading or the opposite?
'Society & co' - thinking big.
From a bird’s eye view, you notice new and different things. We can distill new challenges, big or small, from policy, trends, evaluation and monitoring. What are problems and what are successes?
This year we have decided to firmly incorporate an international component by organizing a substantial international strand. From previous experience we know how valuable it is to find inspiration from people not working in the context of the Dutch library world. We chose Denmark to be our host at this year’s congress. Denmark inspires with groundbreaking work and the Danish situation is both sufficiently different and similar enough to provide a valuable comparison.