16 February 2009

Keywords from the 'future of libraries' session in Rome

At the January ShareFair session on future agricultural libraries, some 30 people gathered to reflect on the roles and added value - the 'business cases' as one participant described it - of agricultural libraries. Colleagues at FAO, IFAD, WFP and Wageningen UR started us off, then we had general discussion.

Johannes Keizer blogged his main points; Hugo Besemer explored a future without bricks and mortar ... and Bioversity's Maria Garrucio has worked up her notes for us all to share.

In the meantime, here are some of the key words and phrases jotted down on the flip chart:
  • open access; disseminate global goods; catalyze knowledge sharing; integrated platforms for information annd knowledge management; targeted services; skills mix;
  • brick and mortar still in use, by some; organizing access to outputs so they travel; providing archival access;
  • much diversity among libraries and legacies; multiple roles need bringing together; beyond the walls;
  • strengthen e-availability; digitize old information;

  • Places to exchange and interact; Processes of organizing and sharing and collaborating; Products to share and use; People with "very special expertise."

Much food for thought to add to the rich set of comments from around the world. Add yours to this posting or join the others...

At the very end of the session, we asked three people with an interest in agricultural libraries to share some learning points:

Roxy Samii of IFAD was particularly struck by the importance of place, and low a library's location is significant. She saw Minus Two at IFAD as something of a challenge.

Petr Kosina from CIMMYT suggested we need more work on alternative value-adding 'business cases' for libraries; he looked forward to library services to be 'faster than Google'!

Enrica Porcari of the CGIAR reflected on the special sharefair sandwich bar that facilitated knowledge sharing in the FAO atrium, she wondered if future libraries can take on some of the open welcoming nourishing features of such a bar...

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