Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Wie geht's dir?...

Thing 15 is all about Seminars, Conferences and Other Events. The last seminar I attended was Managing Yourself: how to be productive with your time - hosted by Jo Alcock of CPD23 fame! This introduced strategies for being effective with your time (both at work and outside) including the 'Getting Things Done' (GTD) methodology, which is this...
The basic workflow - based on David Allen's GTD concept a nutshell! I felt the seminar format suited this training session as it gave participants the chance to exchange ideas on how they manage each of the five stages shown above. Some stood by very traditional methods, such as in-trays or notes scribbled on hands, whilst others embraced the internet age with talk of Evernote (I do quite like Evernote!) and Remember the Milk.

Probably the best library event I attended was a Summer School in Stuttgart, Germany in 2008 on Evidence Based Library and Information Practice. The subject matter was fairly dry, it has to be said but it gave me the chance to mix with librarians from all over Europe, some of whom I still keep in touch with now. It was a useful course too, setting out how to set about research projects effectively in a library context and I have been able to use some of this in my own work since.

Conferences, I suppose I'm not so keen on. I actually worked for an exhibitions company, once upon a time, which organised large-scale conferences in Frankfurt. Trying to keep exhibitors and clients happy was a pretty relentless and sometimes thankless task and this was one of the things which drove me into librarianship in the first place! Having said that, there are non-traditional conferences I would like to attend with October's Library Camp being one of them (the trendy "unconference" format attracts me). The CILIP New Professionals Conference is also on my list for 2013. In future I would like to present at events like this but I think I'll stay well away from the organisation side of things! I would also have liked to have attended today's CDG Summer Social at Brighton Museum but sadly there isn't the time to do everything and I have rather been enjoying my travels of late.

In keeping with the emerging German theme of this blog post, last week I escaped to a town called Münster in the North of the country - around 50 miles from the Dutch border:

Münster in bloom!

Münster is bike central, with around two times as many bicycles as people in the city! It also boasts Gothic architecture originally dating back to the 14th century. 98% of these buildings were destroyed during the War but most have since been carefully restored, often with great attention to detail to ensure these remain faithful to the original buildings. 

The central library is a postmodern building which caused quite a kerfuffle among local residents when it opened in 1993 because of its bold design:

The front face of Münster City Library, designed by Julia Bolles-Wilson
It has some unusual architectural features, such as this slightly Dr. Who-esque exhibition space in the IT area on the 1st floor: 

One of the more impressive display stands I've seen so far!
This table & chairs combo is a fine example of the reuse value of old books!

The second library I visited was the Art, Architecture & Design Library at the University of Münster's Leonardo Campus. The campus was converted from a former army barracks stables and (as at the University of the Art's old granary library building) many of the original features have been retained. Use of funky lighting and sculpture, along with a glass extension has breathed new life into the old building and has brought the study area and main collection out into the open:

The entrance to the Bibliothek remains true to the stables which it replaced

The reading room looks out onto the leafy Leonardo campus

Trendy lighting has helped to transform the library building into a bright space
The library features in Architizer's Top Ten Libraries list, which is well worth a look!

Something else I liked about the region were the libraries which seemed to pop up everywhere - particularly on street corners and under bus shelters. Apparently this is quite common in Germany which is great to hear!:

A pop-up library inhabits a bus shelter
in Drensteinfurt, south of Münster

Boating on Lake Aa on a sunny day in Münster


  1. Hi. Had a read through your posts and was wondering if you might like to write something for us at Voices for the Library...whatever you fancy in terms of librarians and/or the role of librarians. If you do fancy contributing something, contact us at and perhaps we can discuss?


  2. Thanks Ian. I'll be in touch soon!