A minute reflection on libraries and the mobile

Olen menossa Lontoon Online Informationiin marras- joulukuun taitteessa, ja he tekevät pientä haastattelukierrosta puhujista. Tässä vastaukseni.

1. How long have you been involved in the Information industry and what are the most interesting aspects of your current role?

I’ve been working in public libraries since about 1997, but i’ve had a couple of long sabatticals. I guess i should get more mobile myself soonish.

Public libraries, and the public sector in general is in a very fascinating situation now where we are rethinking ourselves around our services, not so much on our political institutions anymore. So it offers great possibilities for observing what’s going on on the society. My most interesting role at the moment is in trying to bring ideas from automated data handling to librarians, to whom a computer has mostly been a tool to make Word -documents with, not to program.

2. Why have you decided to present at this year’s conference?

We’re doing a session together with awesome Åke Nygren from Stockholm, and he invited me. Of course i said yes, because it’s a fantastic opportunity to get out the echo-chamber we public library librarians are trapped in. We keep patting each other on the back, but seldom meet any other sorts of info-pros outside our sphere. Which is a bit odd to be honest, on times like these.

3. Meeting Challenges of a mobile generation is the theme this year – please could you share your thoughts on the surge of mobile devices and applications?

What can i say, i’m writing this answer to this interview on my mobile phone. It’s everywhere, really, and that’s the whole point of it.

People are fiddling with their mobiles all the time, but there is absolutely nothing they can do with the library services provided to them when they are not in the library physically. We’re not contributing to the internet at all, which is dangerous.

The way i see it, we libraries had a really awesome ”mobile” innovation and service back in the day when we started lending out books to people; most of the time spent using library services (ie. usibg our collections) actually happens outside the physical libraries in homes, offices, trains, airplanes etc. but we don’t think about it like that.

4. Finally – where will you be spending Christmas this year?

Not sure yet. Christmas on IRC? Maybe not this time. I wish some place nice, like a couole of years ago when i spent the Chrissy in a pool with a collection of science fiction novels, at a potato farm outside of Brisbane.