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Posts tagged ‘libraries’

Lemon Knight: International Games Day at the British Library

It’s been an eventful weekend, and I’m five days out from running a day-long experimental project here in the UK – more on that further down the line – but I wanted to share some of the excitement from yesterday’s International Games Day at the British Library (BL) in central London.

Gary Green of Surrey Libraries invited me to join the team of volunteers who were running events under the leadership of BL Digital Curator Stella Wisdom.

Stella is co-founder of the BL’s Off the Map video game competition, and Off the Map winners Fancy Crab were there with their offbeat riff on Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories. The event was also tied in to this year’s 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, and Ludi Price was in full cosplay mode as Alice herself.

There were video games, board games, and some that were just a little off the wall, including the bizarre German box-stacking game Ordnungswissenschaft:

We were able to play this by repurposing the boxes from the infamous Comic Book Dice, which had also made a visit to the BL.

I got introduced to the German game by gaming aficionado Ross Fowkes. Ross also showed me a digital jousting game which used motion sensors and the music of Bach in multi-player battles.

Johann Sebastian Joust” was inspired by a party game played with lemons and spoons. One quick trip to the supermarket later and we had unleashed the Lemon Knights in the heart of the library.

Both the BL’s child-friendly daytime sessions and the later evening event were great successes, with lots of visitors trying their hand at games old and new. Stella and her team did an incredible job playing host to a wide range of people and offering some truly bizarre activities. (Libraries are sometimes cautious about wild play, so I was delighted that Stella gave us permission for a full-on lemon battle in the shadow of the venerable stacks).

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Crisis and Consequence: On Libraries’ Response to the Christchurch Earthquakes

In 2010 and 2011, the city of Christchurch faced the most severe natural disasters in the history of New Zealand / Aotearoa. The librarians of “ChCh” responded to the crisis with flexibility, courage, and innovation.

I wrote about the Christchurch quakes and the response of Kiwi librarians for CILIP Update, the in-house journal of the UK librarians’ association, CILIP.

You can read a PDF copy of the article by clicking on the image below.

Crisis and Consequence by Matt Finch

You can also check out my previous Update article, “Pushing the limits: play, explore, experiment”, as a PDF download.

Comics, everywhere (where to find me for the next two weeks)

Just a quick update to tell you I’ll be speaking at two events this month.

This Sunday, 8th November, I’ll be presenting at the Thinking Through Drawing symposium in London, making 3D biographical comics with attendees in a session on “Play, Chance, and Comics”.

Then, on 12th November, I’ll be speaking at a day training course for London’s Youth Libraries Group, looking at frame-breaking ways to expand and challenge existing library services – from community festivals and librarians embedded in comics book stores through to digital comic making and the inevitable zombie battles.

You can read more about the Fun Palaces Comic Maker over at The Comics Grid:

Supplier Speed Dating with Welsh health libraries

I’m often rattling on about play in libraries at this site – from online games to live action roleplay – but this week I wanted to point out that a playful attitude to knowledge can apply at many levels of library service.

Wendy Foster is Knowledge Services Manager for Glangwili Library at West Wales General Hospital and chair of the All Wales Health Information & Libraries Extension Service (AWHILES).

Every year at the AWHILES conference, library suppliers attend as sponsors, exhibitors, and participants. It can be hard to give all of them sessions to talk with the delegates who attend from across Wales, so this year Wendy’s team of healthcare librarians hit on a novel approach: supplier speed dating.

In groups, the delegates toured the conference’s fourteen exhibitor stands, with six minutes to quiz each supplier before they moved on.

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The Rules of Supplier Speed Dating Read more

Lambeth Libraries Fun Palaces 2015

So yesterday was a huge success for Lambeth Libraries and you can still take part for a few days yet via our online Comic Maker.

Fun Palaces will of course be delivering a full report, evaluation, and celebration in coming weeks but for now here’s my Fun Palaces 2015 on social media.

#LoveLamLibs Fun Palaces: Lambeth Libraries’ Heroes

Over the past week, Lambeth Libraries have been gearing up for their borough-wide, simultaneous 11-venue celebration of arts and sciences.

On the blog, I’ve featured special guests like the author Lucy Beresford, Stephann Makri and the zine-making team from City University, plus entrepreneur Tara Benson – as well as special projects like the online Fun Palaces Comic Maker.

Now the big day has arrived and today I want to celebrate the real heroes of Lambeth Libraries Fun Palaces – the librarians themselves.

Staff across the borough of Lambeth have worked tirelessly to deliver amazing events in every venue run by Lambeth Libraries and Lambeth Archives. They’ve sought partners and special guests, helped to devise and deliver activities, and reached out to give their communities the chance to make good on the Fun Palaces motto, “Everyone an artist, everyone a scientist.”

I can’t talk about every Lambeth Libraries staffer who has made this weekend possible, but I will highlight three names as examples of the brilliance these librarians have shown, delivering an amazing cultural programme within tight budgets and short notice.

Zoey Dixon is my co-producer on Lambeth Libraries Fun Palaces and the lead for the event within the organisation. Dynamic, creative, energetic, and determined, she’s been the guiding light for everything we have achieved over the past few months. Self-effacing but brilliant, she’s well worth contacting for workshops, conference panels, and speaking gigs. Expect to see her taking UK Library Fun Palaces on to ever greater heights in the future.

Caroline Mackie, pictured here with Mishi Morath of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club, has been one of the most proactive and inventive library managers on this project. She’s been resourceful and ingenious in teaming up with a wide range of community partners, from footballers to jazz musicians to the fire service, all with an eye on Fun Palaces’ ethos of participation and play. Caroline works at Carnegie Library, which I’m aiming to visit this morning before heading off to Clapham.

Vincia Bennett with Stephann Makri

Clapham Library is run by Vincia Bennett, pictured here with City University’s Stephann Makri. Vincia has co-ordinated activities at Clapham Library, one of the most modern and beautiful buildings owned by Lambeth Libraries. Vincia and her team have arranged printmaking workshops and big-name partnerships, cake and snacks from neighbourhood cafes, plus a whole world of wonder and play for visitors on Saturday 3rd October.

These librarians, going above and beyond to showcase the best of British public libraries, deserve to be hailed for their work. All of them were a little camera shy, but no-one deserves to be celebrated more than they do.

If Lambeth Fun Palaces succeed, it’ll be through the efforts and expertise of Lambeth Council’s librarians, who have used their professional skills and their relationships with their community to make brilliant things happen for Londoners this weekend.

People sometimes think that libraries can be cut back in the 21st century, because they equate libraries with books on shelves and presume that in the age of the Internet and e-books, these public buildings and public servants are no longer necessary. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The UNESCO Public Library Missions established more than twenty years ago that community librarianship was more about play, creativity, and self-directed learning than items on shelves. The three women I’ve chosen to celebrate today are full-time library professionals who make good on the vision of public libraries as “the TARDIS on your streetcorner“: a humble box that can take local people anywhere in human knowledge or imagining, free of charge.

I hope that we’ll see you at a Lambeth Library Fun Palace today, but if we don’t, show your appreciation for Vincia, Caroline, Zoey, and public librarians everywhere by sharing this post and using the hashtag #LoveLamLibs.

Have a great day!

Fun Palaces Countdown: Role-playing games with Andy Horton

As the 2015 Fun Palaces launch on Saturday 3rd October approaches, Lambeth Libraries are gearing up for their borough-wide, simultaneous 11-venue celebration of arts and sciences.

In the countdown to Fun Palaces, I’m showcasing some of the special guests who are partnering with Lambeth Libraries this weekend.

Last year, at Australia’s first Fun Palace in Parkes, we created a tabletop role-playing game derived from the work of Cory Doctorow.

Tabletop Superheroes was quick to learn and difficult to master, an all-ages Dungeons and Dragons-style game which tied in with the School for Supervillains theme we’d taken from guest author Louie Stowell. You can download it now from Parkes Shire Library.

This year in South London, roleplaying game expert Andy Horton – a librarian at Regent’s University – will be hosting a special Fun Palaces game event at Upper Norwood Library.

Andy and friends will be giving Fun Palaceers the chance to try their hand at a range of role-playing and board games, and there also be a specially-written Dungeons and Dragons scenario for people brave enough to take on a Fun-Palatial quest.

Like Stephann Makri and the #Citylis zinemakers, Andy’s another academic who is partnering with public libraries this October in the name of play, learning, and outreach. Fun Palaces salute you, Dungeon Master!

Upper Norwood Library is a special case among those taking part in Lambeth’s Fun Palaces this year. Jointly funded by Croydon and Lambeth for 100 years, it’s a public library which provides a model for local government co-operation in providing cultural and information services to a local community.

Find out more at the Upper Norwood Library Campaign website. You can also find out more about Fun Palaces at Upper Norwood Library.

Download Tabletop Superheroes from Parkes Shire Library.

Read Cory Doctorow’s latest Fun Palaces article over at BoingBoing.

Fun Palaces Countdown: Q&A with Lucy Beresford

As the 2015 Fun Palaces launch on Saturday 3rd October approaches, Lambeth Libraries are gearing up for their borough-wide, simultaneous 11-venue celebration of arts and sciences.

In the countdown to Fun Palaces, I’m showcasing some of the special guests who are partnering with Lambeth Libraries this weekend.

This afternoon’s guest is Lucy Beresford, who will be visiting Clapham Library for a Q&A session from 2-3pm on Saturday, October 3rd.

Lucy hosts a weekly phone-in show on LBC Radio and describes herself as the “no-nonsense Agony Aunt” for Healthy magazine.

Her Clapham Library Q&A is a chance for in-depth conversation with a novelist, psychotherapist, and broadcaster who explores sex, relationships, health, and happiness on air, online, in fiction and non-fiction.

Lucy Beresford, Invisible Threads - Front Cover

Lucy’s latest novel, Invisible Threads, set in India, is out now. The Q&A session, hosted by our Fun Palace entrepreneur Tara Benson, will offer the chance to talk with Lucy about writing fiction, the practice of therapy, and her own experiences travelling and working in India.

Come and join her from 2-3pm this Saturday at Clapham Library.

Find out more about Clapham Library Fun Palaces at the main Fun Palaces website.

Fun Palaces Countdown: Entrepreneurship workshop with Tara Benson

As the 2015 Fun Palaces launch on Saturday 3rd October approaches, Lambeth Libraries are gearing up for their borough-wide, simultaneous 11-venue celebration of arts and sciences.

In the countdown to Lambeth Libraries’ Fun Palaces, I’ll be featuring some of the amazing activities and special guests we’ve got lined up for Londoners this weekend.

Today it’s the turn of entrepreneur Tara Benson, the founder & CEO of Here and Now.

Here and Now helps families find exciting activities in their local area. It was the Sun‘s website of the week in April.

Tara is a commercial marketer and entrepreneur with 26 years of experience in tech, consumer brands, publishing and communications. She has worked with start-ups, rapid-growth and established businesses such as Gumtree, PayPal, Mills & Boon, and Blackwood Distillers. Tara was the opening speaker at NatWest Bank’s 2014 “Marks…Set…Grow” business banking conference.

Tara’s Fun Palaces workshop on entrepreneurship and start-up culture will help people interested in founding, running, or developing their own business. It runs from 3-4pm at Clapham Library on Saturday 3rd October.

You can read an interview with Tara on ‘achieving super-human start-up stuff and bashing down the barriers for women’ at Womanthology, and also watch her 2014 ShedTalk on Youtube.

Find out more about Clapham Library Fun Palaces at the main Fun Palaces website.

Fun Palaces Countdown: Zine Making with #Citylis

As the 2015 Fun Palaces launch on Saturday 3rd October approaches, Lambeth Libraries are gearing up for their borough-wide, simultaneous 11-venue celebration of arts and sciences.

In the countdown to Lambeth Libraries’ Fun Palaces, I’ll be featuring some of the amazing activities and special guests we’ve got lined up for Londoners this weekend.

We’ve already heard about Stephann Makri’s Serendipity Tours, but Stephann isn’t the only City University staffer who’s contributing to Lambeth’s Fun Palaces this year.

There will also be a Zine Making Workshop run by City University at Clapham Library.

Ernesto Priego, lecturer and course director on the infamous #Citylis Library & Information Studies course, will be joined by student and library polymath James Atkinson, with additional online support from Queen of Zines and doctoral student of fandom Ludi Price.

They’ll be helping people at Clapham Library to make zines about any subject dear to their heart. Come along on the afternoon of Saturday 3rd October to explore the wild and wonderful meeting place of the Internet, personal obsession, scissors and glue…

Read more from Ludi, Ernesto, and me on the #Citylis Zine Workshop over at the #Citylis blog.

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