Nordic, Geeky & Cool

Åke Nygren reports from Helsinki Midwinter Darkness Camp:

At the Helsinki Midnight Darkness Camp we had the opportunity to pitch project ideas that had either already started to take form as a formal project, or were still waiting to be matched with the right combination of people.  One project idea that took an important step forward towards realisation was a very interesting peer2peer loaning concept for mobile devices:using the mobile phone as a library card and making it possible for patrons to borrow and lend books directly between themselves. Near Field Communication, anyone?

Other project ideas buzzing around at #hmdc11 involved a location based library app, a bookspotting app, a matchmaking tool for nordic ‘couchsurfing‘ and a model formicropayments of small projects. Some new working groups were also formed, e.g. Nordic Video Lab and Nordic Gamebrarians.

One important outcome of #hmdc11 was that we now realize how much we have in common. We share the same longings for less formal structures, more openness and experiments, playful collaboration and more Nordic co-operation. We reached a point when we thought it was time to consider a branding for our growing Nordic networking efforts. It wasn’t difficult to agree upon Nordic Labs as an overall name. Let me cite our recently launched ‘pre-alpha’ website,

We are library professionals and non-professionals who are passionate about library innovation.  We share a specific vision on making this world a better place by means of an open, collaborative and sustainable technological development within, and related to, the Nordic library systems.

I may not be speaking for everyone but I’m quite sure that a majority of the campers that attended #hmdc11 share the same views concerning what is currently needed in the Nordic library world:

We need more time for experiments and more focus on actually reaching concrete results. We also need more communication and collaboration on a peer-to-peer level, that is to say a networking model based on a person-to-person perspective rather than the presumption that networking always needs to be structured in a organisation-to-organisation way. The official organisational communication is of course always needed – Nordic Labs has such a formal dimension too – but what is felt by many as lacking, on an individual level, is a feeling of taking an active part in innovation, of a creative flow of ideas generated by informal and inspiring cross boundary conversations between individuals.

Check out Nordic Labs here.