Participatory Culture: Fireside Chat


Highlights from case studies from around the globe during this evening’s fireside chat:

Catalina Escobar, Director of Makaia, a non profit working with libraries, Medelli?n, Colombia:

Implementing SMS notifications for circulation messages and general messages has been useful, but has presented some challenges. These include the perception that emails from the library are like spam and purchasing set allotments of text that sometimes run out before the end of the year.

Digital heritage – gathering histories, scanning documents and more for sharing online – is an important consideration for future services. Library also did outreach and invited people to bring in their documents and photos for digitize ton. Creative Commons licenses are added to all.

From May Pagsinohin, Executive Director, Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology, Marikina City, Philippines:

An fascinating case study about natural disasters and museums. The Science Center was hit by a typhoon and five staff were trapped inside for 18 hours. May said the damage was disheartening but she decided to push her mental “reset” button and set about recovery. Rebuilding, fundraising and bringing the community together were top priorities.

From Anupam Sah, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Formerly
Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, Mumbai, India:

The museum opened up an opportunity for people to display their personal collections in museum space. Folks could even co-curate their objects with museum staff!

“Old Town Project” – an historic section of the city will get an interpretation center. The process includes updating infrastructure and conserving the monasteries. People work on the project to build up the old town. This is another form of storytelling within the community.

My words above don’t capture the emotion conveyed by our speakers or the excitement in the room as these stories played out. This is a benefit of this kind of meeting: that global perspective not found in many conferences is shared in the form of personal stories. A common word of all three stories? One audience member pointed out it was “passion” – bring beliefs to our work.

Do you have passion for your work? Can you tell the story of your institution with passion?

Dr. David Lankes carried this thought a step further – how can we unlock the passion in our community?

This post is a reflection/response to questions posed at the Salzburg Global Seminar program Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory Culture, exploring the challenges, solutions and potential for participatory services within libraries and museums.

Special Thanks to the Salzburg Global Seminar  and IMLS for the invitation to participate in this event.