News from the Zukunftswerkstatt: 2012 Prize for Pathbreakers in Library Science Awarded

Julia Bergmann writes:

There is a new award for librarians and other knowledge-workers in German-speaking Europe. It’s called “Zukunftsgestalter in Bibliotheken”  (“Pathbreakers in Library Science”), is sponsored by the German publishing house De Gruyter and is awarded in cooperation with the Journal “Bibliothek Forschung und Praxis” (BFP)  as well as the Foundation “Zukunftswerkstatt Kultur- und Wissensvermittlung e.V.”

The idea for this award roots in the observation that the current discussions of new developments concerning the library world, such as library 2.0, open innovation in libraries or the new role of gaming etc. is mostly academic, while the practitioners out there, really doing the work, are only rarely focused upon. A change of perspective was called for.

As it turned out the new perspective revealed a lot of fascinating projects and persons busily bushwhacking through library underbrush. So many in fact that the choice turned out to be a rather difficult one. Or, as the jury said with regard to their decision: “It was no easy task to settle on two winning teams. The large number of submissions received within the scope of the ‘Pathbreakers’ competition is a testament to the wealth of ideas, technical expertise, and dedication of employees in the libraries of the German-speaking world.”

The award-ceremony took place on May 24 at the Librarians’ Day conference in Hamburg. The recipients of this year’s award are Birgit Fingerle of the German Central Library for Economics (ZBW) in Kiel, as well as Prof. Roland Rosenstock, Angelika Spiecker, Anja Schweiger, Marten Seegers, and Jan Krienke of the Hans Fallada City Library in Greifswald.

Birgit Fingerle’s project, titled Participatory Innovation: ZBW’s Open Innovation Campaigns,  showed in a compelling and illustrative way how customers can be integrated into the change process in libraries. “Open innovation” is a key element in innovation management activities at the Central Library for Economics. Customers and external actors can get involved in a variety of ways – for example, by participating in idea competitions. In this way, customer preferences are a main driver of change and innovation at the library.

The participating team at the Hans Fallada City Library initiated a project called the Greifswald ComputerGameSchool: Play, Discover, and Learn. This media education project is a joint undertaking of the Greifswald City Library, the Faculty of Religious and Media Education at Ernst Moritz Arndt University in Greifswald, and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Evangelical Academy. The ComputerGameSchool  is common space for dialog and exchange at the library between gamers and non-gamers, as well as between adolescents and adults. The goal of the project is to strengthen media competencies, address conflicts, and encourage critical reflection on the use of computer games.

The “Pathbreakers in Library Science” award was bestowed at the Librarians’ Day conference for the very first time, its continuation is planned though for every future Librarians’ Day conference which takes place every year.

Zukunftswerkstatt: The Zukunftwerkstatt Kultur- und Wissensvermittlung e.V. is a non-profit-organisation that brings people together who are active in public institutions or private enterprises dealing with future possibilities of mediating of cultural and scientific topics