New ideas, innovative practice, and hands on participation: Reflections on Next Library

Next Library has had a great reputation for new ideas, innovative practice, and hands on participation since its inception.

It lives up to it name stimulating participants to imagine, be creative and challenge the traditional way of doing things. Planning and designing future library services is at the heart of what we do and the Next Library programme consistently delivers by provoking and inspiring us to think forward and face the challenges of the future with confidence and courage.

I was thrilled to be able to attend the Next Library event in Aarhus, Denmark in June 2017. One of the big drawcards was DOKK1 (the incomparable Aarhus Central Library), which opened in 2015 and subsequently scooped the prestigious IFLA Public Library of the Year Award. 

Exploring DOKK1 and seeing it fully activated was a fantastic stimulus to engaging with as many fellow delegates as possible. The truly international nature of Next Library, attracting people from across the globe, is inspiring. Given its more intimate scale and hands on format, there is ample opportunity for networking, meeting new people, asking questions, and sharing ideas. I enjoyed the range and quality of workshops and parallel sessions, including the Ignite Talks. The format of these was a little like speed dating with a series of brief, focussed presentations followed by café-style discussion.   

Turning to the upcoming Next Library Satellite, I am excited by the theme: Bold and Curious. There will be “provocations” on such topics as Risk and Failure, Courageous Conversations, Bridging the Gap and Tipping Points. There is scope for broad appeal here and I am particularly drawn to diversity and inclusion, climate responsibility, and sustainability. 

The Brisbane venue of the Next Library Satellite in October 2020 is spectacular: this is a unique opportunity for library and information professionals living “down under” to be part of a truly stimulating and international learning experience that is affordable and close to home.  Not only will we meet some of the world’s leaders in library innovation and service design, we will also get the opportunity to visit some of Brisbane’s finest libraries. For colleagues in the Northern Hemisphere, you will enjoy the warm hospitality of our Australian neighbours, plus the sunny Queensland climate.

This is an opportunity too good to pass up, so I’ll see you there!


About Carolyn Robertson

Carolyn Robertson is Head of Libraries and Information for Christchurch City Council, leading the planning and delivery of public library services for Christchurch, New Zealand.

Read more about her.

About Next Library Satellite 2020

Next Library Satellite 2020 is organized by State Library of Queensland in collaboration with Aarhus Public Libraries.

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