Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Falling in Love With the Dutch...

It seems appropriate, being Valentine's Day, that I admit my newfound love for the Dutch. I first fell in love with Delft, Holland when I read Tracy Chevalier's Girl With a Pearl Earring - a beautifully written book that took place in 17th century Delft. But I fell in love with Delft all over again - and more to the point, two Delft librarians - last week when they visited the Kankakee Public Library.

Erik and Jaap of DOK Delft Public Library in the Netherlands are filming a documentary on gaming in libraries and visited Chicago last week to visit some "innovative libraries." Lo and behold, Jenny Levine of The Shifted Librarian and also the American Library Association suggested that Erik and Jaap might check us out. Kankakee Public Library in a documentary? By Dutch librarians? You don't have to ask us twice! We were driving up to University Park to pick up Erik and Jaap at the Metra station faster than you can say "Goedemorgen!"

I cannot accurately describe the enthusiasm and humor that these two brought with them. Erik and I began talking from the moment we met and didn't stop for the next few hours. Erik and Jaap are both truly amazing. The DOK Delft Library website reads "DOK is on a mission to become the world´s most modern library" and boy!...are they ever! Read on...

"In order to do this we believe we need to have the best communication with our users possible. Therefore we our working very hard on innovations. One of these has been presented recently on a seminar Publishing beyond look and is called Tank U. TANK U wants to be a place in town where passers-by may download information on their mobile phone. Made available free of charge by their public library to inspire users with suggestions for reading, viewing or listening. Not the usual run-of-the-mill stuff, but suggestions that broaden one’s horizon and get the user in touch with all things beautiful the library has to offer."

TANK U is only one of so many innovative things that they're working on over there. Erik and Jaap at DOK are definitely ones that I'll be watching in the coming years. It is people like this that truly make me LOVE this profession. Goedenacht, Erik and Jaap! You have a devoted following here in Kankakee!

Allison Beasley
Head of Adult Services


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