Visit the Library Planet
Libraries inspire traveling not just by reading but by helping people to plan their trips, loan library guides, even becoming destinations for traveling. Library Planet has collected reviews of fantastic libraries all over the world. In this conversation with Christian Lauersen (CL) and Marie E. Eiriksson (ME) let us know their feelings when visiting a library during their vacations.
How did Library Planet come to life?
CL: We were having a conversation about how awesome it was to travel and always visiting libraries when doing so. Maybe not just traveling to visit libraries but fitting them in your plans. We thought it was great being in any country, a random city and just go looking for the local library and visiting to see how it is. It’s some kind of mirror or reflection of the community you are visiting.
At some point someone said there should be a guide for libraries. We thought it would be a great job to travel around and visit libraries in countries and write about it. As we were talking, I was multitasking and tweeted it. Everybody was on board and said “we need it!”. We decided to make it on the side and make it crowd sourced because it was unrealistic to travel everywhere
CL: Yeah, yet! We wanted people to contribute to it. We set up the page and roll it with some submissions.
ME: We got so many libraries in the first few weeks. There were a lot of visits in one day. Then some media wrote about it and it blew.
We got a lot of traffic but also attention from people who thought it was a great way to explore the world. One always goes visiting a church, a museum, but why not a library? It’s a community place where you can get to know it. Since we both are in the library sector, we would always visit the libraries, take pictures and write stories about them. Every second day we would upload and publish something. People wanted to share library love.
What moves each one of you to make libraries a specific destination in your travels?
ME: Professional curiosity, you want to see how other librarians and people spend their time there. Maybe you can steal some great ideas and bring them home. The other part is that it mirrors the community but also a way of recognizing a world wide community. It’s kind of the same wherever you go although it might not look the same. There’s a similar mood there. If you are taking pictures maybe someone will come up to you and start a conversation. Then you might get to know the story of the library, when it was built and opened. It’s like a welcoming feeling.
CL: I always felt this strong attraction to the library as a house or space. Ever since I was a kid, it was one of the main reasons that I actually wanted to become a librarian: to work in a place like that. Now even in the most poorly and ugly and scrubby libraries, I feel a strong connection to the place. I can see what it means and what it stands for. I always feel a little bit at home when I’m at a library. As Marie says, it’s obvious when you work at libraries that you’ll visit a library. It’s always some curiosity, seeing how this library looks and if I can get some inspiration, talk to somebody. Libraries and parks are very enjoyable shared public places. There’s life between work and your private life. However libraries are even more powerful than parks because they have knowledge, cultural activities and community. Just to sit down in one and just watch it’s fantastic. […]
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