Like many good things in this world, it all started with a chat. A chat with my awesome library buddy Marie about how wonderful it is to visit libraries when traveling. Not only out of professional interest but also because libraries are like windows to a community. Walking into a branch library in a suburb to Lisbon or a rural small town one-room library in northern Canada and just sit down and observe the everyday life of the community drift by; how people have their routines, how they connect and use the library. Shared communty places like libraries are the best way to actually get under the skin of a new place.
In our chat we talked about how it sadly always is the big historical and architectural flagship libraries you find in travel guides and you really have to look for the minor more ‘normal’ libraries that makes such a huge difference in their local communities – civic as academic. We agreed that what we needed was a Lonely Planet guide for libraries of the world. I tweeted the idea the same evening and the respond was massive – clearly, we were not the only ones that thought it could be useful.
We instantly decided that it should not be like a library tourism diary for just me and Marie but a crowsourced platform were everybody could share there stories with libraries – and so they have.
August 4 2019 we featured library number 100: The European Solidarity Centre Library in Gdansk, Poland.
100 libraries! 100 libraries showing the diversity and wonders of this fine institution through the eyes of travelers and library tourist generous sharing their stories about libraries they visited around the globe.
First two libraries featured was the National Library of Portugal in Lisbon and Hvalsoe Public Library in Denmark clearly showing the diversity of libraries that is one of the main assests of Library Planet; A library is not just a library, they come in many sizes, shapes and with different aims but all united by the same values of education and life-long learning, equal access to information and knowledge, promoters of intellectual freedom and democracy, shared places for everybody and forces of social good.
First six libraries on Library Planet
Blågården Public Library, Denmark
Hugs, coffee and cherry beer
Besides being so stoked that we now have featured 100 libraries on Library Planet that I needed to share it this is really an appreciation post. A huge thank you to all the awesome people that took their time to sit down a write a story about a library they visited so we could all be inspired. I bow to you, library travelers and I will provide coffee and a hug if our roads ever cross.
High-fives to all the folks who thought Library Planet was such a cool deal that they wanted to write or do podcasts about; TreeHugger, Library Planet friend Stuart Kells for The Conversation, Michael Stevens for Library Journal and a great Steve Thomas chat for his Circulation Ideas podcast and so many more. See all the fuzz scrapbook at the In The Press section on Library Planet
Finally, many hugs and cherry beer from here to eternity to my badass Library Planet partner in crime Marie – your passion for libraries is bigger than the sun and every minute with you is so much fun (hey, it rhymes!).
The Library Planet crew posing in Library Planet swag at Gladsaxe Public Library
What’s next for Library Planet?
Besides keeping up the pace with promoting wonderful stories from libraries around the globe we want to develop the Map of Libraries so every pin on the map directs you to the post about the specific library. Hopefully that will be solved soon. We wonna go on Library Planet road trip for a week or so, visiting libraries, chatting with library folks, exploring communities, sharing stories on Library Planet. And finally to make the perfect Christimas gift for the library tourist; A beautiful hard copy Library Planet travel guide to 100 libraries you should visit before you die.
Send more libraries please!