Yesterday York University Libraries was visited by a delegation of 39 academic librarians, mostly from The Netherlands but also a couple from Belgium. They are on a tour of many of the academic libraries of Southern Ontario, hoping to learn and share a bit about how libraries in different countries are handling the challenges of the future.
You can follow their progress on Twitter using the hashtag #nvbcan.
As I said, they were here yesterday. During the morning they got some presentations about the York Libraries in general and a tour of the Scott Library and its new Learning Commons. In the afternoon they split up and visited some of the branch libraries. Nine of them visited my library, the Steacie Science & Engineering Library.
We have a few pictures of their visit up on our Facebook page.
I gave them a quick tour of the premises and a short presentation on some of the things that might make Steacie a bit different from the other libraries on campus.
I have to admit that doing these kinds of things always makes me a bit queasy as it sort of assumes that we're cooler and more forward-looking than a bunch of libraries willing to travel half way around the world to learn about what other libraries are doing. I strongly suspect this was the case here and that we likely had more to learn from them than they did from us.
In any case, I soldiered on.
Here's the presentation I gave, in case anyone is interested. It's also available online here.
For what it's worth, the thing that we do that sparked the most interest was our gadget-happy reserves collection.
It was great meeting all the Dutch librarians and I hope this is the beginning of some great international relationships and collaborations. We had some great conversations and a great sharing of ideas and viewpoints. I'd also like to point out that the vast majority of whatever cool stuff we do do here at Steacie isn't because of me, it's the great staff and librarians who do all the heavy lifting.