I spent a month in Europe over Winter Break 2011 visiting LIS departments in Dublin and Sweden. What an exceptional and enriching international LIS experience it has been! First, a HUGE THANK YOU and "TACK!" to:
I'm grateful for the amazing opportunities to gain research experience, attend LIS classes, watch student presentations, visit academic, public and special libraries, learn about international library systems, teach an English Language Seminar, learn about LIS issues specific to Ireland and Sweden, attend a doctoral dissertation, and learn about international PhD programs.
Thank you to ASIS&T for the opportunity to be a New Leader and attend the 2011 Annual Meeting in New Orleans last October. Had I not attended, I never would have met Dr. Diane Sonnenwald and Dr. Katriina Byström and never would had this incredible learning experience. THANK YOU!
Summary of Academic Experiences
Visit Dates: November 19 to December 19, 2011Research Opportunities
- At UC Dublin, I searched for patterns in interview transcripts in Dr. Kalpana Shankar's research on the use of health-tracking software.
- I gained experience doing open coding on research that Dr. Norman Su is doing on traditional musicians use of technology in Ireland.
- I assisted Dr. Lee Komito by contacting immigrant communities in Ireland to encourage them to complete the http://15minutescloser.com survey.
- At University of Borås, I assisted with doing research on social media keywords for Dr. Nasrine Olson who is doing research on the use of social media in organizations and its connection to democracy.
Library Tours and Visits
Learning Opportunities: Classes, Presentations and Meetings
- In Sweden:
- I attended two Practical Experience seminars with LIS exchange students from Poland, Spain, Estonia, France, and Vietnam on the Swedish Library System and on the Library & Learning Resources
- I learned about the The Borås Model, which is the University of Borås’ model for collaboration on students’ development of information literacy
- I had the unique experience of attending a Swedish doctoral dissertation defense
- I met with the staff and learned about Library & Learning Resources:
- Svante Kristensson, Director: Functions, history and future plans
Katharina Nordling, Librarian, Digital Services: Voyager Library System
Pieta Eklund, Lecturer, Digital Services Function: Publishing and Borås Academic Digital Archive (BADA)
Anita Eklöf, Lecturer, Center for Learning & Teaching: PingPong Learning Management System
Klaz Arvidson, Web Librarian: Library IT Systems
Martin Borg, Librarian, Media Function: Collections, Summon, Conversion to Dewey Decimal System
Emma Bergstedt, International Coordinator: International student services
Johanna Persson, Lecturer, Language Learning Lab and Writing Center
Karin Suld: Librarian: Swedish Library System
- At University of Böras, I taught an English Language Seminar for students in the LIS undergraduate class who were preparing to submit six papers to the BOBCATSSS International Conference on Information Management to be held in Prague in 2013. I shared my experience and tips from presenting at the ASIS&T 2011 Meeting in New Orleans. I proofed papers on topics specific to Sweden, including:
- The availability of Japanese manga in Swedish libraries
Ebook use in Sweden
The interior design of public libraries
The effects on libraries of Sweden's recently passed law on ending free tuition for international students in higher-education
The conversion of Swedish libraries from the SAB Swedish cataloging system to the Dewey Decimal System
How teachers, headmasters and politicians can affect school libraries (Sweden recently passed a law that all schools must either have a library or have access to a public library)
Winter Break 2011: Visiting the School of Information & Library Studies at University College Dublin and the Swedish School of Library & Information ScienceDates: 18 November to 19 December 2011
I tried to squeeze in as many fun and cultural activities as I could! Here are the highlights:Ireland
- Being a tourist on famous O'Connell Street in Dublin's City Centre and having the best Chinese food at M&L Restaurant in Dublin with friends from UCD, including Adam Girard, Ling Zi, JJ Lin, Lesley Zhang and Jess Park
- Dinner at Carluccio's Italian Restaurant and watching the A Christmas Carol being painted live by P.J. Lynch at Hodges & Figgis Bookstore
- Seeing Dublin all decked out in Christmas lights
- Going on the HopOn HopOff Dublin City Tour
- Experiencing Thanksgiving in Ireland at UCD's Global Lounge and making friends with international exchange students Ling Zi, JJ Lin and Lesley Zhang of Nottingham University Business School China Jesse Park of Harrisburg, PA
- Seeing the creepy Bog Bodies from the Bog Bodies Research Project at the National Museum of Ireland
- Visiting the lovely seaside town of Dún Laoghaire on the east side of Ireland along the Irish Sea about 7km south of Dublin
- Experiencing Borås all decked out for Christmas -- God Jul!
- Taking a picture with the 9-meter high Pinnochio statue in "Walking to Borås" by Jim Dine
- Being invited to the special Julbord Christmas smörgåsbord with the Library & Learning Resources staff at University of Borås
- Experiencing the special Christmas tradition of the Feast of Lucia both the Göteborg Lucia at the Röhsska Museum and the Borås Lucia at the University of Borås
- Using the Gothenburg go: City Card and going twice to Göteborg, which is the second largest city in Sweden after the capital of Stockholm
- Watching an exceptional performance of Puccini’s Tosca at the gorgeous GöteborgsOperan - The Göteborg Opera
- Seeing the works of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera being exhibited together for the first time in Sweden at Göteborgs Konstmuseum - The Gothenburg Museum of Art
- Experiencing Christmas at Liseberg where the Liseberg Amusement Park was transformed into a giant Christmas market complete with live music, giant chocolate bars and reindeer!
- Christmas Dinner at a Lebanese Restaurant with the SSLIS Faculty complete with belly dancer!
Flight home from Dublin to Denver was cancelled. Silver lining: instead I got to fly Virgin Atlantic direct from Heathrow to LA! I was going to have to fly from Denver to LA for Christmas anyway so it worked out perfectly :)
City Library is located in the Kulturhus
along with The Borås City Theatre and The Borås Art Museum. The Children’s Department features many family-friendly amenities including a microwave and a restroom in the children’s area. In discussing Frances Hultgren’s research on the Children’s Department at libraries, she noted that families had a preference for open spaces where they could easily see their children and where babies and toddlers could easily crawl without hurting themselves.
During the wintertime in Sweden, the sun is only out for seven hours a day. For most of those seven hours, the sun is hiding behind very gray clouds. Several Swedish Christmas traditions brighten up the dark Swedish winter. Pepparkakor, Glögg
(Swedish Ginger Cookies) seem to be everywhere during Christmas time. They are thin, crisp and have a wonderful slightly spicy ginger flavor. Glögg
is a delicious and fragrant mulled punch served with raisins and crushed almonds. Glögg
can also be a mulled wine. This was one of my favorite things in Sweden. Julmust is a sweet soft drink served only during Christmas time in Sweden. The recipes for Julmust are heavily guarded by the manufacturers. Julbord
is a special Christmas smörgåsbord
consisting of a multi-course serving of traditional hot and cold Swedish foods. Svante Kristensson, Library Director at the Library & Learning Resource Center, was kind enough to invite me to the LLR staff Julbord
Christmas dinner at Börshult Gård
. This was a very special treat as Börshult Gård is a historic country house hotel built in 1836 located in the countryside just 15 minutes outside of Borås. We started off with glögg
with raisins and crushed almonds. The Julbord
began with the cold dishes including various types of pickled herring, lox, ham, deviled eggs, boiled potatoes, cheese and bread. This was followed by the hot dishes including potatoes with cream and herring (Jansson frestelse
), salmon and other fish dishes, stewed cabbage, slaw, pork roast, pork ribs, sausage, and homemade Swedish meatballs. The Julbord
ended with a variety of sweets served with tea and coffee.
For a very fun and untraditional Christmas party, I got to attend the Swedish School of LIS Christmas Party held at the Babylon Lebanese Restaurant. The babaganoush and hummus were some of the best I’ve ever had and the restaurant even featured a belly dancer!
Feast of St. Lucia
According to Sweden.se, the official gateway to Sweden
, “The Feast of St Lucia, celebrated on December 13, starts the Christmas season. St Lucia is a symbol of light, marking the return of lighter days.” Every town in Sweden has their own Lucia and handmaidens. Applicants and are voted on. Those selected wear white gowns and hold candles. The Lucia wears a crown of candles, usually electric. Each Lucia sings Christmas carols at schools, libraries, nursing homes, etc. Each is associated with a charity and collects donations for them at the locations where they sing carols. Traditional saffron rolls and glögg are served during the performances. I was very fortunate and got to watch both the Göteborg Lucia at the Röhsska Museum and the Borås Lucia at the University of Borås.
Swedish Christmas lights
Beautiful traditional Christmas candelabras adorn many a window and brighten up the dark days and nights of the Swedish winter.
I found gnomes everywhere!
The Göteborg City Library was featuring the works of Jan Lööf which was being exhibited across the street at The Gothenburg Museum of Art. Jan Lööf is one of Sweden’s most prominent drawers and illustrators. The Children’s Department had bags with dolls of the characters in the books. They also had children-friendly furniture.
I was very fortunate to have been visiting the Swedish School of Library & Information Studies at the University of Borås when Mats Dolatkhah
was defending his doctoral thesis on 16 Dec 2011. Dolatkhah’s thesis project is: Public libraries and reading children: Children's reading and library use in early 20th-century Sweden
Swedish universities have a unique system for the doctoral dissertation defense. The thesis is published in a book and then nailed to a “tree” for the public to read. This is patterned after Martin Luther’s posting of his thesis on the church door.
The defense is open to the public. The committee consists of one internal and two external professors. The opponent first gives a summary of the thesis. The opponent then asks the defendant if he or she accepts the summary. The defendant says “yes” if he does, but then, in order to own back the thesis, the defendant clarifies, makes a point, extends, nuances or disagrees with the opponent. This is followed by a long critical discussion between the opponent and defendant. The committee members then ask questions of the defendant. The floor is then open for questions from the public. The committee meets to decide if the defendant passes and then it is announced after a short while.
Warmest congratulations to Dr. Mats Dolatkhah!
watched an exceptional performance of Puccini’s Tosca
at the gorgeous GöteborgsOperan - The Göteborg Opera
at the incredible student ticket price of only 71 SEK which was only $10.50!
from the performance. All photos by Urban Jörén.
The Swedish School of Library and Information Science at the University of Borås has an established mentor program where undergraduates in the program are paired up with mentors in public and academic libraries. This program is a mandatory part of the bachelor’s program and is a win-win situation for both students and future employers. The students gain exposure to contacts and work environments while the mentors get to know the students as potential employees. The program takes a long-term view and helps students transition into the workplace.
The Swedish School of Library and Information Science has standing agreements with other European countries that allow LIS students to do an exchange program and take LIS classes in another country. I was able to join two Practical Experience seminars with visiting undergraduate LIS students from Poland, Spain, Estonia, France, and Vietnam.
The first seminar was on Swedish Libraries and was taught by Librarian, Karin Süld
. I learned that in Sweden, there are currently:
285 Public libraries
20 County libraries
4000 School libraries
115 Medical & patient libraries
36 Special libraries
38 University libraries (all 38 universities have libraries)
1 National Library
The new Education Act of 2010
states that “All pupils, regardless of whether they attend a municipal or independent school, are to have access to a school library. This provision includes both compulsory school and equivalent types of schools and upper secondary schools and upper secondary schools for pupils with learning disabilities.”
The National Library of Sweden
, located in Stockholm, is open to the public. The National Library has been collecting a legal deposit copy of everything printed in Sweden or in Swedish since 1661. The National Library administers LIBRIS, the national library union catalog system.
, Librarian at the LLR, discussed the University’s collection of 139,000 volumes, approximately 67,000 e-books and around 31,000 e-journals. The Library recently introduced the discovery tool, Summon, which uses a single-search box feature like Google. Users now have access to 62 million objects online. The Library is very pleased with Summon, especially with the continuous updates. Users can now use their mobile devices
to search Summon.
Borg also discussed the Library’s conversion
from the Swedish SAB cataloging system, to the Dewey Decimal System (DDC). The Swedish National Library has introduced a countrywide conversion to the DDC. At the University, all new books since January, 1, 2011 have been automatically cataloged in DDC. The conversion for the rest of the library’s holdings are scheduled for summer of 2012. Unlike the trend towards moving books off-site, the University of Borås keeps all of the library’s physical holdings on-site.