Thursday, 24 July 2008

University of Strathclyde: 22 July 2008

Our visit to the University of Strathclyde was a day packed with information. The University was extremely welcoming. We were greeted by David McMenemy and Alan Poulter, both professors in the Computer Information Sciences department. In addition to these two speakers, we heard from Christine Rooney-Browne and David Dawson.

While the talks were extremely insightful (discussions of the social value of the Public Library and Forensic Readiness of Local Libraries in School), I found our visit to the Bridge in Easterhouse the most intriguing. Here we met Stephen Finnie who gave us a tour of the facility. I say facility because the space was much more than a library. It opened after 10 years of planning in 2006 "as the hub of the most innovative, integrated approach to leisure, learning, arts and training in Scotland" (Library at the Bridge handout).

The community in which the Bridge resides is a depressed and impoverished area so the opening of the Bridge is expected to have a plethora of benefits both intrinsic and extrinsic. The Bridge has a swimming pool, dance studio, sound recording studio, costume workshop, theatre and is attached to the Community College. Though there are a number of parties involved, the building is completely integrated and a visitor has access to any aspect of the facility. The Bridge has extensive programming. Even as we were touring several programs were going on. The difficult tween age group had a workshop on animation. There was also a face painting program for the younger ages. This took place in the Children's area which is conveniently shelved on movable shelves allowing the reorganization of the collection to accommodate programming needs.

I was absolutely amazed by the collaboration and partnerships involved in bringing about such an impressive and welcoming place for the community to come. The space was open and airy, a hub of activity. Instead of the silence of conventional libraries, one heard the activity of learning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey! Glad you enjoyed your trip to Glasgow - maybe next time you'll have a bit more time to explore the city.

If you do find yourself back in the West of Scotland you should check out The Mitchell Library; the largest public reference library in Europe. The council recently spent a lot of money on a big refurb; massive cafe, licensed bar, state of the art auditorium, the Robert Burns collection...I could go on and on! It also hosts the annual Aye Write Book Festival which attracts lots of big name authors. It's such a brilliant library and a real inspiration!

Anyway, hope you enjoy the rest of your study trip!
Christine Rooney-Browne