The world is changing rapidly so what about the library field? What is going on there?

For many years the children’s department of a public library was the cosy, colourful part of the library. But in reality it sometimes seems just a copy of the adult section but with smaller furniture, more colour, some posters and that was it. It may be a kind of a shock but the way children grow up nowadays is completely different from previous generations. The digital native children require completely different things during childhood, and adolescence. Can librarians really keep up and is the dedicated library space still appealing for the children and teens? It is an ongoing theme for librarians which needs attention. That is why the children’s section dedicated a complete issue of the Newsletter on this.

Learning to read and (next step) reading to learn are still true but how and with what materials, activities do we help children in this process.  We need hard and software but most of all, we need to know the world of children and their 21t century skills. Once we adults finally know Facebook, snapchat and other tools, the children left them already. So the children become our teachers in this. And how does this reflect the look and feel of a library? Why should children take the effort and come to the library? Sometimes because they do not have internet access at home, sometimes to study and do schoolwork in a quiet place. They want to meet friends, discover interesting things from a 3D printer to fun stories or a debating club.

Some libraries have a panel which gives them great input. And children panels can do the same. With a clear view they can tell us what they would like to see. Friendly staff with a smile on their face who know about the digital and real world. Different parts of the world show different needs but all around the world they want this: a smile!

Next year, august 2017, the WLIC will be held in Wroclaw, Poland. The children’s section hopes to prepare good sessions, some in collaboration and some on our own. The first steps are taken to prepare a satellite congress in Singapore in 2018 when WLIC is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I am very positive on the past year. A lot of work has been realized and next year we will do this also. The children’s section is a very active group with an open mind and an open view to colleagues all around the world.

I look forward to new faces, to new members and librarians involved from all over the globe.

Ingrid Bon
Chair Section Libraries for Children and Young Adults