The IFLA Social Sciences Libraries Section (SocSci) in cooperation with Reference and Information Services Section (RISS) are hosting an ignite talks session “Bringing Back Patrons to the Library: Promoting Community and In-Person Programming in Digital World” at the 2023 IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on Wednesday, 23 August, 11:30 – 12:30, at RTM Stage (Session ID: 151)

As a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, many library activities transitioned to remote services – with overwhelming success. Over the past two years, activities and services have returned to normal. Most of us are back working in the office. Our patrons are slowly returning to our buildings. Remote services, however, are here to stay. While these online and virtual services allow all types of libraries to continue to meet the varying needs of their communities, social interactions continue to decrease and some patrons remain isolated. There is a need, now more than ever, for libraries to bring back our patrons to the library to promote social engagement and community. How are you bringing back your patrons?



1. The Academic Library as a “Third Place”: Encouraging Community and Connection

“Library Late Night” is an event that seeks to create a gathering place for students outside of their classes and resident halls. The aim of the event is multifold: to engage students with the library in a register different from what the typical day allows, to encourage their conception of the library as a place to socialize and form connections, to foster a stronger sense of community and belonging amongst student and staff in the library. It promotes our collective sense of social ownership over the space, and with that distances us from the necessary isolation implemented during the pandemic.

  • Shannon Reilly, Boston College, United States

2. Breathing new life into a tobacco factory: Hellenic Parliament’s Library multi-faceted outreach

Libraries in the digital transformation era should immediately acknowledge their role in the context of education and research, producing innovative services, making data digitally available for everyone to access, thus improving user interaction and experience. At the same time, libraries as a physical space, accessible and accommodating, continue to evolve and thrive inviting people to come together to work, to collaborate, to exchange ideas and to have fun.

  • Eleni Mouzouraki, Hellenic Parliament Library, Greece
  • Maria Vlassopoulou, Hellenic Parliament Library, Greece
  • Maria Briana, Hellenic Parliament, Greece

3. Collaborations and Partnerships for digital literacy, through innovative Coding Activities in South African Library Spaces

Coding is a concept that was introduced in South African libraries through various digital platforms such as apps and websites. It is one of the most successful library digital literacy activities post-pandemic, where children play in groups of five, learning problem-solving skills, teamwork, and improving socialisation.

  • Jean Greyling, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
  • Jeff Nyoka, City of Johannesburg Municipality, South Africa

4. Active Ageing Learning Market: Enabling People as the Sustainable Resources for the Society

The program was inspired by the idea of crowdfunding platform. First, the active senior readers propose their thoughts and wishes for courses. After discussions and voting, the courses that pass the threshold of second will then have resources matched by the Center for course opening. Also, participants are empowered as lecturers or teaching assistants to further give back to the society.

The program not just promotes older workforce reutilization, but also keeps tabs on the post-curriculum development of participants and invites them to be the brand ambassadors to the Center following the concept of brand management.

  • Jian Hao He, Taipei Public Library, Taiwan, Province of China