Abstracts for the Summit on the Value of Libraries, Archives and Museums

Taking  it to the Streets: Summit on the Value of Libraries, Archives and Museums in a  Changing World 

Abstract for Keynote Address: Making History in 2017

Charlotte Gray

As the sesquicentennial approaches, how will we ensure that the celebrations are rooted in scholarship as well as sentiment?

Abstract for Interactive session: Setting the context

Patrice Landry

Defining value in the context of cultural institutions is a difficult endeavor; while the concept of ‘value’ is closely related to the notions of ‘benefits’ and ‘impact’, it is how and what is assessed and evaluated that are problematic. How to define, for instance, ‘benefits’ for the funding government agency, for the stakeholders and for the public in general and according to which criteria? Value is also associated with the ‘significance’ of a particular institution – for instance, how important are national cultural institutions in the agenda of the federal government? How are these supported and perceived by the public? The ‘significance’ of a cultural institution can be determined by the level of legitimacy and support it receives based on is ability to properly produce the appropriate ‘benefits’ and ‘impacts’. What is at stake is the ability of cultural institutions to provide the appropriate ‘proof of value’ of the outcomes.

The goal of the presentation is to address these issues of value in cultural institutions by reporting on a research project that investigates the notion of value of national libraries broadly in order to account for all manifestations of value creation. In particular, the presentation will show how the results of national libraries’ activities, their management culture, institutional core values as well as the perception of the library’s value held by the nation’s population (users and non-users of the library) can be accounted for in a conceptual value framework.

Mark O'Neill

In this collaborative age of co-curating, co-authoring and co-creating, where everyone in essence becomes an authority, have we reached the stage where we no longer need content experts or authentic artifacts? Or are libraries, archives and museums simply adapting to the latest in a series of technological revolutions?

Everyone can agree that digital engagement is a crucial component of the success of today’s libraries, archives and museums, as it offers exciting new opportunities for sharing and for broadening their reach. However, the collection and preservation of material culture, archival fonds, library material and many other aspects of our tangible heritage remains an important responsibility for memory institutions.

Abstract for Session 1 - Creating value through innovation and non-traditional partnerships

Maureen Sawa

Museums, libraries and public archives have unique value propositions: they exist to serve and contribute to the public good of their communities. These modern institutions demonstrate the values of accessibility and lifelong learning, with diverse collections organized in vast physical and digital networks. Common strengths, such as the expertise of archivists, curators and librarians, are instrumental to future success. Leveraging the trust and recognition associated with their sectors, they work together in surprising ways, which generate intended and, in some cases, entirely unexpected benefits for their communities.

This session will explore exemplary cross-sector library, archive and museum projects in Canada that bring history to life, celebrate local culture and extend lifelong learning to new audiences.

Marie Chapman

This abstract is currently not available. 

Victoria Dickenson

Defining the mission of the museum as a public-good institution in the service of society can yield fortuitous partnerships and surprising pathways for development. This presentation of three case studies explores how novel strategies for achieving goals emerge from using the unique status of the museum to bring together the resources of the public sector and the broader academic community to respond to community needs.

Positioning the museum as a leader in building partnerships with community organizations and academic partners leads to somewhat surprising outcomes, and it highlights some missed opportunities.

Liz White

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s greatest research libraries. It provides world-class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities, and offers unparalleled access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive research collection. The British Library’s collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items. The collection represents every age of written civilization and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings, in all written and spoken languages.

This presentation will explore the British Library’s vision to make our intellectual heritage accessible to everyone, for research, inspiration and enjoyment, and how we deliver public value through our core purposes. It will consider the different ways we define and measure value, and how our overall narrative has developed in recent years.

The presentation will reference partnerships at the local, national and international levels, such as the Knowledge Quarter (an interdisciplinary partnership of over 80 institutions in King’s Cross in London) and the Living Knowledge Network (a partnership of 21 major public libraries and 3 national libraries).

Abstract for keynote address : Simon Brault

The 21st century presents myriad challenges and opportunities in the creating and sharing of arts and culture. Globalization, changing demographics and digital technologies are transforming our society, and forcing us, as organizations, to be more nimble. However, they also offer us the opportunity, if we’re willing to grasp it, to scale up our value and go beyond shaping our collective memory to shaping our future.   

Simon Brault, Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts, is leading Canada’s arts funder through a large-scale transformation to better support artists in the 21st century, and to boost the impact of the arts on society. He will discuss the Council’s experience to date and highlight ways that we can work together to build momentum for a greater role of the arts and culture in the lives of Canadians.

Abstract for keynote address : Andrew Tessler

The need to demonstrate the value of libraries, archives and museums (LAMs) to government and key stakeholders has been a growing trend over the last few years. Higher expectations associated with new technology and/or tighter budgets may be driving this trend.

The economic valuation of LAMs can be conducted using either impact (GDP) based methodologies or social welfare approaches. Features of both of these are explored in this talk. Oxford Economics’ work on assessing the value of the British Library is also explored in depth. Finally, some reflections on lessons learned from this work and from recent Canadian studies are discussed.

Abstract for Session 2 - Creativity, innovation and LAM collections

Derek Kwan

How the Vancouver Public Library's Inspiration Lab assisted in the making of my documentary film, Taste of Identity. The Inspiration Lab provided a space for collaboration where I could work with the editors for my film. The technology and resources made available at the Inspiration Lab also helped me to realize the final cut of the film. Taste of Identity went on to screen at various local film festivals and garnered two awards at the Canada Shorts Film Festival. Most prominently, Taste of Identity showcased my body of work, which opened the door for me to attend the CBC Diverse Creators workshop for emerging diverse creators.

Eric Sze-Lang Chan

In the Digital Age, Library, Archives and Museums (LAMs) are needed more than ever to inspire creativity amongst its users, especially artists. Having recently exhibited at the Library and Archives Canada for Open Books: International Artists Explore the Chinese Folding Book, Mr. Chan will discuss how such national institutions have informed my own artistic creations and the significance of LAMs beyond a space of exhibition and research – but as a creative medium itself.

Michael Wallace

Mr. Wallace’s remarks will focus on two projects.

  1. The World Remembers: This is a First World War centenary commemoration, education and reconciliation project, conceived in 2011 and running from 2014 through 2018. The state of national archives in 14 nations associated with the project will be addressed, along with the political and practical difficulties in assembling accurate and complete First World War data for many nations. Archives, for better or for worse, can sometimes be viewed as representing the memory of a nation.
  2. Theatre Museum Canada and its Legend Library Series of online interviews: It is challenging to create a museum for what is basically an ephemeral art form. This online interview series with actors, directors, writers, designers, producers, composers, artistic directors, cutters, stage managers and others is a way of acknowledging, in a museum context, that the history of our theatre resides in the artists and technicians who create it. Compared with physical artifacts, they have relatively short existences, so the series is a means of addressing the transitory nature of remembering the art.

Pam Wright

The U.S. National Archives continuously seeks out innovative ways to spark creativity and enhance engagement with the use of our records. The Archives is trying everything from virtual details to GIFs to NaNoWriMo meetings, in order to reach the public where they are and inspire new ideas.  In this session, Pamela Wright will be discussing the latest innovation and citizen engagement projects at the U.S. National Archives. 

Abstract for keynote address : Donna Livingstone

This abstract is currently unavailable.

Abstract for Session 3 - Assessing the value of LAMs in Canada

Vickery Bowles

Libraries, museums and public archives transform. They transform individuals, communities and cities. They offer access, opportunity and connections, and with the latest technologies, this is achieved in ways never dreamed of before. They offer the active, vital ingredients that make smart cities. They are important catalysts that unleash the individual and collective power of every resident within those cities.

These institutions are animating their physical space and programming to engage and encompass a broader range of activities, both cultural and learning. And there is even more potential for the future when libraries, museums and public archives work in collaboration, leveraging the intersection of culture, learning and technology to reinvent their services in innovative, future-focused and creative ways.

Paul Gilbert

Thinking out-of-the-box will be necessary for legacy organizations in heritage and culture in Canada. But how far out-of-the-box? What could this look like? Our team is building a very interesting collaboration among a collection of unexpected players that could inspire a broader view of how new networks and collaborations could work. For 11 years, a partnership between BC Ferries and Parks Canada, organized and run by a small private firm, has provided a free public education program called Coastal Naturalists during the summer on major ferry routes in the Gulf Islands.

The success of this program led the partners to ask for an expansion strategy. The mandate given: massive increase in reach and engagement; 365-days-a-year access; oh yes, and please find new sources of funding. The proposed strategy, now in its final planning stages, will see the potential addition of two new museum partners, corporate social responsibility support and private donors. The program will expand to include more points-of-engagement with live interpretation, traditional exhibitions and kiosks, and a digital media program with augmented reality experiences available on virtually every BC Ferries sailing. This innovative and ambitious joint effort offers a glimpse at out-of-the-box thinking that could lead to a more exciting future.

John Roberts

The concept of value serves as foundation to unify various strands of archival practice. Understanding the value that can be realised from the creation and use of records underpins archival appraisal, management, and access regimes. But all too often decisions about acquisition, preservation and access become disconnected and seen as application of professional good practice, rather than as tools for value realisation. A focus on value also drives archives to explore new audiences and new modes of use: delivering the greatest value is not just about maximising use by existing research communities. Similarly, for the many archives also involved in current information management practices, a value lens helps integrate the interests of the records-creating organisation with those of its external community: self-interest and the public interest. The presentation reflects on the application of this approach at the Archives on Ontario, and its implications for the value proposition of the institution for its various stakeholders.

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