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Beyond The Horizon – A new series of inspirational talks from international thought leaders and industry experts

Posted on 10 Jun 2020

Libraries Unlimited is proud to present a series of five talks from international pioneers in library and community practice, presented in collaboration with Libraries Connected and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health (WCCEH).

We have gathered together some of the greatest library and community minds and thought pioneers from around the world to share their insights into creating meaningful roadmaps for this unchartered territory of the new normal.

Guest speakers include:

Eric Klinenberg, world-renowned sociologist, Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University and author of various books including Palaces for the People.

Erik Boekesteijn, a leading force in revolutionising libraries as multi-functioning spaces at the heart of communities and founding member of Public Libraries 2030.

Marie Østergård, library pioneer, Director at Aarhus Public Libraries and Dokk One (Public library of the year 2016) and co-inventor of Next Libraries.

R.David Lankes, a leading public library expert, Director of the University of South Carolina’s School of Information Science and author of the award winning The Atlas of New Librarianship.

Nina Simon, community involvement innovator, Spacemaker & CEO of OF/BY/FOR ALL and best-selling author of The Participatory Museum and The Art of Relevance.

Curator of Beyond The Horizon, Daniel Clark – Creative Director for Libraries Unlimited says ”This is a strange and uncertain time. Public libraries, along with public spaces and services across the world have had to adapt and do things differently, with more and more offers going online in a bid to reach people virtually. Alongside this, the needs of our users and customers have changed so much that it’s led many of us to question how the model of the public library needs to be adapted.”

Daniel added “Alongside the obvious challenges of this time lies also an opportunity – to see and do things differently and connect to the public in new and meaningful ways. We all know libraries will be essential in the new normal, but how that looks is as broad as our imaginations dare to dream.

We have brought together these great speakers in a hope that they can serve as an inspiration for us all in public libraries around the UK and beyond. Our hope is that these events will serve as a space for us all to listen, learn, question and dream just what’s there for us all beyond the horizon.”

Beyond the Horizon events include:


Eric Klinenberg talks to Isobel Hunter
Thu 18 Jun 2020, Zoom Interview, 15.00-16.00 (Ticketed – Free)

Kicking off the series Isobel Hunter, CEO of Libraries Connected, talks to Eric Klinenberg.

Eric is a world-renowned American sociologist, scholar and author.

He is Helen Gould Shepard Professor of Social Science and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University and is the author of, among other publications, Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life and co-author, with Aziz Ansari, of the New York Times #1 bestseller Modern Romance.

His talk with Isobel will explore libraries as essential democratic spaces, and their role as this in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

Erik Boekesteijn talks to Nick Poole
Thu 25 Jun 2020, Zoom Interview, 15.00-16.00 (Ticketed – Free)

This week we will hear Erik Boekesteijn interviewed by Nick Poole, CEO of CILIP.

Erik is a leading force in revolutionising libraries as multi-functioning spaces, held at the heart of communities. He spends his days navigating an impressive collection of roles, including Senior Advisor at the National Library at the Netherlands (KB), Board member for StoryHouse, Chester, UK; Facilitator and consultant for IFLA.; Consultant for Public Libraries 2020, and founding father of Public Libraries 2030. He is also Owner of Shanachie Media and producer of This Week in Libraries.

Erik and Nick will discuss and explore new ways of thinking and approaching the role of the library and librarian at this new time and consider ideas for moving forward.

Marie Østergård talks to Stuart Hamilton

Thu 2 Jul 2020, Zoom Interview, 15.00-16.00 (Ticketed – Free)

Marie Østergård talks to Stuart Hamilton, Head of Libraries Development at LGMA, Ireland. Marie is one of the true trailblazers of the library in the modern age.

She is Library Director of Aarhus Public Libraries, overseeing Dokk1 (the largest public library in the Nordic Countries & winner of Public Library of the Year Award 2016) and 18 branches. She is also Co-inventor of the Biannual Next Libraries conference. Since the beginning of her career in 2001 she has been part of Aarhus Public Libraries’ development of the library as a democratic space – a non-commercial space that empowers citizenship, sustainable communities and human growth. A champion of citizen involvement in its many forms, throughout the years she has worked intensely with co-operation and partnerships – nationally and internationally – to ensure development and innovation in the library sector.

In this talk with Stuart, they will be exploring the role of partnerships at this time – with communities, stakeholders and one another.

R. David Lankes talks to Sue Williamson

Thu 9 Jul 2020, Zoom Interview, 15.00-16.00 (Ticketed – Free)

For our fourth interview in the series, R.David Lankes will be interviewed by Sue Williamson, Director of Libraries for Arts Council England.

R. David Lankes is one of the most passionate advocates for libraries and their essential role in today’s society. He is the director of the University of South Carolina’s School of Information Science, and recipient of the American Library Association’s 2016 Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship. His book, The Atlas of New Librarianship won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature.

In this talk, Sue and David will be discussing the role of public libraries in supporting communities at this time and the building of co-created models moving forward.

Nina Simon talks to Daniel Clark
Thu 16 Jul 2020, Zoom Interview, 15.00-16.00 (Ticketed – Free)

For our final interview in this mini-series, Nina Simon will be interviewed by Daniel Clark, Creative Director at Libraries Unlimited.

Nina Simon is a true pioneer of community engagement, trailblazing techniques that have inspired museums and community spaces around the world.

She is the Spacemaker & CEO of OF/BY/FOR ALL, a global nonprofit that creates digital tools to help civic and cultural organisations become more inclusive, relevant, and sustainable. The OF/BY/FOR ALL Change Network program involves over 50 museums, libraries, parks, theaters, and nonprofit organisations, all taking bold strides to become of, by, and for their diverse communities.

In this talk Daniel and Nina will explore insights into her methodology and approach and uncover her tips for building resilient and relevant community spaces.

Book Now: Nina Simon talks to Daniel Clark

Chief Executive of Libraries Connected, Isobel Hunter says “Libraries are an essential part of the UK’s economic, academic and cultural recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. In a discussion with library workers and users in May, we started to identify some of the societal challenges libraries are well placed to respond to: tackling the digital divide which the pandemic has thrown into sharp relief, helping people back into work and supporting local business recovery, addressing social isolation and bringing communities back together, and providing places for people to mourn together and heal their loss. The Beyond the Horizon series is a fantastic opportunity to explore how libraries can refocus and reposition themselves to meet the new challenges and opportunities of the post-Covid world.”

Director of Exeter Culture, Dom Jinks says “As Exeter UNESCO City of Literature we are proud to support this event. One aspect of our UNESCO designation is about how we connect with international partners to focus on areas connected to literature, reading and writing. This programme very much does exactly this and demonstrates Libraries Unlimited connection with such a talented range of professionals for everyone’s benefit.”

Director of Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, Professor Mark Jackson says “The Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health is delighted to be involved in the Beyond The Horizon series. We have worked with Libraries Unlimited for many years and benefited immensely from its creative energy and commitment to local communities. This innovative initiative will help to connect people with shared interests in understanding and changing the world for the better.”

Each talk will be broadcast live via Zoom and will begin with a 30-minute interview with the special guest to discuss current challenges and potential futures for library spaces. Following the conversations, participants will be invited to ask questions and join the discussion.

Beyond the Horizon, a new series of inspirational talks from international thought leaders, is presented by Libraries Unlimited in collaboration with Libraries Connected and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health (WCCEH). This series is supported by Arts Council England and Exeter UNESCO City of Literature.

Libraries Unlimited believes…

…in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information and facilities.