We are a library organization in Gislaved kommun, a municipality in Sweden. Our organization consists of one main library, 6 smaller ones and one library bus. Some of our smaller libraries are combined public and school libraries.
A few years ago we became a part of the IFLA Sister Libraries. We were paired with Westerville Public Library Ohio, USA. Our hope was to get some international perspective and input in our daily work.
It has been very interesting for us to be a part of this. There is a historical connection between Sweden and the USA because a lot of people migrated to the States during the 19th century and specifically from the region where Gislaved is situated. We live in a rural area and when it comes to library service we think that we share some things but differ in others. To read about Westerville and to hear about what they are doing makes us think about our own work in a different way. Sometimes it’s “Are they doing that…..they are so far ahead” and sometimes it’s more “They are doing it too…we must be on the right track”.
Over the years we have sent postcards, shared exhibitions, tips and more. This year was the 70th birthday of Astrid Lindgren’s children’s books character Pippi Långstrump or Pippi Longstocking as she is known in the English speaking World. We had a big party here at the library and we know that Westerville was quite inspired by this. We hope too se some pictures from that party soon!
This summer Robin Gibson, youth librarian at the Westerville public library, came and visited us! She made a tour around some of our smaller libraries in Hestra and Anderstorp apart from visiting the main library in Gislaved. It was fun to finally meet and we dream of someday see the public library in Westerville for real and not just by taking the virtual tour!
This Christmas Westerville won’t be getting just a postcard but hopefully a package. Well, if it ever gets through the customs! This blogpost is a sort of public postcard from us to the staff of Westerville Library and a little story of our cooperation as well. Of course we can’t reveal the content of the Christmas gift, but maybe Westerville can do that themselves….: )
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
From the staff at the public library organization of Gislaved