About Language, Power, Creating

Do maker-oriented activities create more inclusive libraries? Join our collaboration titled Language, Power, Creating.

Language, Power, Creating is a library initiative by Sormland County Library in Sweden. We explore creativity and maker-oriented activities as methods to strenghten the public library as a multilingual arena in the local community. Language, Power, Creating is about exploring library development from an intercultural perspective, and discussions about shared learning and how different perceptions of the library staff can have impact on how we recognize multilingualism and power relations in the library.

One of the corner stones in the project is that what you create will contribute to something bigger in our society, and hence the library staffs role to encourage interaction and creativity. How can maker-oriented activities help change power relations within the idea of the public library?

Bild på en kaffekopp. Bredvid kaffekoppen ligger inslagna lyckokakor i cerise glansigt material. Bakom finns en popup med olika byggnader från Sörmland.

Our poster during the Conference the Library Days in Sweden, 2018.

The collaboration is a result of a report made in the county of Sormland in 2015. The report gives some starting points regarding demographics, statistics, laws, language and migration in Sweden, followed by a thematically divided presentation of and reflections on the current status of library services in the county of Sormland. In the concluding part you´ll find some suggested areas for development. The report starts with this words:

”As I write this, the social context in which public libraries operate has been affected in many ways. It was felt in conversations. Children and adults losing their lives in wars and at sea while fleeing. A civil society mobilising to help people who leave their homes and arrive in new places. Borders being closed. The never-ending streams of racist abuse and violence. There were glimmers of hope, but the autumn showed that we have a tendency to forget the lessons of history. The autumn showed that the way we choose to describe phenomena and people matter. Our choice of words means something. Language creates context, creates distance, creates opportunities, shatters dreams, maintains structures. We all have a responsibility for the change, the view of humanity and the world we allow to emerge through our use of language and our actions. Language is important and people with power have the greatest responsibility. Social functions such as libraries have a great deal of responsibility. I keep coming back to whose narratives are to be given space and on whose terms.”

Read the report behind the project Language, Power, Creating: Language, Power and Sustainable Library Development – a report about multilingual library services in the county of Sörmland, Sweden (PDF, opens i new window).

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