Tales from Tallinn

Following on from my last blog, I have to report that everything that President Reid says in his Presidential Blog is true about the Twin Cities Conference and Study Tour in Estonia. You will have to visit the new CILIPS website on http://www.cilips.org.uk to read it for yourself.


Last week I took 4 speakers from Scotland and 1 Welshman to make their contributions to a conference organised by the Estonian Ministry of Culture spearheaded by Adviser on Libraries Meeli Veskus. The practical tasks were taken on by the small but mighty Triinu Seppam, ably assisted by Kaie Holm, Kalju Tammaru and Vaiko Sepper. Barbro Wigell-Ryynanen of Finland’s Ministry of Culture led the Finnish delegation. Contributions were focused on the conference theme To (too?) Public: Library Marketing and Public Relations in Public Libraries Today and speakers from all the different countries gave interesting presentations in excellent English.

The conference started with a quote from Information Scotland read by chairman Kalju, which goes to prove we have an international readership, about Aira Lepik from Tallinn University’s presentation to the 2007 conference. She gave another excellent presentation about marketing which finished with a glorious twist back to the Royal Wedding linking Something old, something new, something borrowed something blue.. and a silver sixpence in her shoe to library marketing. Paula Kauppila from Finland spoke strongly about taking the library message to the decision makers (I do prefer this term to stakeholders) and Jeanette Castle followed on describing West Lothian’s marketing of libraries as community hubs (the Estonian’s understood Blackburn is now famous as the home town of Susan Boyle and her popularity is amazing). Alan Watkin spoke about Wrexham’s involvement in the delivery of the Welsh marketing strategy and ably demonstrated how libraries have raised their game and the use of celebrities is very interesting and something we could learn from. Hannu Sulin from Finland’s Ministry of Culture talked about the constitutional context in Finland and the Minister’s framework for libraries and Katre Riisalu presented the Estonian Librarians Association’s strategic plan for supporting the development of the workforce.

My favourite was Kirajtokaista presented by Riita Taarasti which is part of libraries.fi and has 50 people working to provide services under one user interface. They have 369 videos and have produced 829 radio shows to promote libraries (see this clip and you can see the quality of the work http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eITfhOwyTU). Once I has stopped smiling it was time for President Reid’s presentation on http://www.lovescottishlibraries.com and Marja Kivihall on the Estonian Library for the Blind and how much trouble we have reaching beyond the very supportive local press into national media.

Day two included presentations from Virpi Launonen on young people and library spaces and there were many shared experiences of consultation and development, Veronica Raudsepp Linnupuu on promoting Viljandi City Library and Tiina Viik on branding libraries. Leigi Kütt talked about her experiences in marketing Lääne-Viru and shared lots of practical promotional ideas. Audrey Sutton from North Ayrshire and Alison Hunter from East Lothian completed the formal presentations about the crowd sourcing Flickr project North Ayrshire’s Yesterd@ys and the innovative branding of the library service in East Lothian.

This doesn’t really strike at the value of all the chatter between papers, receptions and meals, a tour of 5 gorgeous libraries and the way our imaginations were sparked by sharing ideas and experiences. We were generously hosted and hope our contributions will help our colleagues as much as theirs will help us.

Rhona Arthur
Assistant Director

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