On the afternoon of May 14, 2021, National Central Library and the Goethe-Institute Taipei co-hosted an international lecture online by an expert in library and information science, Dr. Klaus Ulrich Werner, Head of the Philological Library at the Free University of Berlin in Germany. He spoke on “From a Place of Learning to a Co-working Space.” The lecture was the first international lecture by the head of a library that NCL has put on this year. Inviting librarians from renowned libraries throughout the world is one of the NCL’s important events. The aim is to bring in advanced ideas and experiences in library and information science from overseas to benefit Taiwan’s librarians, as well as give them an opportunity to interact with colleagues from overseas.
NCL was very honored to have another chance to work with the Goethe-Institute Taipei. Despite challenges with the pandemic, NCL is still actively promoting scholarly exchange in international library and information science. This has not stopped because of the global pandemic. This time, an online meeting platform was used, and a six-hour time difference between Taiwan and Germany was navigated, to allow librarians in Taiwan the opportunity to hear Dr. Werner talk about the requirements for and actual usages of “co-working space” in German libraries.
NCL Director-General Tseng stated in her remarks that about six years ago in the Bulletin of the National Central Library, she published an article “Libraries in the Transition Era: New Vision, New Space, New Services and New Experience,” wherein she explored issues such as: How should the library and information science world respond to new ideas of a flipped world, flipped education, and flipped learning? Are libraries in Taiwan keeping up? In facing constant change, do librarians also feel and sense this change? Can they accept these trends? Are they willing to accept change? These are very pertinent issues. In recent years, the set image of the library as a place of learning has already changed in a very large degree. Various types of libraries—including national libraries, art libraries, and even public libraries—are beginning to innovate new spaces to meet the different needs of various patron types. In addition to the traditional “quiet learning spaces” and discussion areas, in recent years libraries have begun to provide professional classrooms to some work groups, have held “actual workshops” and “co-working spaces,” and provided multipurpose rooms.
During his lecture, Dr. Werner shared penetrating insights as he explored the following three issues: 1. The uniqueness of libraries functioning as places of learning; 2. Differences between libraries and business-type shared workspace; 3. Unique aspects of self-innovated or self-created spaces in libraries. Even more noteworthy, in an effort to attract young patrons, libraries in Germany will have as their goal “very cool” in designing and creating new space. Designing co-working space most often looks like it was put together on the fly in order to achieve the “coolness” factor. He also mentioned that librarians have implemented mobile service management and have become media educators for patrons.
The lecture was attended by more than sixty colleagues from the library and information science and education fields. All attended online. During the final Q&A session, Dr. Werner gave detailed answers to questions from Dr. Koli Chen (Department of Architecture, Tunghai University) and Hong-Shiu Liang (MingChuan University Library). It was a perfect ending to an amazing online lecture.