Generation Code 2020
The Public Library of Utrecht and its “Laboratorium”
Utrecht Public Library
Utrecht is centrally located in the Netherlands, the 4th city of the country, 358000 inhabitants. With an important role for education and culture. An EU economic top region.
Utrecht has an intercultural population.
The Utrecht Library is there for all citizens. We help them to participate independently and fully in society. The Library comprises five core functions: reading, learning, information, culture, meeting and debate. The associated task for libraries is: to stimulate, support, facilitate and equip citizens to participate in and contribute to the modern knowledge society. This includes a number of tasks, including general literacy, digital literacy and meeting (“sociocultural marketplace”). Contributing to digital citizenship also falls under these tasks, according to the Utrecht Library. (Vision on new media, 2017) New technology is an indispensable part of lifelong learning and discovery. Because looking at new technology is looking at the world around us. Technological developments affect all facets of our society. On the one hand, it helps us to be innovative and creative, to find solutions to everyday problems. On the other hand, new social questions are also arising. To really understand what’s going on, you need neutral ground. A place to gain insights, to question knowledge and to discover for yourself how it works. The Library has been such a neutral party for decades, standing at the heart of society and helping people to read the world and to act in it.
Hence The lab!The world needs a new generation of critical creators and inventors. Getting acquainted with new technology alone (for example operating a 3D printer or controlling a robot) is not enough: you need to learn to read technology. Learning to read the world only comes about once we show our audience how technology shapes and changes our world. (New Media Vision) The Laboratory wants to be that special place in the Library where a link is made between working with technology and thinking about technology and where you learn by making. In our Laboratory you can experiment with ideas, materials and techniques. You can research, discover, design, collaborate, share knowledge and become wiser together. To summarize: making use of the opportunities offered by new media, but also learning to deal with it critically.
During the lockdown we’ve created a number of educational video’s / miniature workshops for children among which a workshop Social Distance Robots that was created with our in-house medialab SETUP. These workshops serve, with a triple goal:
-To keep in touch with our target audience
-Exercises to participate from home
-Creating a databank with instructional videos for future reference.