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Welcome to the 50th BETH annual conference on the topic of the future of theological libraries! We are looking forward to your participation. This is a hybrid public event with invite-only login. To start building your customised schedule please register for the conference through the BETH website. After registering, you will receive an email inviting you to create your profile and schedule in Sched. By logging in to Sched you will be able to create your personal schedule and see who else is attending our event. This will also be the place where you will be able to access the Zoom meetings during the conference. Please note that the live Zoom links will become available shortly before each session. All the sessions will be recorded. To join the meeting, login into your Sched account, open the desired session, and click on Open Zoom.
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Tuesday, September 13 • 9:00am - 10:00am
Reevaluating Physical Books – How to Repurpose Print Collections to Foster Community Building and Knowledge Creation in a 21st-Century Library

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Like many other libraries, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam faces the challenge of dealing with a large but very little used print collection. In 2021, we started the project Omboeken (“Re:book”) in order to repurpose our print collection in innovative ways. In my paper, I will outline several approaches and illustrate how print collections can contribute to fostering community building and knowledge creation in a 21st-century library.

To discover the different values and potentialities of our print books, we divided them into four categories: 1) rare books, 2) books for research and teaching, 3) books for inspiration and 4) books for artistic endeavors and social activities. One of the issues I discuss in the paper are the challenges we faced so far in formulating and applying criteria for these categories.
The core working material of the project consists of books from categories 3 and 4. For the selection of books for inspiration, we curate “inspiration libraries” based on the Sustainable Development Goals. In this way, we make VU research themes visible and foster interdisciplinary knowledge creation. We also aim to make visible how research from theology and other humanities fields contributes to societal issues. I will give examples of inspiration libraries that we created so far. Finally, I will discuss a case study pertaining to the last category, books that lost their informational value due to their online availability or outdated content but still have value as objects. One of the goals of the project is to explore the value of books on campus in the form of artworks. I will present the “Pantheon”, an artwork created with books that aims to create a campus environment that fosters creativity and a research mindset.

With my paper, I hope to inspire other librarians to take a fresh look at the value of their print collections.

avatar for Michèle Meijer

Michèle Meijer

Subject librarian, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, University Library
Hi! My name is Michèle Meijer and I am subject librarian for Religious studies, Theology, and Philosophy at the library of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Before I started working at the library, I studied Classics and Art History at the VU and last November also defended my PhD... Read More →

Tuesday September 13, 2022 9:00am - 10:00am CEST
Room 6