Saturday, 2 August 2008

University of Strathclyde and The Bridge Arts Centre: July 22nd, 2008

(photo taken from:

As with all of our hosts here in Scotland we were again warmly greeted by two professors at the University of Strathclyde, Alan Poulter and David McMenemy. The University of Strathclyde was founded in 1796 when a Professor of Natural Philosophy, John Anderson, left monies in his will for a university that would be available for the public. We learned through Professor McMenemy, that there are currently 25,000 students across the University's two campuses and that the Information and Library Studies program is the 2nd largest postgraduate course at the University (exciting!).

While at the University, we had the opportunity to listen to Christine Rooney-Browne, a PhD. candidate in the Computer and Information Sciences Department.

Mrs. Rooney-Browne's presentation was inspiring and served as a wonderful transition to visiting The Bridge. Her research includes discussing the social-value of public libraries as she is finding more and more libraries are taking a marketing approach using quantitative data rather than qualitative. A major argument in her research is that libraries should be examined by understanding the value libraries serve for specific communities. Rooney-Browne is working on implying Social Impact Methods in five public libraries throughout the world. Interestingly, she is studying the social value of public libraries in New Orleans. The latter, definitely "hit home" as many of my fellow students and professors reside near or around this area and were personally impacted by the events that unfolded and continue to unfold from Hurricane Katrina.

In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to visit The Bridge. This library opened in 2006, in an effort to provide a community center to a low income population on the outskirts of Glasgow. I found such inspiration in The Bridge's innovative approach to how library's can now serve as a conduit for promoting education and boosting the community moral. This is seen in the fact that The Bridge is connected to a local community college. Here patron's can see where an education can take them and our speaker, noted that the library collection includes both academic and nonacademic reads.

The Bridge not only promotes education, but is also a place promoting art, culture, and leisure. This can be seen in the Bridge's availability of a swimming pool, cafe, and dance and recording studio and auditorium.

No comments: