Simon Browne

Contingent Librarian

Simon Browne * Contact *

Parallel Library Services

Between October 2021 and March 2022, in Rotterdam and online
Deadline: 24th September 2021

Parallel Library Services is a workshop series that documents the many actions and situations that libraries and amateur librarians facilitate.

It sees libraries as not just places to keep books and files, but as sites where important social practices are performed: annotating, community-building, reading together, supporting, organising, structuring and many more.

It aims to collect and document these actions hands-on; sharing discussions, perspectives, tools and techniques while experimenting with free software to create one, or many libraries in parallel.

How can libraries offer each other support while maintaining necessary difference? What knowledge and know-how can assist and what are the tasks of librarians to come?

The program of 12 workshops will be held (mostly) every two weeks between October 2021 and March 2022.Each workshop will be approximately 2-3 hours. During these we will:

– engage in critical discourse on library practices and knowledge distribution
– collectively gain knowledge and know-how in the setup and maintenance of digital libraries
– support each other in experiments with free software tools to organise, classify, distribute and annotate digital collections
– collect and document techniques, tools, workflows and discussions
– connect and strengthen a network of amateur digital librarians


October 2021: Introducing digital library types and setup, classifying and cataloguing texts

November 2021: Organising library structure, experiments with document conversion

December, 2021: Digitising, scanning, processing and republishing

January, 2022: Annotation tools and strategies, Documentation

February, 2022: Collaborative writing and self-publishing workflows, Documentation

March, 2022: Experimenting with the database, Documentation and debrief, Publication

The workshops will happen twice monthly, alternating between in-person meetings at Varia, in the south of Rotterdam and online, hosted over web conferencing software. Guests speaker presentations will accompany the workshops. All workshops will include online forms of communication, so participation at a physical distance can be supported.

Applications are welcome from all with an interest in libraries and in particular from those who are curious to experiment with creating a library for their own community, in a mutually supported environment.

Participants who choose to be involved in documentation in the later stages of the series will also receive a small fee as compensation.

To apply, please send a brief description of your motivation to by Friday the 24th of September, 2021. All participants will be informed of the results of the selection by the 30th of September, 2021.

Parallel Library Services is supported by the Creative Industries Fund NL.