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Why was the 2014 NEXT Library Conference Held in Chicago Instead of Denmark?

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Acting in collaboration with the Chicago Public Library (C.P.L.), the Chicago Public Library Foundation, and the Urban Libraries Council (U.L.C.), the Aarhus Public Libraries just held the NEXT Conference at the C.P.L. from Friday, June 20, 2014 until today, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. This being the case, the U.L.C. announced, “In 2014, ULC's Annual Forum willl [sic] be supplanted by the NEXT Library Conference, taking place for the first time in the United States. This international event is a partnership of Aarhus Public Libraries, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Public Library Foundation and the Urban Libraries Council.”

Created by Aarhus Public Libraries and first held in 2009, “the purpose of the NEXT Library Conference,” according to the NEXT Library Conference’s Web site, “is to look ahead and explore the continuously evolving nature of the public library in the 21st century.” For the first time, the Aarhus Public Libraries brought a NEXT Library Conference to North America.

According to the Web site, “NEXT Library is more than a conference; it is a community that has grown to include over 500 library leaders and innovators from around the world. The NEXT Library global kaleidoscope includes Australia, Austria, Bhutan, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, China, Columbia, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Faroe Islands, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, New Zealand, Nepal, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, UK, Ukraine, USA and Vietnam.”

Mayor Emanuel announced on Sunday, June 30, 2013 a $1,000,000 grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will allow the Chicago Public Library (CPL) and the Århus Kommunes Biblioteker (Aarhus Public Libraries) in Århus, Denmark to work together, with the assistance of leading design firm IDEO, on creating innovative library services and programs. Århus is the second-largest city in the Kingdom of Denmark with 310,000 residents and the largest port-city. The Aarhus Public Libraries is in the midst of building a new Main Library on the waterfront.

The Learning Sessions at 2014 NEXT Library Conference were “Patron as the Center of Design,” “Leveraging Partnerships for Enhanced Learning Outcomes,” “Learning through Creation,” and “Leveraging Technology for Learning.” The Closing Ceremony and optional events are being held today. The full list of events are listed on the 2014 NEXT Library Conference Program.

The speakers were Lourdes Aceves, Senior Program Manager for the Edge Initiative at the U.L.C.; Mads Egtved Andersen, Librarian at the Aarhus Public Libraries; Gia Arbogast, Assistant Director for the Outreach, Communications and Programming Division of the Miami-Dade Public Library System; Lisa Brahms, Ph.D., Director of Learning and Research at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh; Jennifer Byrnes, Business Research Specialist, Business & Social Sciences Division of the Rochester Public Library; Melinda Cervantes, Executive Director of the Pima County Public Library; Kezang Cholden Kezang Cholden, Program Officer, READ Bhutan; Carol Coletta, V.P., Community and National Initiatives, Knight Foundation; Jennifer Collins, Teen Services Coordinator – Offices for Children and Youth Services, San Francisco Public Library; Kendra Davey, Assistant Branch Manager, Pima County Library; Jason Driver, Children’s Librarian, George C. Hall Branch of the C.P.L.; Jeremy Dunn is the Director of Teen Services at the C.P.L.; Amy Eshleman, Program Leader for Education at the U.L.C.; Josh Farnum, Children’s Librarian, C.P.L.; John Glynn, Branch Manager, Albany Park Branch of the C.P.L.; Hallie Gordon, Artistic and Educational Director of Steppenwolf for Young Adults; Betha Gutshe, Program Manager, OCLC/Webjunction; Rolf Hapel, Director of Citizens’ Services and Libraries (C.S.L.) in Aarhus, Denmark; Melanie Huggins, Executive Director of the Richland Library; Barbara M. Jones is the Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, and the Executive Director of the Freedom to Read Foundation, at the American Library Association in Chicago; Angeline Kapferer, Adult Services Supervisor – Brook Park Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library; Melissa Kaszynski, Branch Manager, Dunning Branch of the C.P.L.; Brandon (BK) Klevence, Lead Mentor and Prototyper at the Free Library of Philadelphia; Chris Lawrence, Senior Director of Mozilla’s Webmaker Community Team; Nicholas Mayr, Manager, Community Initiatives, National Summer Learning Association; Elizabeth McChesney, Director of System Wide Children’s Services at the C.P.L.; Danielle Patrick Milam, Director of Development, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District; Brandy Morrill, Children's Librarian, Chinatown Branch of the C.P.L.; Dale Musselman, Operations Manager, OCLC/Webjunction; Louise Overgaard, Team Leader, Aarhus Public Libraries; Sidsel Bach-Peterson, Library Transformer, Aarhus Public Libraries; Patrick Quattlebaum, Managing Director, Adaptive Path; Rebecca Ranallo, Information & Technology Literacy Manager, Cuyahoga County Public Library; Mary W. Rowe, Director, Urban Resilience and Livability: The Municipal Art Society of New York; Rebecca Ryan, Library Manager, Saint Paul Public Library; Susan Schnuer, Associate Director of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, University of Illinois; Crystal Schimpf, Librarian, Kixel; Ruhi Seth, Training Officer, READ India; Margaret Sullivan, Principal, Margaret Sullivan Studio; Denis Weil, Adjunct Faculty & Research Associate, Institute of Design, I.I.T. Chicago; Claire Weisz, F.A.I.A., Principal, W X Y architecture + urban design; Jane Werner, Executive Director, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh; Corey Wittig, Digital Learning Librarian – Teen Services at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Bryan Wunar, Director of Community Initiatives, Center for the Advancement of Science Education (C.A.S.E.), Museum of Science & Industry; and Durgesh Kumar Yogi, Monitor and Evaluation Officer, READ Nepal. The Gates Global Libraries Training Working Group (Bac Ngyuen Thi, Camelia Crisan, Catalina Melo, Göknur Kaplan Akilli, Inga Niedra, Irma Vičytė, Jacek Krolikowski, Laura Agosta, Masnur Esterida Cornelia, Violeta Bunescu, and Yaroslava Tytarenko) also spoke.

Every two years, the Aarhus Public Libraries hosts the NEXT Library Conference. In the alternate years, the NEXT Library Conference is usually hosted in the capital by the Copenhagen Public Libraries. The Aarhus Public Libraries will host NEXT Library 2015 (September 12-15, 2015).

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