April 28 was the launch of the Inspiring Ideas project. The launch, held at the newly-renovated Metropolitan Theatre, was itself inspiring. Spoken word artist Nereo set the tone with a forward-thinking, captivating performance which enthralled the audience. “Set your imagination free” was the message he spun from mere words into spell-binding images you could hear and almost see. With this opening performance, the morning’s events were bound to engage the audience.
The launch continued its momentum with life-long library supporter Councillor Brian Mayes’ thoughtful words on the many strengths and far-reaching effects of libraries, as well the importance of community involvement in planning the future of these public spaces. Councillor Mayes also revealed that one of his local libraries was not actually a branch of the City system, but his sons’ bedroom, where books were organized and ordered, and for which the Councillor required a library card!
Keynote speaker Ken Roberts gave the audience a taste of the future of libraries. Ken has traveled the world consulting and working with library stakeholders. Through pictures and words Ken forecasted the changing needs and corresponding roles that the Winnipeg Public Library will fill. Ken inspired the audience to think about what they would like to see their local library become. The days of book repositories are long over. Libraries are seeking and finding creative ways to reach out to communities: using their library spaces for collaborative imaginative projects as well as information sharing. Building spaces that have a strong street presence. Giving free access to a new generation of electronic books. No longer content to wait for the public to come to them, the Library is going to the Public.
The morning’s speakers were introduced by Manager of Library Services Rick Walker, tireless champion of new and innovative library initiatives. The audience was encouraged to share their ideas in a variety of ways, by writing or drawing them out on a large mural, by posting them on a white board, by displaying them in pictures via a photo booth, and by filling out the online (or paper) survey.