Just the other week I went to a fascinating seminar which was run as part of the Social Innovator Dialogues. The topic was ‘designing innovation’ and was delivered by Enzio Manzini, Professor of Design at the Politecnico di Milano, Honorary Doctor at The New School of New YorkÂ (2006) and at the Goldsmiths College of London (2008) and honorary professor at the Glasgow School of Art (2009).
Manzini was talking about how we can develop sustainable communities, his key phrase was small, local, open, connected. The audio from this event can be downloaded from the Royal Institute of Australia (RiAus) website.*
The key concept is that to exist in a sustainable way, we need to develop smaller communities who can feed themselves and be more self contained, but we need to be open and inclusive and be connected to larger systems. We need to invest more in distributed systems. Systems for generating energy for our communities, using renewable sources. By being connected, we can generate what we need, but also supply back to the grid. There are many other ways in which the theory of distributed systems can be applied to current unsustainable practices.
Passion and a dreams are important things to have. I’m not going to let go of my dream of being a consultant and an advocate of sustainable libraries. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working hard to increase my network of contacts within South Australia and further afield. I’ve attended several workshops, presented at a conference and met some wonderful people.
The week before last I attended the Students of Sustainability Conference at Flinders University and attended a variety of sessions, on topics ranging from permaculture, the sharehood, development economics and gardening opportunities in urban environments presented by Harry Harrison from the Rare Fruit Society of South Australia.
As part of the conference I presented a session called Green Libraries.
The aims of the session were to:
- introduce the green library movement
- highlight the capacity of public libraries to promote sustainability
- motivate attendees to communicate the need for sustainability awareness programs to their local public library
- foster linkages between sustainability organisations and public libraries
Over the last two months I have spent quite a bit of time reading and thinking. My topic has become refined further, to a smaller area that I can investigate to greater depths. My initial research questions will still fit, hopefully, but some of them I am breaking out in to other studies that I can refer to within my PhD.
The title hasn’t changed much, but I think it might end up changing further down the track, to be more suitable. Currently I’m using An investigation of the extent to which Australian public libraries are practicing sustainability, but I think it might end up changing.
I have further refined my topic to look specifically at public libraries and at the community partnerships that are occuring and the services and programs that are developing as a result of these linkages. I am interested to see if these sustainability related community outreach programs are having an effect on the library staff and the way the organisation functions internally.