Libraries play an important role in the mediation of culture and ideas. Yet they often do not have a lot of visibility. As part of its programme “The Other Thought: French-Indian Encounters on Innovation and Creativity”, the Institut français India shed light on the importance of libraries as mediators.
The three-day workshop kicked off on May 9, 2017 where 15 librarians represented 14 libraries in the French network in India. Each presented their work and their challenges through interactive and participative workshops. The workshop brought together librarians from the entire network in a rare face-to-face interaction. Librarians brought forth their expertise to provide non-prescriptive solutions. The workshops – which included enactments, and a comics workshop – kept users (library-goers) at the centre.
On the second day the network of libraries in India, DELNET, hosted the French network of libraries, signaling a promising Franco-Indian cooperation. Deepalaya Community Library, a free, community library managed by author Mridula Koshy that was open to all, provided an example as an open and interactive space. Meanwhile, French expert Heloïse Courty invited participants to imagine “The Third Space Library” – a space for creativity and innovation that was not work or home.
Finally on the third day, participants put their hands to clay modelling to create spaces for a “French Digital Corner” – an existing program that introduce students to France and French culture and ideas.
Finally, these workshops strengthened the connection of the French network of libraries to each other, and also to other libraries in India. Institut français India in term partners with them in their important role in mediating culture and ideas.