LIBREAS PODCAST #8
Interview with Britta Lejon
Najko Jahn (Interview), Sandra Lechelt (Transliteration)
Spieldauer/Running Time: 6min 6 sec
Datei/File: mp3/2,79 mb
Bitrate: 64 kBit/s
Aufnahmedatum/Recorded: 29. April 2008
Veröffentlicht/Published: 26. Mai 2008
LIBREAS: Today the LIBREAS podcast
proudly presents the current president of the Swedish Library Association
who is responsible for the very sympathic 'Library Lovers' campaign.
Hej Britta, it's a pleasure having you here!
Britta Lejon: Hello, hello. It's nice to be here!
LIBREAS: You launched a campaign
in order to sensitize the Swedish voters to the situation of libraries.
What's the situation like in Sweden?
Britta Lejon: Well, I would say that even though the
Swedish local municipalities and the Swedish government are spending
a lot of money on libraries we can feel fear declining reading abilities
among kids and young people and that is very very worrying. And we want
to launch this campaign in order to make it very clear that libraries
have a big and important role in changing this development. We think
that the Swedish politicians aren't aware of the potentials that modern
libraries can offer.
LIBREAS: Okay, you demand new mandatory
regulations for libraries. From 1996 on there is a Swedish library law
- why did it fail?
Britta Lejon: I wouldn't say it has failed but, you
know, it is a very soft law. There is no punishment if for example local
municipalities don't follow it. And we think that we simply have to
evaluate this to draw conclusions of the development so far. And, of
course, we would like to see a harder law in the future.
LIBREAS: What strikes me with 'Library
Lovers' is that it seems to target only one particular group. Your merchandized
product and the campaign logo is coloured pink and the style reminds
of comics. At first glance it does not differ from 'Hello Kitty'. Why
did you choose that?
Britta Lejon: Well, the comparison to "Hello Kitty",
I haven't thought about that earlier but that's true. It looks a little
bit like that. Well, we wanted to draw attention and we choose to do
that in a warm, lovely way. But this campaign also consists of hard
facts about Swedish libraries, about reading abilities and such a thing.
So, I would say it is a hard and serious message in a very warm parcel.
So we think it's a good way of both: drawing attention and lifting up
a very difficult discussion on difficult matters.
LIBREAS: But aren't you afraid
that 'Library Lovers' adresses only 'coming of age' women or are they
the upholders of social impact of libraries in society? What do you
think about that?
Britta Lejon: Well, I would say first of all the campaign
has been received very well from, I would say, everyone. Well, of course
you could say that women are the upholders of libraries in society in
many ways. But our campaign isn't a message for them because than it
would fail. We need to have campaigns that are adressing the society
as a whole, both, men and women and mainly our campaigns focus each
on the decision makers, the politicans mainly. So no, we choose the
pink colour because it's a warm colour and it draws attention to the
LIBREAS: Your campaign targets
the federal election in 2010. What are your plans to maintain the importance
Britta Lejon: Yes, we want to put libraries on the
agenda in the coming election. We want to raise the awareness among
politicans and we want the political parties to make commitments about
libraries and their potentials for the future. I would say that we have
come quite long even though we have several years left. But when we
have commitments from the political parties, then we as a library association
will of course follow it up and continue to put questions towards the
politicians and to evaluate their commitments and how they do their
jobs. So we will continue our work even after the next election, but
our focus is to raise the awareness among the politicians and to make
them ready to do something about the situation. So we want to put the
efforts in their field, on their agenda.
LIBREAS: How would you review the
success of your campaign so far? Are libraries more on the political
agenda due to your campaign in Sweden now?
Britta Lejon: As a matter of fact they are! We have
been more successful than we thought we would be so far. Already in
the last elections, we managed to put some of the library questions
on the political agenda which we frankly thought we only could be able
to do in the next election. So YES, I would say libraries are more on
the political agenda. But we haven't received commitments from the politicians
yet. So we still have to do a lot of work.
LIBREAS: Do you think your campaign
could be a shining example for european library lobbying and loving?
Britta Lejon: No, I wouldn't say so. I mean we are
certain that we are doing the right thing for the Swedish situation
right now. But that doesn't mean that this is a campaign that would
be successful in for example Germany. Different countries have different
problems and also different possibilities. But I would say so much that
I would say that it is extremely important that all of Europe has the
awareness and see that libraries have a crucial role in our modern societies
of today. So if Germans, for example, also think that libraries aren't
on the political agenda or aren't receiving as much financial resources
that are needed, I would say that you have to do your own campaign.
But we are very happy with our 'library lovers' campaign! It's going
LIBREAS: Thank you very much for
your time and good luck for 'Library Lovers'!
Britta Lejon: Thank you very much.