The Mayorâ€™s Summit: Libraries as a Catalyst for Economic Growth and Community Development
common challenges. Global learning.
Central Library, San Antonio, Texas
Shanghai Library, People’s Republic of China
Medellín Metropolitan Area Library, Colombia National Digital Library of Korea, Seoul, Republic of South Korea
Library of Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
National Digital Library of Korea, Seoul, Republic of South Korea Skyline of San Antonio, Texas
Library of Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Central Library, San Antonio, Texas
Message from The Mayor. As Mayor of the City of San Antonio, it is my great pleasure to present this re-cap of the three-day Summit that explored the role libraries play in shaping our communities, in creating jobs, and developing the economy. As the host city, we were honored to welcome speakers from Colombia, China, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. We were intensely interested in hearing from them, because they have already experienced the transformative power of libraries. Our audience was privileged to listen and learn from these experts, who are acknowledged to represent some of the best libraries in the world. Brainpower is the new currency of success in the 21st century, and libraries are often a city’s best assets in building up the brainpower of the community. Moreover, as reservoirs of knowledge and information, libraries are an integral part of the economic development equation that distinguishes great cities from average ones. I am proud of the San Antonio Public Library system and its twenty-four branches for the wonderful work they have done to ensure that our young people get off to a great start. They help make our young people more kinderready, more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, and ultimately able to compete in our 21st century global economy. I believe the Summit was — and will continue to be — a wonderful opportunity for all of us to learn more about the important role that libraries are playing now. I also believe they must play essential roles in the future to make sure cities and communities everywhere are globally competitive. We like to invest in libraries in San Antonio, and we look forward to learning more — and sharing what we’ve learned — with you. This re-cap of the Summit is just the beginning of our global journey together.
Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas
Introduction. The Who, What, When, Where, and Why of the Mayor’s Summit. For three days in May of 2010, the Mayor’s Summit brought together speakers from progressive, innovative libraries and library systems from around the world. These speakers, who came from the United Kingdom, the Republic of South Korea, the People’s Republic of China, and Colombia, described how their libraries provide access to business, workforce development, health, the arts, and technology services. They also discussed how public libraries in their countries contribute to urban redevelopment, stimulate entrepreneurship, provide universal access to the new world of convergent media, and support the battle against poverty and drug trafficking. Economic power shifts and recent economic events have changed the needs of businesses and communities worldwide. At the same time, technology is changing the role of libraries. Thus, there are several groups in San Antonio that have a vested interest in the future of libraries. These include elected officials,
leaders, educators, artists, and, of course, librarians. The Library Summit representatives offered these groups specific insights and
public libraries can expand their role as information providers in the 21st century. People’s perceptions of libraries have
— and must continue — to shift from traditional “bookshelves” to dynamic centers that offer tools for personal development and economic improvement. They must be seen as places that create a sense of local community, as well as to provide a connection to the global community.
The Speakers and Their Success Stories. Brian Gambles – Birmingham, England, United Kingdom Assistant Director of Culture, Birmingham City Council; Head of Birmingham Libraries Service Title of Speech: Library: Powerhouse of the Knowledge Economy Synopsis: Library services, working in partnership with business agencies, are delivering a significant contribution to the local economy through the creation of new business growth, the stimulation of new products and services, and the encouragement of skills development in the local population. As the economy shifts focus from a manufacturing to a service/knowledge base, the library has realigned its business support activities, adopting an entrepreneurial mindset. About the Library: Now referred to as the “city’s living room,” it’s considered central to the city’s renewal as a flagship project of the Big City Plan. This focuses on the regeneration of the city—the most far-reaching city center development project ever undertaken in the United Kingdom. The Big City Plan will drive forward the next 20 years of development in central Birmingham.
Clara Patricia Restrepo de Toro — Medellín, Colombia Directora Ejecutiva, Fundación Empresas Públicas de Medellín Title of Speech: The Library Network as a Sustainable Social Transformation Axis Synopsis: Libraries are places of learning and knowledge. But in Medellín, Colombia, the library has become a powerful symbol for community-building. Among the 34 libraries of the Medellín Metropolitan Area Library Network are five library parks, known as “hearts of knowledge.” Located in some of Medellín’s most marginalized communities, they have become cultural centers, providing community access to information and educational resources. Two principles constitute the starting point:  Education and access to technology are the foundation for significant advances.  Technology and communication connect people in the world, and that public libraries must converge with community centers. About the Library: It was the 2009 recipient of the Gates Foundation “Access to Learning” Award. In the early 2000s, government officials, leaders, and residents came together to build a better future for their city. Their plan included technology to increase the transparency of government, develop a competitive business environment, and improve education.
Sungchul Park — Seoul, Republic of South Korea Librarian, Digital Planning Division of the National Library of Korea
Namhun Jeong — Seoul, Republic of South Korea IT Business Developer, LG Consulting and Solutions (LG CNS) Title of Speech: Introduction To, and Significance Of, the National Digital Library Synopsis: How can digital information, increasing exponentially, be collected, organized, preserved, and disseminated efficiently? To answer this question, the National Digital Library of South Korea (the “Dibrary”) was founded in 2009. The presentation provided an overview of the major services of the National Digital Library, including details on the implementation of the digital library, its main functions, and the technical details. Additionally, future plans for the Digital Library, including the support of economic development and education, were discussed.
About the Library: It took 10 years for the National Digital Library of South Korea to become a reality, and the result is spectacular. As the first digital library of its kind, it provides equal access to an extensive archive of digital content and state of the art computing facilities. The eight-story, 409,000 square foot facility is attracting international attention for reinventing the way libraries are used and information is accessed.
Yuan Zeng — Shanghai, People’s Republic of China Deputy Director, Reader’s Service Center, Shanghai Library Title of Speech: Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship: Three keywords from Shanghai Library’s Practice for Urban Development Synopsis: The Shanghai Library’s focus is on providing services for both its patrons and local businesses to stimulate economic development in Shanghai. Of great emphasis are technological resources the Library can offer to local businesses to create and encourage innovation. The Shanghai Library is also focusing on young people and their contribution to the community’s economy. The speech also included an overview of the Shanghai Library’s contributions to the 2010 World Exposition in Shanghai. About the Library: As a country with a young, growing population, China is investing in public libraries to support public education, innovation, and entrepreneurship. China develops libraries to appeal to specific audiences and support specific industries.
A “Virtual Roundtable” Discussion of the Summit. The Participants Gene Ames III, Chairman, San Antonio Public Library Foundation Susan Benton, President and CEO, Urban Libraries Council Jean Brady, Chair of the San Antonio Library Board of Trustees Reynaldo Cano, A ssistant Director, City of San Antonio International and Economic Development Department Nadine Knaus, Chair of the Planning/Steering Committee for the Library Summit, and member of the San Antonio Public Library Foundation Executive Board Kaye Lenox, President and CEO, San Antonio Public Library Foundation Professor Donald Lien, Director, East Asian Institute at UTSA Joseph Marks, Events & Marketing Director, Free Trade Alliance/San Antonio Susan Benton
John E. Newman, Jr., President of the John and Florence Newman Foundation Jeanne Russell, Mayor Julian Castro’s Office, Education Policy Advisor Ramiro Salazar, Library Director for the San Antonio Public Library
Moderator: What Were Your First Thoughts When You Heard About the Concept of the Library Summit? GENE AMES III: What a great opportunity it would be, and how it would benefit San Antonians; these are the people who are stakeholders in the library. SUSAN BENTON: I was so excited when Ramiro and Jean described the Summit to me and invited the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) to participate. As an association of leading public libraries, the Summit goals are completely in line with ULC and we recognize how critically important it is for public libraries to be appropriately valued within the community. The Summit is a living case study of how libraries can create economic value. JEAN BRADY: I remember being excited and thinking this was going to get the attention of libraries around the world. They were going to take notice and say, ‘Look what San Antonio is doing!’ It was a big idea. REYNALDO CANO: The City’s International Affairs Office is always in favor of a significant events like this that reach out and involve other countries. It’s good for San Antonio. We were delighted to represent the City and help the Library build strong ‘bridges.’ NADINE KNAUS: When Kaye called and told me about it, I immediately thought, ‘That’s extremely ambitious!’ The international approach was definitely impressive, and I was particularly interested in linking the Library to job creation and job training. KAYE LENOX: The concept of the Summit was the natural outcome of an earlier idea to take our city government and business leaders to libraries involved in successful economic development in other parts of the world. We knew this was an important issue for our city, so when scheduling that trip became too complicated, we reversed the premise, and brought representatives from the other libraries here. DONALD LIEN: I thought the Summit was an excellent idea, and I was happy to use my connections with the Shanghai Library to get the speaker from China. I thought learning about the similarities and differences between libraries in San Antonio and Shanghai could prove to be very helpful in creating new approaches to economic development in San Antonio. JOSEPH MARKS: One of my colleagues, Kathryn Dinnin, first heard about the Summit concept when she met with Kaye. Then she got me involved with the event planning. We are a community organization and we knew from the very beginning this was an idea we wanted to be part of — it perfectly matched our area of expertise. JOHN E. NEWMAN, JR.: When Kaye told me about it, I thought it was an exciting, audacious idea. There were lots of moving parts to this thing; it was very complex. But do-able, if it was well-planned and executed. I remember thinking, ‘Well, this will be something to watch!’ JEANNE RUSSELL: I thought it was a great idea. And it was a good fit with the Mayor’s education and literacy agenda. I also think it showed that the library was willing to be creative, to experiment, and to think of and present itself differently. The library needs to continue to find ways to be more front and center in our city.
Gene Ames III
RAMIRO SALAZAR: I’d like to point out that it was a good idea that came out of an evolutionary process. There were two well-defined objectives from the start. We wanted the opportunity to gain a global perspective, and we wanted to engage key people in the community about the future of the library.
Moderator: What Was the Most Powerful or Memorable Moment of the Summit for You? GENE AMES III: The breakfast with the CEOs of the city’s business community. It made all the work on the Summit worth all the time, worth all the effort. SUSAN BENTON: Mayor Castro’s recognition of the importance of the library is a testament to his leadership. He said it best in his Summit speech: “Brainpower is the new currency for success in the 21st century. And, libraries are often cities’ best assets in building up the brainpower of the community.” JEAN BRADY: It was breakfast with the city’s business leaders. We talked exclusively about the library for 1-1/2 hours. That’s never happened before. These are the people who understand the importance of the library to our city’s future. Who’s going to run the city if nobody’s smart and educated? REYNALDO CANO: In our conversations, they were most complimentary about San Antonio. They were really impressed how people in our community came together to support the library. They said they were going to go back and try to build this attitude in their own countries. NADINE KNAUS: There were two things that struck me. The first was when I was listening to the speakers, and how magical it was when all the speakers’ presentations were flowing and connected. All we had done was to simply put them in alphabetical order! The second thing I will always remember is how the group of people who volunteered to organize the Summit worked together. This was the only group I’ve ever seen where every individual actually did what he or she promised to do. Every person had a particular area of expertise, and brought that expertise to the table. KAYE LENOX: I had initially been worried about the language barrier issue with our speakers, but I knew everything was going to be okay when the speakers from Korea showed photos of their stunning high-tech library. There was a gasp from the audience. I commented afterwards that we all want to be Korea when we grow up! DONALD LIEN: When we saw the photos of the Seoul National Library, we were amazed. The space, the decorations—it is not what you expect a library to look like. JOSEPH MARKS: When the Mayor presented the “Honorary Citizens” letters to the speakers, you could tell they were really touched. They appreciated it so much. It was a very special moment, and a very nice way to end the Summit. JOHN E. NEWMAN, JR.: Definitely the business breakfast. We were face-to-face with the city’s business leaders, everyone was very engaged, and the library was winning hearts and minds. JEANNE RUSSELL: For me, it was the international atmosphere of the concept. It was transformational for our city. The topics that were discussed were profound, and the conversations were rich. I am now looking forward to the tangible results of the Summit. I want to see what we are going to do because of it. RAMIRO SALAZAR: The breakfast with the corporate leaders of the city was the most memorable part for me. It began a dialogue about how the library can help make San Antonio better. I am hoping that the business community will stay engaged with the library. And for me, personally, I hope that the Summit experience will help me to look beyond “National Best Practices” and think globally.
Moderator: Any Final Comments You Want to Make? GENE AMES III: I would like to see more cooperative long-term ventures with international libraries, so we can continue to broaden our perspectives. And I’d also like to say that people do not realize that when companies consider moving to San Antonio, one of the things they research is what kind of library system we have. An excellent library system says something important about our city. SUSAN BENTON: The issues that we are all facing now are complex and it does take a village to make progress. The speakers gave us wonderful examples of partnerships their libraries have created to address local needs. The Urban Libraries Council looks forward to showcasing San Antonio’s Summit as a model for other libraries and cities to emulate. JEAN BRADY: Here’s what I most want to see happen: I want a buy-in from the city leaders and the business community; they need to understand that the library should be “at the table” when it comes to economic development — because we are in a unique position to help. Don’t take the library for granted. Speak up for us. And get us involved. REYNALDO CANO: I think the Library Summit has begun the process of validating the role of the library in our community’s economic development. And that validation will increase as years go by. NADINE KNAUS: In the near future, I want some CEO of a large company to come to Kaye or Ramiro and ask the library to be a consultant on finding the solution to a problem. That would make my day! KAYE LENOX: The Summit has already begun opening many, many doors for us; we are doing everything we can to find ways to take advantage of these opportunities. We are in the process of following through with energy, inspiration, and creativity. There’s a lot to do — but that’s a “good problem” to have! DONALD LIEN: I want people to learn that a library is not a “traditional” thing any more. I want people to see the potential of what our libraries can do. JOSEPH MARKS: If there are other cities or libraries out there that want to hold an international summit, here’s some advice: Learn what’s involved in bringing speakers in from foreign countries. And be sure you have the audience that’s appropriate for the speakers and the topic. JOHN E. NEWMAN, JR.: I predict that one year from now, we will see our business community significantly more involved with the library. The Summit will have impact, impact, impact! No more status quo. JEANNE RUSSELL: I want to see tangible changes and more creativity on the Library’s part. I want to see progress that people can trace back to the Summit. And I also want everyone to understand that libraries are our best weapon to combat illiteracy. RAMIRO SALAZAR: To sum it up, I think the Summit was a great opportunity to engage library stakeholders, community leaders, and library staff — and educate them about what other libraries around the world are doing. I believe it will make a difference for San Antonio.
Ramiro Salazar and Kaye Lenox
Message from Kaye Lenox Why the Library Foundation is Involved/Enthusiastic About the Summit and What It Means for San Antonio’s Future. The San Antonio Public Library Foundation Board of Directors has 110 members. Often when I say that, people are astounded, but the truth is they are 110 of the most dedicated “library lovers” in the world. They often visit other libraries when they travel for business or pleasure — and return to San Antonio with ideas and information about libraries around the world. Betty Vexler, Guillermo Nicolas, Gene Ames, Dennis Martinez, and others have long championed finding a way for our community to “see” how libraries are meeting the unique challenges of our times. As we said earlier, the original idea was to take a group of city leaders to see other exemplary programs — and when that became impossible, we simply brought the “best practices” to San Antonio. We had a great time in the process and made some amazing new friends. What will the Summit mean to the future of the San Antonio Public Library? I see new partnerships with schools and educational institutions, more business and corporate support, and a higher priority with elected officials; these are all areas in which we have already made progress. I leave it to Ramiro to have the pleasure of filling in the details of this unfolding story.
Message from Ramiro Salazar A Library Director’s Perspective on the Summit. The Mayor’s Summit was an almost unprecedented opportunity to share ideas about how libraries around the world are preparing their communities to meet the future. From South America to Europe to Asia, libraries are making a difference, and the Library Summit was an opportunity to demonstrate their critical importance in a rapidly changing world. The Library Summit was a chance to give government, business, and educational leaders a new perspective on how the Library can support — and even create — initiatives to foster the community’s progress in areas such as literacy, education, health, and economic success. Public libraries offer a wealth of resources and services, from books to technology to the assistance of information specialists; they help individuals, businesses, and government agencies to reach new levels of achievement. The status of public libraries as both respected institutions and vital community centers makes them invaluable partners. For example, the San Antonio Public Library has created partnerships with the San Antonio Health and Parks Departments to improve public health by combating issues such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. The Library also continues to partner with local schools to promote resources that support education, and to promote reading during the summer and throughout the year. The Library provides support for small businesses, for individuals seeking employment, for students working to improve their academic performance, and for teachers in their quest to provide students the best resources possible. Public libraries around the globe are doing all this, and looking forward to meeting the next challenge. The Mayor’s Summit on Libraries created an international dialogue that will encourage us all to continue to learn from each other as we help our communities flourish.
Gene Ames III & Yuan Zeng
Jane Super & Brad Parman
Andi Rodriguez, Lisa Swann & Carmen Goldberg
Victoria Wilson & Jeana Krause
(L-R) Sungchul Park, Clara Patricia Restrepo de Toro, Namhun Jeong, Yuan Zeng, Brian Gambles
Ellen Clark, Becky Barrera, Glenda Alter & Emily Kaufman
Nick Hollis, Anjelika Brown & Liecie Hollis
Ann Newman & Maria Cossio-Ameduri
Nadine Knaus & Roberta Sparks
625 Shook San Antonio, TX 78212 Tel: 210–225–4728 Fax: 210–444–1950 saplf.org
600 Soledad San Antonio, TX 78205 Tel: 210–207–2500 Fax: 210–207–2603 mysapl.org
Sponsors: John and Florence Newman Foundation, Citi, ING Foundation, The Wood Agency, Ames Energy Advisors LLC, Bexar County Commissioners Court, Bjorn’s Audio Video Home Theater, Forte Consulting Services LLC, Friends of the San Antonio Public Library, Frost National Bank, Haynes and Boone, H-E-B, NOWCast, Southwest School of Art & Craft, St. Anthony Hotel, Alamo Asian American Chamber of Commerce, PlainsCapital Bank, Rio San Antonio Cruises, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Texas Library Association, and Worldwide Languages & Communication LLC.
Designed and produced by The Wood Agency