Artefacto Adventures in India

Earlier this year we were delighted to begin a new collaboration with the British Council in India, which saw us commissioned to produce a special Library Wall to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death (one of 2016’s notable anniversary dates – alongside the Great Fire of London; Battle of the Somme; and the birthdays of Charlotte Bronte and Beatrix Potter, for instance).

From death cometh life: thus Library Wall Shakespeare was born, with twenty-four ebook titles of plays, including Cymbeline, Antony and Cleopatra, and Twelfth Night (as well as the usual other favourite fare) and one ebook of Sonnets. It’s now had outings at the Jaipur Literature Festival and British Council Libraries in Delhi, with most downloaded play accolade currently going to … The Comedy of Errors!

Excitingly, this wasn’t to be the last of our adventures in India, as next up was a speaker invitation to IPLC 2016 – the 2nd India Public Libraries Conference, held on the theme of “Inspiring and Repositioning Public Libraries – Technology, Content and Services”.

Presenting in the “Digital Content for Public Libraries: Immediate Initiatives and The Strategies” session, our talk – “Digital Bookshelves For All: A Case Study of Library Wall” – explored the practicalities of content distribution and changing technology, as well as future trends.

SWG presenting on Library Wall. Image © IPLC 2016

As the conference was held over three days this meant we were lucky enough to be able to have time to chat to tonnes of people – and with the conference drawing librarians from all over India (and in all library shapes and forms), this made for a veritable smorgasbord of fantastic discussions and information-sharing, alongside the pleasure of making new friends – while also bumping into old ones (Romanian librarians shoutout!).

Excellently, to help us make the most of our India escapade, we were also invited by the British Council to give talks in Mumbai and Chennai, alongside our IPLC presentation and talk at the BC Library and offices in Delhi.

Speaking to school librarians, academic librarians, public librarians, and librarians dealing with practical technological issues in rural areas, as well as many interested others from the worlds of publishing and education (amongst others), this trip was a real eye-opener and an inestimably valuable experience.

Our highlight, however, of the whole trip was visiting the Connemara public library in Chennai and discovering some of the original chairs that our librarian hero S.R. Ranganathan designed – and getting to sit in one!

It is with pleasure that we look forward to future Artefacto adventures in India.