Nordic and Baltic Book History Cooperation

Before the SHARP conference in Helsinki, Gothenburg will host The World Library and Information Congress: 76th IFLA General Conference and Assemble, in 10-15 August 2010.

The massive event includes also sessions on library history. For one of these sessions, docent Ilkka Mäkinen (University of Tampere) has written a presentation of HIBOLIRE (Nordic-Baltic-Russian Research Network on the History of Books, Libraries and Reading), one of the co-organizers of Book Culture from Below -conference. HIBOLIRE has been active since 2006, but it is a dircet continuation of Nordic book history cooperation since 1990s. The network is funded by Nordforsk until the end of 2010.

HIBOLIRE has arranged and co-organized multiple seminars and conferences in Nordic and Baltic countries and supported young researchers' training and academic careers. The researchers of the network have also published a book last year, called Library Spirit in the Nordic and Baltic Countries: Historical Perspectives. The articles of the book concentrate on studying the idea of public library: how the idea of library, which would open its doors to all readers, spread in the Baltic Sea Region region and what kind of local ideologies, institutional varieties and networks were created.

In his IFLA presentation, Mäkinen does not only introduce various activities of the HIBOLIRE network, but also discusses on the possiblities and difficulties of the international scientific co-operation. The effort to bind eight distinct national research traditions and varying institutional support under one umbrella of book history has certainly been difficult, but discussions on the methodological issues, transnational research approaches and comparative aspects have offered common basis for cooperation.

Mäkinen's whole report is available here.

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