The Big Ideas for Libraries in Communities was a sold out event! Thank you to everyone who attended and participated, it was a funny, informative, and enlightening experience. Congratulations to our winners!

First place (tie): Shirley Lew, Tara Robertson

Second place: Alison Campbell & Michelle Callaghan

Third place: Kevin Stranack

If you were unable to attend, you can still immerse yourself in the challenge through the full length video! To learn more about the Big Idea behind the event, we've included the event information below.


Visit our Facebook event page.

Oh, the Places We'll Know!

Big Ideas for Libraries in Communities

Poet and novelist Roberto Bolaño once said: “A library is a metaphor for human beings or what's best about human beings... A library is total generosity.” While it is true that as public institutions libraries have been historically recognized for their commitment to communities, it is also true that genuine and sustained community engagement takes dedication, imagination, and openness.

We invite you to forget all about economics and practicalities and instead of asking why, ask WHY NOT?!  Embrace your creativity and brilliance! Dream up a project – something entirely new, big or small, realistic or starry-eyed, concrete or conceptual, and pitch us your ideas about how libraries can expand their role in building community and advancing civic engagement. Tell us what you wish libraries could be and how they could contribute even more deeply to building stronger and more meaningful connections and relationships in your community.

Don’t limit your vision of what a library is:  this conversation can and should be about libraries of all types:  public; school; college; university, cooperative; as well as the ones that are emerging on the Internet.

If your idea is among the top ten, as shortlisted by our jury, you will be invited to pitch your idea to the public, in five minutes or less, at the Big Ideas for Libraries in Communities event on September 19th. Our audience will be filled with smart, passionate movers and shakers who care deeply about libraries and communities, and who will cast votes that night, for their top three ideas.  The public presentations are not just for those who have submitted ideas! Our goal is for all who attend to leave with bigger and braver ideas than those they came with.  We want everyone to have an opportunity to connect with like-minded people, informally give and receive feedback on the presented ideas, and explore possibilities for collaboration and conversation.

Please join us for the Big Ideas for Libraries in Communities presentations, 6:00 – 8:00 pm, Wednesday, September 19th in the Segal Room (1420) at SFU Vancouver. This event is part of the SFU Public Square inaugural Community Summit, Alone Together: Connecting in the City, presented in partnership with the Vancouver Foundation. Light refreshments will be provided. 

This could be fun!

If your idea is chosen, the organizers will be in touch to give you more information. Successful candidates will be notified by September 5th.

Your idea will be evaluated based on the following Selection Criteria:

  1. Is creative;
  2. Is new or fresh in its approach;
  3. Involves an innovative component; and
  4. Expands on our ideas of what a library could be.

Do I have to work in a library or be a librarian?

Absolutely not. We welcome entries from everyone. The pitch, however, has to be related directly to libraries and community.

We look forward to hearing your ideas! 

Chuck Eckman - University Librarian and Dean of Library Services, SFU Library
Karen Marotz – Head, Belzberg Library,
SFU Vancouver

Big Ideas for Libraries in Communities Selection Jury Members

Melanie Houlden – Chief Librarian, Surrey Libraries
Annette DeFaveri – Executive Director,
British Columbia Library Association
Anne Olsen – Manager, Policy & Planning,
Vancouver Public Library
Baharak Yousefi – Head, Fraser Valley Real Estate Board Academic Library, SFU Surrey
Denise Rudnicki – Director of Strategic Engagement, Vancouver Foundation