Libraries in Russia

5 Cases Straight from Stuttgart

In 2019, I went on a trip to Stuttgart, where I trained for librarians from the Goethe Institute. Five interesting cases that I saw in Germany at once and I hasten to share with you! (these are not new innovative cases, but only those that I personally decided to highlight).

1. Powerpoint Karaoke

In Stuttgart, it seems like a strong poetry party with their brand of Stuttgarter Poetry Slam, they conduct commercial events in nightclubs and, of course, around poetry. And they have a various poetic slams — ecological, erotic (look, Erotik Slam — that will blow your mind) and quite traditional formats. You need to buy tickets for everything from 10 euros or more. The most interesting format is Powerpoint Karaoke. I've never heard of it before, but it turns out that the format is ancient, but still in demand.

The rules are simple. The participant comes out, tells a little about himself, and then pulls a piece of paper from the hat — the theme of the presentation. The audience throws cards into the hat, and any topic can fall out, for example: "the Influence of bananas on the political process in Germany in the 17th century." Then the participant begins his "report" and includes a presentation, which, of course, has nothing to do with the topic that fell out. Take either ready-made presentations from the Internet, or create them randomly according to a special scheme (so that there is text, images, and graphics). They usually give 12 slides, and only 6 minutes. After all the participants perform, they choose the best one. The Internet is full of different versions of this format, and YouTube has videos from different Powerpoint Karaoke parties.

2. Silent Music Room

The Stuttgart public library itself is a miracle and deserves a separate post. But I will point out a few cases here. Let's start with the music. One of the rooms was equipped with electronic musical instruments. The room is located right in the library, it is separated from the shelves by glass walls, however, you can play in it and not disturb the readers.

All instruments are connected to the mixer, and sound outputs the transmitter to the headphone system. There are a dozen headphones in the room for a small group of listeners. All of them are wireless. So only those who really want to hear music can hear it.

The music room can be used for training, rehearsals, and jams. There are guitars, a drum, and a piano. You can also connect your own tools, but you must use electronic ones. Most often, the music room is visited by young people. Well, then!

3. Visitors Counter

The library at the main University of Stuttgart is quite a popular place, sometimes all the seats are occupied. Fortunately, there is a special app that shows how much the library is filled with readers at the moment — Affluences, but this app is not available in Russia. It is installed not only in some libraries in Stuttgart, but also in the so — called Lernwelt-coworking for students.

4. Library of Things

This trend is also found in other European libraries, but mentioning this is not in vain. In the Stuttgart library, you can take home devices for playing audio discs — which are immediately in the library in a huge number.

But not just the hardware. The library has a large collection of paintings by contemporary artists. The collection is supplemented by a specialist who participates in auctions or personally purchases art objects from artists. So any picture can be borrowed, as well as any book. You need to pay a deposit, which is only 2.5 euros and you can take the picture to your office, home or cafe.

5. Coffee for One Euro

In Stuttgart, me and with my colleagues visited not only large libraries, but also two small district libraries. Specifically, to roughly understand the average city level. And we were pleasantly surprised by the libraries. They are made in the same style, people go there, everything looks neat and modern. There are even special shelves for immigrants in their native languages, isn't it great?

It was noted separately that there are coffee machines that readers can use in both libraries. Coffee costs only 1 Euro, and this is not some kind of soulless vending machine, but a neat coffee machine. I think this perfectly describes the flexibility of the Germans — if vending is not profitable, then the coffee machine is a good option.

Bonus! Not about libraries, but also interesting!

6. Opera for Everyone

In the evening, the young people of Stuttgart sit in groups on the steps of the State Opera House, some with wine, and some with beer and snacks. They listen to the Opera — everything that happens on the stage is played through the speakers directly to the street under the arch of the building, on the steps of which you can hear every word from the Libretto perfectly. And despite the fact that the cheapest tickets to the Opera cost from 7-8 euros, there is a charm to listen to Opera on the steps.

7. A Silent Disco

I'm sure you heard of this format, but I'll write it anyway. In a night club in the center of Stuttgart, sometimes parties are held, at which nothing is heard except the shuffle of shoes on the floor — complete silence reigns. People at a party like this are all wearing headphones. The headphones can be switched between three channels, each with its own DJ and music. At the same time, each channel has its own color, which lights up the headphones, so it is easy to find out your own. The triumph of individualism.