Another Cycling for Libraries trip under my belt and this one was tough! The libraries were awesome but the weather was terrible. This year the Amsterdam to Brussels route was shorter than last year but it was more difficult thanks to the rain and wind. The 2013 ride was made up of 120 librarians from 20+ countries. I saw many of the friends I made last year from the Baltics trip and made a ton of new friends. I had another amazing experience. Hope you will follow along with the diary, photos, and videos from the trip. The library visits actually started as soon as I landed in Amsterdam. Schiphol Airport has a library in the International terminal. It features travel books on the Netherlands and books by Dutch authors. It is actually the only place where you can download Dutch music for free. Great way for publishers to introduce Dutch works to a captive audience. The library has computers and a lot of comfortable seating since many travelers use this as a lounge and hang out for hours. I love how the art walls make it look like home.
Day 1 - Amsterdam The first day we met at the Open Bare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (OBA). What an incredible way to start off the trip. This is the largest public library in the Netherlands. It has 7 floors of open, creative, inviting space. The building contains a cafeteria, and a restaurant. There are 500 computers and 1000 seats for study.
The next stop was the Institute of Tropics Library - KIT. This gorgeous old library contains a collection of Holland's cultural heritage with the oldest book from 1652. The staff has digitized much of the collection and they also work with African countries to create open repositories. Unfortunately, as were hear too often, funding was cut completely and the library would soon close. At the end of the trip we learned the great news that funding had been restored and the library would remain intact. I can only hope that Cycling for Libraries will continue their advocacy for libraries and the importance of information in the everyday lives of citizens.
To end the day we had kick-off party sponsored by the University of Amsterdam. It was a wonderful way to send us off on this journey of discovery.
Day 1 Video