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Kent State’s School of Library and Information Science Expands Offerings to Denmark

Posted Jan. 27, 2014
The School of Library and Information Science at Kent State University announces a new education-abroad course exploring the fascinating world of international children’s literature and librarianship in Denmark.

From its notoriety as home of the Vikings, to its current status as home of the happiest people in the world, Denmark is famous for Hamlet, Søren Kierkegaard, Danish pastry, and leaders in architecture and design like Arne Jacobsen, Jørn Utsen, Georg Jensen, Bang & Olufsen and Bjarne Ingels. But Denmark also has a long and solid tradition of cultural production for young people — just think of Hans Christian Andersen, Tivoli Gardens and Legoland.

In this academically rigorous course on international cultural production for children, Denmark will serve as a case study for such, providing students with hands-on perspectives on international children’s literature, librarianship, museums and a view on how different cultures construct “childhood.”

The course is hybrid, combining online course delivery with face-to-face class time in Denmark. Some questions this class will address include: What does it mean to be a child in other countries compared to the United States? What sorts of issues face professionals working in cultural production for young people — from museums and libraries, to media industries such as publishing and film? How do those issues compare to ones faced by professionals in the United States? What is similar? What is different? What can we learn from another culture and how will our new knowledge translate into ideas for practice in the U.S.?

Tours and seminars in Denmark will include the Royal Library School, the International Animation Workshop, Rosinante Publishers and an independent children’s bookseller, visit to Helsingør (Hamlet’s castle) and the ministry of culture, as well as tours of a selection of Danish children’s libraries. Students also will visit Tivoli garden and several museums and possibly take a ferry to Sweden.

The course will be led by Marianne Martens, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Science. Prior to entering academe, Martens worked in international children’s publishing and librarianship for more than a dozen years. She received a master’s in library and information science from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, and a doctorate in 2012 from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

“While most of the class will be online, we will meet for seven to 10 days in Denmark,” Martens says. “Some of the activities will include visiting the Royal Library School and a range of libraries; a publishing company, where we’ll meet Danish authors and illustrators; and an animation school, where we’ll learn about transmedia storytelling. As a case study within the vast field of international children’s literature and librarianship because of its child-centric culture, Denmark presents interesting and rich points of comparison with the United States.”

Martens is originally from Denmark. She attended elementary schools and high schools in Switzerland, Scotland, Denmark and the United States.

The deadline for applications, transcripts and letters of recommendation is Feb.14.

Find more information, including a course overview and application forms.