Model Programme for Public Libraries

Kultur styrrelsen



Model Programme for Public Libraries pre-launched at a well-attended conference

At a well-attended conference held on 31 October 2012, the Danish Agency for Culture and Realdania pre-launched the Model Programme for Public Libraries.

The Model Programme, which will be ready in its final format in the summer of 2013, was pre-launched for some 150 invited library developers: mayors, culture politicians, directors and key staff at technical departments and culture departments, library managers and their key staff.

The conference's objective was partly to offer the participants new inspiration on how public libraries can match new needs and new behaviour by thinking in terms of new interplay between space and function, and partly to activate the many participants' insight and knowledge through two intensive workshop courses.

Five presentations

The participants listened to presentations by:

  • Anne Mette Rahbæk, Director General at the Danish Agency for Culture, who spoke on why the Danish Agency for Culture and Realdania have taken the initiative to develop a Model Programme for Public Libraries. Watch Anne Mette Rahbæk's presentation on video.
  • Brian Gambels, Assistant Director for Culture in Birmingham. He is responsible for the development of the new GIGA library in Birmingham, and he spoke on why and how you build a library for the 21st century. Watch Brian Gambels' presentation on video.
  • Michel Steen-Hansen, Director of Denmark's Library Association, who spoke on the challenges that public libraries are currently facing and on news from the Think Tank for Tomorrow's Libraries. Watch Michel Steen-Hansen's presentation on video.
  • Gitte Andersen, Director at Signal Architects, who spoke on how libraries can increase flexibility and support several different types of functions within the same m2 without knocking down walls or constructing new ones. Watch Gitte Andersen's presentation on video.
  • Jette Lehmann, award-winning scenographer, who spoke on how you can use scenography as a tool and the space as a stage and mood-related transformer to create cultural experiences with the library as a host and as a setting, and thereby contribute to discussing challenges and possibilities. Watch Jette Lehmann's presentation on video.

Ten cafe table discussions

Then it was the participants' turn. Their insight, good ideas and challenges were put into play in 10 facilitated cafe table discussions with the following themes:

  1. Scenography as a framework at the library
  2. The interplay between the virtual and the physical library
  3. The user-driven library. What happens when a library hands over the reins to its users?
  4. The library's new partnerships – interaction with other institutions, including the business community
  5. The culture-producing library: Which types of activities work best in interplay with the library's spaces and the staff's competences?
  6. The library as a learning space: Which activities work best? Which target groups do the libraries have a good grip of? Where are new measures needed? What can be learned from others?
  7. The library as an experience space: How do you exceed the public's expectations? The library as an experience guide and an experience pusher.
  8. The library as a meeting place: How do we create optimum settings for the library as a meeting place?
  9. Meet the users: How does a randomly composed group of people experience the library, and to what extent does it match their needs and wishes?
  10. The challenge group: “I am facing a challenge at my library that is to do with space and interior design: Do you have any ideas as to how it can be met?”

All 10 cafe tables attracted many participants, and the discussions delivered important insight and references for projects that the Model Programme will be able to use in its future work. The discussions also made it possible to pressure test the relevance of some of the focus areas that will be key to the ongoing work related to the development of the Model Programme. Words such as flexibility and the user's library took up quite a lot of space in the discussions and the ideas development, as did partnerships and new interplay. You can watch parts of the discussions in this video from the conference.

Cafe table discussions

Finally, the participants were introduced to the Model Programme's website. They were given a number of tasters of what the Model Programme contains today. Signal Architects, who are consultants on the project, also explained how the Model Programme in its final version, which will be ready in June 2013, will offer an interactive, web-based inspiration catalogue and tools that are to communicate new knowledge, best practice and inspiration for brand new space/function interplay for library developers. This is done in a visually orientated format where brief texts are supported by photos, figures and design principle outlines.

The group behind the Model Programme for Public Libraries wishes to thank the many participants at the kick-off conference for their great involvement on the day. 

04. Nov 2016 at. 10:26

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