Model Programme for Public Libraries

Kultur styrrelsen



Why Do We Need a Model Programme for Public Libraries?

Digitisation and individualisation

By virtue of a societal development that is characterised by increasing digitisation and individualisation, all public libraries now face two great challenges. One of these is the constant pressure to supply digitally. The other is to handle a far more differentiated user group with radically changed needs. The challenges are international, and the development is reflected in slogans such as ‘from collection to connection’, ‘from book container to community centre’ and ‘from transaction to relation’.

The library is local

Having said this, there is not one single recipe that describes how these objectives can be met or what the right public library is. The user composition can vary dramatically from one library to another, as can the users' behaviour and needs. Space and layout solutions may be better suited to support some activities than others at the individual library. Local socio-demographic conditions can intensify the need for efforts related to specific target groups and thus for the library to develop spatial and layout solutions that match these groups' particular behaviour and needs. Local access to other cultural experiences can be ample or limited, and thus it can both pose demands and create leeway for the role as a meeting place and a culture scene.

The Model Programme's mission

The Model Programme for Public Libraries' mission is therefore not to deliver an exhaustive design and building guide for the optimum library; instead it is to create inspiration and open up the field of possibilities for the public library's change agents: municipal culture politicians and top council officers at the municipalities' technical and cultural departments, library managers and key staff, and the advisors who are to contribute to realising new local interpretations of the public library or implement extensive changes to existing libraries. In addition to its work on new building projects, the Model Programme will provide inspiration and instructions as to how the interior design and square metres of existing libraries can be optimised, not least with a view to creating space for new functions or facilitating the interaction of several functions.

Reflections from the vision group

A modern-day Model Programme

Are you currently working on or preparing an extensive change process at your library? Then you are not alone. Right now, a number of large projects about refurbishment, rebuilding and new buildings are being initiated in various Danish municipalities. Almost two out of three municipalities asked currently have plans to implement significant changes, and more than two out of three have carried out significant changes at their public libraries over the last two years. Throughout Denmark, the libraries are being upgraded to handle new tasks.

In the Danish Agency for Culture's survey, Danish library managers are asked what their changed libraries are particularly supposed to be able to support. Here are the five functions that are considered most important, in order of priority:

The top five most important library functions:

19. Sep 2016 at. 15:41

The Model Programme is tested in local change projects

We thought that there would be clear mutual advantages to be found in a dialogue about how libraries can develop spaces and layout solutions that match new needs. And it turned out that there was great interest in participating in a tailor-made design workshop.


Read more here

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