Model Programme for Public Libraries

Kultur styrrelsen



Case: Kista Library


Kista Library, located in the Rinkeby-Kista district in the area of Stockholm, won the award Public Library of the Year 2015. The library opened on the 23rd of August 2014. Previously the library was situated outside the main public area, but now the library has a central location in Kista Galleria shopping mall. The architects Wester+Elsner have created a large open plan space with few walls and barriers to ensure flexibility. Instead the library is divided into different zones for reading, learning and discovering. The zones include the Learning zone, the Reading zone, the Digital zone, the Kids’ zone and the Lounge zone with the main stage, which are illustrated below:

Kista Library has an open plan space with few barriers. Instead the library is divided into different zones with different functions. Floor plan: Wester+Elsner Architects.

Interplay with local culture

Kista, the area of Stockholm in which the library is situated, is a commercial center and is described as an ICT cluster. The area is characterized by entrepreneurship and IT development and a great number of people have their place of work here. The library’s central location makes it an obvious meeting place connecting the commercial area and the local community. The district in which Kista is situated has a population of about 48,300 of whom approximately 22 % are under the age of 15 and around 79 % have a foreign background. Thus the area has a great ethnical diversity with a large variety of spoken languages. To meet different needs, professions and ethnicities the staff of the library speaks a great number of different languages and has different educational backgrounds; librarians, assistants, producers, digital educators and IT experts.

Digital solutions

Situated in a high-tech area in Stockholm Kista Library provides high-end library services and wishes to combine the analogue and digital world. The first zone the visitors enter is the Lounge zone. Here visitors can settle down and read digital periodicals in English, Swedish and Spanish. The visitors are also greeted by digital screens showing the employees’ personal tips regarding books and media and showing activities in the library. The Lounge area is equipped with hammocks that enable the visitors to relax and observe the comings and goings in the shopping mall. 

The hammocks in the Lounge zone make room for relaxation and give an overview of the activities in the mall. Photo: Mattias P. Dahlqvist

Next to the lounge area the Digital zone is situated which houses computers and digital education. In collaboration with the organization CoderDojo the library offers digital instruction and programming for beginners.

Another digital feature is a maximum sized screen showing the library’s program. The social media channels used by the library are also displayed on the screen and the library facilitates user interaction by allowing the visitors to comment on these channels. The visitors simply add the hashtag “#Kistabibblan” and the comment appears directly on the screen.

The Digital zone is located in a yellow painted “pergola”. The library wishes to give visitors of all ages the opportunity to try new technologies and acquire digital literacy. Photo: Wester+Elsner Architects

Inspiration, absorption and meeting spaces

Kista Library enables several functions and rooms under one roof and this way the library meets the different needs and wishes of the users. The Stage, which has room for 40 people, makes room for inspiration and performances through conversations with authors, lectures, plays, concerts and discussions on current social and cultural affairs. Whereas the Reading zone invites to absorption, reading and learning. Here the visitors can read an e-book, browse a printed book or listen to an audio-book. The extent of media the library offers will gradually be doubled over time and the library’s aim is to offer a range of media, 60% of which will be in Swedish and 40% in other languages, to reflect the different language skills of the visitors of the library.

Furthest from the entrance the Learning zone is located. This zone consists of 20 rooms – three of them are drop-in rooms and the rest are available for booking. The rooms are individually designed thus meeting the changing needs from students and business representatives.  At the far end of the Learning zone is a large lecture hall with room for 50 people. 

Learning and colourful play

The Kids' zone sets the stage for exploration and creation. The zone is especially intended for younger children and the area is decorated with playful colours. There is room for both reading aloud with the parents and playing games and the library’s programme also offers the opportunity to work with and model in play dough, plastic or cartons. In this zone the Black box, a sound-proof room, is located as well and is used for digital story-telling and movie display.

18. Sep 2017 at. 13:37

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