Civic Involvment, Micro-libraries & Citizens Services in Branch Libraries

On this trip we will visit two branch libraries and a Little Free Library located in a school yard.

Tuesday 15 September 10.00-14.00
Fee: DKK 250 (EUR 48) including bus and lunch
Meeting point: Dokk1 Information Desk at 10.00 
Participants min. 25 max. 40


Harlev Combi-Library
The development of Danish libraries continues on several levels simultaneously. About 10 years ago the first ”kombi-bibliotek” was born in Aarhus. A library that functions as both a public library and a school library. These combination libraries are part of a strategy and a re-thinking of the public library with the goal of maintaining service in smaller local areas, better utilizing local resources, and encouraging civic involvement. Harlev Combi-Library is an example of this strategy in action. At the same time, it shows off new library facilities in a local community, having moved into new premises a couple of years ago. Dorte Vind will tell us more about her work at a combi-library.

Project Boghus (Bookhouse)
Louise Lærke Andersen will tell us about the ”Boghus”project, which is based on the Little Free Library concept. ”Boghus” ("Bookhouse") is a project that will create small micro-libraries and communities within the neighborhoods served by our local libraries. We want people to share their books, to let their books move out into the world, and to take new and unexpected books home with them. It’s a new way to integrate literature into people’s every-day environments based on their specific lifestyles and situations. If we can’t get the busy families to the books, we can take the books to them.  

Viby Library
Last stop is Viby Bibliotek - a popular branch library located in the district Viby close to the center of Aarhus. During the last years the use of the library's premises had been rethought. The aim has been to develop and test new forms of services, facilities and activities that meet local citizens' needs and support the transition from library to community center. Hear about the change strategy "Library Services - Shoulder to Shoulder" and the effort to bring the staff new skills in cooperating with the customers and providing events and activities. Get the chance to see the new facilities and interior that supports the strategy.

We reserve the right to alterations and surprises

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Comment by Next Library on October 8, 2015 at 13:40

Participants said:

  • What was the best and most interesting experience during the site visit?
  • (11) The Book house concept
    • The book house was a very interesting experience. Very useful in many places.
    • interesting to see it in a small setting
  • (3) Music corner at Viby library (coffee making) good way to make conversation.
  • (2) Viby
  • (2) They way you work on the floor and not only at your tables.
    • Floor staff – no desk
  • Book house in the school yard – concept and how many you have in Aarhus school and community library was interesting. It appears to work well. Nice layout – good job!
  • The information given about the book house project
  • Too see what is done differently and how the problems are dealt with
  • Community coffee inviting to talk and interact with the citizens about a topic (music and other topics)
  • I learned much about the Aarhus Libraries system. It is amazing that you can take and return book in any library.
  • All good. Hospitality was excellent + tour guide was excellent and very informative.
  • 1. Learning about the floating collection (Harlev) 2. Combi-library (Harlev) 3. Sound and Coffee (Viby)
  • Speaking directly to people working on a specific project (Bookhouse, musicbar)
  • Seeing the Herlev library and learning how librarians have had to explore different operating models due to resource constraints.
  • Viby Library, The book house, music and coffee, NemBS
  • Good way to meeting the elderly people
  • The exposure
  • The breastfeeding room
  • Children and youth, Viby
  • The user involvement, open libraries, book house, activities at the library, focus on the user rather than the staff
  • Service desk + floor walker, book houses.
  • Ideas for furniture and design
  • The children’s corner of the branch library
  • Seeing the books in the shopping centre
  • Visit to the Viby library and discussion the changes in the service model and introduction of floor walkers.
  • The music corner and the coffee talk at the Viby library was also a good inspiration.
  • It is interesting to observe the uses of this branch (Viby). It reminds me that the social cohesion is an important part of our library service and library services need to be designed with it in mind. 
  • Got a lot of information about the “free-little-libraries”
  • What interests me the most was the new way of welcoming people in the library: the libraries should come to the users instead of waiting at the desk.
  • Inspiration to useful tools, great hospitality
Comment by Next Library on October 8, 2015 at 13:39

Did you find inspiration for innovation of your library or community work?

  • (11) Yes, definitely
  • The main concern is about the people and not the books, which I find interesting.
  • Yes. The book house at my train station.
  • Music corner with coffee and music playing
  • Community coffee
  • Yes. There were a lot of similar topics and problems to the ones we have. It’s always interesting to see how others approach them.
  • Loved the Book house.
  • Yes floating collections and sound coffee bar.
  • YES! Big changes could start from little things.
  • Yes. To think about how public libraries and school libraries can work closer together for even combines to serve children and youths.
  • Nice use of colours at Viby.
  • Yes, the “signs” on the walls at Viby library
  • Yes, like the cooperation with the radio (like DR and the libraries)
  • Yes. Music coffee was great inspiration. And the children’s corner with the place for the babies.
  • Networking in the literature library/people library concept
  • Thankful for the opportunity for me to show colleagues that the things I suggest is working in practice. 
  • The book houses seems like a very good idea
  • Yes, the services like reading to the elderly and the children.
  • Yes. In summary, the main inspiration was the way that the branches go until people/non-users instead of waiting them come.
  • Yes, library service model, promotion for book houses
  • Microwave in the parent’s room at Viby, Book houses is a very good and interesting way to read and communicate with people.
  • The organization I work for is an NGO supporting rural libraries in undeveloped areas in china. It also works with big city libraries in that it serves as a bridge to get international experience. Social cohesion should be an important aspect in our work – things like Book house is kind of a conversation among a community.
  • The concept about the book house in the school.
  • In my academic library we should be more likely to help researchers and to help them to find information. We have still a traditional desk and we are waiting for the questions from the users
Comment by Next Library on October 8, 2015 at 13:38

Take-away advises – for the sites you visited or for the organizations of Site visit

  • (2) We could have stayed a bit shorter at Viby
  • More awareness of members and statistics
  • It would have been a good idea to tell in the last place when we are going to leave when coming.
  • I would like a map to see the location
  • Work with the combi-library. Let the school library and public library work closer together
  • The staffs (in the library and for the tour) were very helpful, friendly and flexible. Thank you!
  • Thank you and good luck to all of you!
  • Thanks!
  • Maybe less talking or more focused with time to explore. Q+A. A few key points rather than a long talk.
  • Harlev: involving also give girls in the gaming zone, Viby: users could be able to drink coffee by them self
  • None, it was great.
  • Thank you for hosting and answering our many questions.
  • The book houses, floor staff.
  • Don’t make the introductions outside when it’s raining or there is so much traffic.
  • Outside you could use a microphone & speaker
  • More space for just sitting, relaxing, meeting people. Some books were placed very low thinking of elderly people.
  • Always use sound systems!
  • Good idea to have printed versions of the presentations. “Viby in short”
  • More value for money. Too expensive, especially without coffee/tea
  • Just stay the same.
  • Just congrats the team that have been working in the libraries around Aarhus. Very good example of community centres.
  • More discussions by asking open questions to the audience
  • It would be interesting to hear a users perspective on the Viby services or the Book house though I don’t know how J
  • Work with your presentation: be sure that you know how to engage your audience (Louise was good, though). Emphasize activities and results.
  • Just great – continue like that!
  • More about mission and vision, principles, perspectives and background.

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Posted by Next Library on September 14, 2021 at 10:51 0 Comments

Our good friends and partners at EIFL have great news! The new EIFL Public Library Innovation Award call – for public libraries supporting education recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic – is now open for applications.

Read more about the award here.

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