Session 81 – The Library and the City

This session was a series of talks on the topic “the library and the city”.

Jens Thorhauge – Creating a model-programme for the building of future public libraries and their role in culture led design of urban spaces.

Jens’ first challenge to us as a profession “libraries develop all the time but changes are now so fundamental they require a new kind of institution”. He explained that access is everywhere so libraries need a new “raison d’etre”.

Two trends in Danish public libraries:

  1. Growth in activities that are not physical collection related
  2. 1/3 of public libraries have become self-serviced ‘open’ libraries.

This report is worth a read: A new model for public libraries in the knowledge society

Also this link:
A 2010 report Denmark – the public libraries in the knowledge society

The city in the city has three roles:

  1. A icon in the city – creating centres and identity in the city
  2. A place-maker
  3. A catalyst for change – such as revitalizing or renewing the spaces around the building.

Another challenge to us as a profession:
We need:

  • A national digital library
  • Open libraries prepared to meet a variety of needs from a broader audience
  • To build on strategic partnerships to meet true needs in a user-oriented way.

Maija Berndtson – Public Libraries and place-making

The use of the term “public” assumes openness, accessibility, participation, inclusion, and accountability.
Libraries are the “third place”. The project for public spaces website outlines principles for making great public spaces and these should be applied to our public libraries.

20130818-180824.jpg 20130818-180836.jpg 20130818-180846.jpg 20130818-180857.jpg 20130818-180908.jpg
These are examples of libraries that are great examples of public spaces: Seattle Public Library, Amsterdam Public Library, Ideastore Whitechapel, idea stores, Aarhus (in the process of being built) Helsinki city library – Library 10.
(images taken from Google image search)

Madeleine Lefebevre – The library, the city and infinite possibilities – Ryerson University Student Learning centre project.

Ryerson University is in the heart of Toronto – 38940 students, 100 programs and 440 PHD students.
The three goals of the project to build a new student centre were commitment to design excellence, density (had to occupy a small footprint, and people first – pedestrian friendly.

They wanted to create a gateway and window to Ryerson and address the need for study space. Their vision – access to digital resources (as physical collection has decreased as the university moved toward online resources), collaborative services and learning spaces, teaching space, versatile, interaction, inspiration, innovation and discovery.

Challenges: small site, 60% frontage must be reserved for retail, by-laws, connection with subway too expensive and the security of building and occupants. Spinning discs – declared a heritage site. Some benefits: They chose to use an urban umbrella – construction hoarding which is decorative in order to minimize the impact that construction was having on the area. Building relationships and the opportunity for collaboration.

Liz McGettigan – It’s time for the future – (City of Edinburgh)

Important aspects when building libraries for the future:

  • Creating content – local and national
  • Physical space – user driven
  • Social impact of the library in it’s community
  • Being Digital by desire
  • Involving the end users – she had the example of L4U – which was designed, furnished and branded by young people.
  • Important to monitor your progress against targets.

Sam Boss – intersection of design and culture – new Guangzhou Library

Three aspects 1. location, interior, exterior.

Location: The new library is in the Flower City Centre. The library helps the city to create a cultural living room. The square has outdoor art exhibitions, people use it to gather and relax, to exercise and for dining and shopping. Square is home to opera house, 2nd children’s palace and the museum. Architecturally unique cultural centre.

Exterior: architecture via symbolism – shape not meaning, complement the surrounding structures, pages of a book being turned. Exterior walls are composed of “layered books” – include reflection of Cantonese culture and rooftop gardens.

Interior: The modern library design is flexible creating spaces that can be easily changed, adopted or reorganized.
The reading experience area – open areas for quiet study, individual and group study rooms, 2 exhibition halls, 2 multifunction halls and 2 cafes.

Interior should be a reflection of local traditions, regional or period decor or art and artifacts.

IFLA World Library and Information Congress
79th IFLA General Conference and Assembly
17-23 August 2013, Singapore

2 thoughts on “Session 81 – The Library and the City

  1. nickimoen August 20, 2013 / 8:57 am

    Loving your IFLA notes. Really informative and interesting. Thanks! Nicki

  2. Cath Parr August 21, 2013 / 7:24 pm

    Thanks Nicki, as you can imagine there is a lot of information and it’s hard to pick out the key points but I am trying! Cheers Cath

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