Nordic Council of Ministers

It is the ambition of the Nordic Literature and Library Committee (Nordbok) to link the worlds of literature and libraries. A number of new initiatives should guarantee the optimisation of familiar old devices, such as the literature prize and the Nordbok journal.

The Literature Prize during 40 years
One of Nordbok’s present initiatives is to draw the attention to the nominated candidates for Nordic Council’s Literature Prize by introducing them to readers in the library. On the occasion of the 40 year jubilee of the Prize this year, Nordbok arranged in the weeks prior to the prizewinner being announced, a number of readings by the nominated candidates, which took place in libraries in all the Nordic countries and the autonomous areas. It was a success – which Nordbok plans to repeat prior to the next prize giving.

Nordbok’s journal, Nordisk Litteratur, is published once a year with parallel English and Nordic text. The journal, which is distributed to over 60 countries, presents a large number of books from the Nordic countries and features a number of articles on what goes on in the world of books, ranging right from author to reader. The latest issue of Nordisk Litteratur was published in June and had as its theme the 40 year jubilee.

The Literature Prize is also the theme for Nordbok’s seminar at the book and library fair in Gothenburg on 20. September, where i.a. this year’s prizewinner, Lars Saabye Christensen, will be present in the panel.

The Literature Prize will be presented at Nordic Council’s session on 29.-31. October. Not only the Literature Prize, but also Nordic Council’s Music Prize and Environmental Prize are themes presented during the Nordic library week, Twilight, which Norbok supports financially. This year the library week takes place from 4.-10. November and it starts off with the same text being read aloud at precisely the same moment in libraries in all the Nordic countries. In just a few years, Library Week has developed into a major Nordic cultural event with more than 1,000 participating libraries in the North and the Baltic Countries and a total audience of more than 200,000 people.

The librarian as ambassador of the book
Apart from exposing the book more in the Nordic libraries, the librarian also has to show his face outside the library and become part of the literary public. This is the view o f Nordbok who at the meeting in May decided to develop a tool box on its homepage with a concept catalogue of new forms of literature promotion via the libraries. The catalogue will i.a. contain new ideas for the librarian’s direct contact with the borrower, and how the borrowers could inspire each other. The box will also offers tools such as networks, experiences from planning literary festivals, lectures and courses on mediation of literature.

If the library would to a g reater extent than today provide room for literary events and study circles and in fact become a centre for author and translator seminars, and also provide reading/ writing work cells where authors and translators may work, as well as possibly cafés and galleries, then the Nordic libraries could easily turn into pulsa – ting literary houses – in Nordbok’s opinion.

Translated by Vibeke Cranfield

Danish National Library Authority.