Scandinavian Shortcuts


Busy with children?

Flying Suitcase to the rescue When families with children are too busy to come to the library, what do librarians do? If you live in the Danish municipalities of Gentofte, Copenhagen, Hillerød, Tåstrup, Frederiksberg, Brøndby or Dragør, they send the books to your doorstep (or the doorstep of the kindergarten). The ‘Flying Suitcase’ service has so far been extended to 137 families who communicate with their librarian by mail. Many more are queuing to take advantage of this popular service. The seven librarians in the participating libraries all feel that exchanging ideas through networking has made the service better. They share a logo, Internet site and a blog where the ‘Suitcase Families’ can also write to each other.

(Bibliotekspressen 20/2007)

Tips for Reaching Teenage Users

In Denmark, as elsewhere in Scandinavia, the young tend not to be the most active library users. The four public libraries in Køge Bugt decided to do something about the situation and set up the project ‘Forever Young’ where each library had their own way of approaching the 14 to 20 year- olds in their area. All wanted to give the young more influence in the choice and planning of services aimed at teenagers. Greve library first talked to some girls from a girl group and then organized a series of Friday cafés with different themes such as jewellery workshops or poker nights. These were advertised with the help of flyers and SMS messages. Solrød libraries involved teenagers in the selection of library materials. Four secondary school pupils were invited as paid members to an acquisitions group where they assisted the staff in selecting library materials for young people. Køge libraries made use of SMS voting for choosing the themes for events in 2007. Since the Forever Young network was founded it’s become clear that the librarians have to act fast when it comes to trends and tendencies in young people’s lives. Direct communication between the library and the teenagers is a priority – and a must.

(Danmarks biblioteker 7/2007)

Self-service Branch

One way to keep the small branch libraries alive is to extend the opening hours through self-service. This is what Silkeborg Public Library has done in Gjern. The branch is open to the public Monday to Friday 10 am – 10 pm and even though there is no staff available the users can contact the help desk at the main library via a video connection at the self service desk.With the help of a chip card and RFID technique the users can borrow and return their loans using the automated library system. projekter/den-selvbetjente-biblioteksfilial/ default.html


School Class Top10

The fact that libraries publish Top10 lists of music or books on the Internet is not news.What makes it more interesting is that Kuopio Public Library has recently involved a whole school class in selecting, presenting and publishing the monthly lists on the Internet site of the city. The process is integrated in the school curriculum and includes library instruction and sessions in information retrieval. It brings the young students closer to the library, requires them to critically analyse the chosen literature and music and to put their views in writing. The library staff anticipate an increase in library visits as many of the participating pupils were positively surprised by the holdings and services of the music department at the library.

(Kirjastolehti 6/2007)

Cooperation across library sectors

The National Library Journal dedicated a whole issue to public libraries at the turn of the year. There are two national players producing centralized services financed by the Ministry of Education for the public library sector, namely Helsinki City Library (acting as the Central Library for Public Libraries in Finland) and more recently, also the National Library. The roles and division of labour between the two players in the field are discussed at length in the journal.

One of the articles takes up the recent idea of the possible development of a national library catalogue and a joint library system for university libraries, polytechnic libraries, research institutes and public libraries alike.

(Kansalliskirjasto 4/2007)

Poems for babies

The poetry boom goes on as the public libraries in the four municipalities in the metropolitan area in Finland organize over 20 events on children’s poetry for families with babies this spring. The ‘poetry parties’ will introduce the parents to reading and reciting poems, nursery rhymes and traditional poetry play with their small children. The parents will also have the opportunity to get acquainted with contemporary children’s poetry and will be provided with book tips selected by the staff.



Increase in book loans – Increase in book sales

If you set up a project where the local public library, book shop, local press and publisher cooperate it can lead to both an increased number of loans and an increase in book sales. This is what happened in Ås where the public library wanted more visibility for foreign fiction. One motivation behind stressing the importance of fiction translated from other languages was that it can give us an insight into and understanding of different cultures and lives. The librarians taking part in the project started writing about foreign books in the local press. 44 novels in all were picked. The librarians were not meant to write literary critique as such but to present fictional works they themselves had liked. When compared to libraries of approximately the same size with the same selection of titles, it was clear that the outloan of the chosen titles was twice as big in Ås. The book shops also reported of increased sales of the titles presented in the press.

(Bok og bibliotek 5/2007)

Party AT the Library

The public library becomes exiting for even the most blasé teenager if you keep the doors open at night. If you hold a party with computer games it becomes irresistible. This is what the public library in Drammen discovered last October. They held an overnight data party with pizza and soft drinks. It wasn’t all sitting still at a computer either, there was a presentation by a local computer games company who told the audience how you design games. Some of the games played during the night also required moving about, such as ‘guitar hero’ where you actually play a specially made guitar that comes with the game or ‘wii sports’ where you imitate tennis movements or ‘sing star’ where the players become performers and sing along as in karaoke. The night was a huge success and the library plans to hold similar overnight games in the future.

(Bok og bibliotek 5/2007)


Take the tube and grab a book

We have heard of public libraries in shopping centers and swimming pools – so why not also at an underground station. That is what the public library in Högdalen in Southern Stockholm is hoping to do in the near future. There are plans to build an escalator which would lead directly into the library from the entrance to the station.

(Biblioteksbladet 10/2007)

The VIP treatment

When the public library of Håbo was nominated as the Library of the Year in 2006, they decided to celebrate it with their loyal customers by inviting the regulars to a VIP evening at the library. As the first VIP evening proved to be a success, the library arranged a similar event also last year. The staff handed out invitations to users beforehand, went through the publishers’ lists for upcoming books for the autumn and bought in extra copies of some of the most discussed books. The library users who took part in the event could jump the reservations queue and got a clip card of ten free reservations for the library. The event not only worked as PR for the library and a marketing tool for new literature but also as a competence building programme for the librarians. Their attitude to the publishers’ lists became more proactive as they had to acquaint themselves with the upcoming books earlier than usual to be able to present them to the audience. The whole event also made the competence of the library staff more concrete and visible.

(Bibliotek i länet: Information från Länsbibliotek Uppsala Nr 4:2007) 5647/0704.pdf%20webb.pdf

Scandinavian Shortcuts is selected by
Päivi Jokitalo
Licensing Coordinator
National Electronic Library Services /
FinELib The National Library of Finland

Freelance Library Specialist