Scandinavian Shortcuts


Down the runway at Kolding public library

Even if the image of libraries as homes of dusty books and dowdy librarians is long forgotten you still wouldn’t think libraries were popular hangouts for fashionistas. Kolding public library might prove this to be true, though, as their fashion show drew a crowd of 500 to the library. In this new form of cooperation with the local entrepreneurs almost a hundred models showed clothes from the boutiques in Kolding on the catwalk built for the show. Fashion is also a part of culture and as such has a place at the library, as the staff put it.

(Bibliotekspressen 15. 2009)

AgeForce : meeting place for the 50+

If the library wants to play an integral part in the local society and become a meeting place bringing people, ideas and interests together, it has to be open-minded and involve the users in the planning process. This is one of the reasons behind the success of the AgeForce concept in Roskilde. AgeForce is a social media meeting place for people at the mature age of over 50, but the goal of the web site is to bring people with similar interests together in real life. After several meetings over coffee and workshops around the idea, the target group and Roskilde public library decided to go ahead with AgeForce. The library offers introductions to using the service on the web and meeting facilities for the groups the users themselves have founded. The users of AgeForce see the library as a reliable and trustworthy partner, and appreciate its democratic and non-commercial function.

(Danmarks biblioteker 5. 2009)

Mobile library for everyone, including man’s best friend

Picking and choosing news clippings for Shortcuts is a highly subjective exercise – and I always seem to include at least one piece of news on mobile libraries. This time it’s about a new bookmobile in Randers where even pets have been taken into account in the form of a hook where you can fasten the dog’s leash while visiting the library. The eye-catching pink bus houses a collection of books, journals, DVD’s, talking books, play station and wii games and more. Apart from the scheduled stops, the mobile can be seen at different events around town.

(Bibliotekspressen 15. 2009)


K-9 Library Mascot

Library mascots can do a good job in marketing the library and enlivening any public event. This has certainly been the case with Kirjastokoira Kirjavainen (free translation: Library Dog Booky, in Latin:Woof Woof Librarium) at Imatra Public Library. Booky is known to sing and dance for and with children (he plays the guitar) and put in a visit at storytelling hours at the local libraries.

(Kirjastolehti 24. 2009)

Book and Library Channels launched on Municipal TV

A new online TV channel devoted to literature and authors was launched in Finland in October. To start with, the Book Channel, as it’s called, offers some 70 author profiles and interviews, book presentations and other programme on fiction and literature. The CEO as well as the back room personnel are professional publishers and journalists and the national Finnish Library Net Services, Libraries. fi, are part of the production team. The channel will also send programmes aimed at library professionals. Other target groups for this niche television are schools, book stores and all book lovers interested in literature. The Book and Library Channel is parallel to the Municipal Channel which produces both freely available and pay-for content for municipal decision makers.

(Kirjastolehti news

From Analog to Digital at Hämeenlinna City Library

Hämeenlinna City Library has opened an editing space for the users where they can transfer analog sound and picture materials to digital format. Users can edit and convert their LP records, sound cassettes and VHS videotapes into digital recordings on a selfservice basis. Digital photo, sound and music editing software are available as well as scanners and printers. The edited materials can then be saved on CD or DVD. Use of the equipment is free apart from a small fee for printouts. The space can be booked for one to four hours at a time. When a patron makes his or her first booking they get an up to two hour guidance in using the applications and equipment.



Bowling for your library

One of the attractions of the yearly Hammerfest festival this year was inaugurating the new wii games console at the library. Users between 5 and 105 tested their bowling abilities on a big screen. A rematch for those wanting their revenge took place on the National Game Day in November.

(Bok og Bibliotek 4. 2009)

Involving library users for better services

In the economic climate of today it is a challenge to be able to answer to the changing needs of the public with the resources at hand. The public libraries in Steinkjer and Tromsö have solved part of the problem by using volunteers in homework help.Most of the helpers are retired teachers and the activities are run by the local Red Cross – an arrangement which suits both parties and guarantees a valuable service to school children. In a multicultural society, where users have several different backgrounds and languages, providing services for all becomes even more challenging. In Tromsö the public library involves users with different backgrounds as resource persons. The members in reading groups for women from minority language groups represent up to 30 different nationalities. They have become an invaluable help in translating library instructions, acting as interpreters, organising storytelling hours in different languages as well as helping with other arrangements at the library. All this has meant that more and more children and grown-ups with minority backgrounds have found their way to the public library.

(Bok og Bibliotek 4. 2009) (Bibliotekforum 7. 2009)


Swedish library awards

The Swedish Center for Easy-to-Read has established a new yearly award for The Best Easy-to-Read Library where people with reading difficulties are taken into account. The first-ever prize was awarded to Norrköping public library where easy-to-read fiction, fact and journals are readily available and accessible. As the literacy rate is almost 100% in Scandinavia it is easy to forget that several target groups, e.g. immigrants, dyslectic people, people suffering from aphasia, the elderly, need texts written in simple and understandable language.

The journal Vi läser (We’re reading) regularly chooses the library of the month. The September library of the month was Luleå public library which organises a festival called ‘Book and Picture’ every autumn. This year the library also took part in the Face-off for the Elite Series in ice hockey by exhibiting the Swedish players’ world championship medals, organising a play station ice hockey tournament and visits from ice hockey players. All of which goes to show how wide the repertoire of today’s libraries really is.

(Biblioteksbladet 7. 2009)

The Library of the Year at children’s hospital

Rather than implying that the Swedish would be more competitive than their Scandinavian neighbours I prefer to think they are good at highlighting libraries which are doing good work. The most important acknowledgement in the library branch is probably the Library of the Year award which this year went to the children’s library at a hospital in Gothenburg. The library and its services are not confined to the actual library space for the library organises lectures around topical themes, brings in authors to the hospital and cooperates with other activities like play therapy and school services at the hospital. “Library and culture at a hospital contribute to a holistic view of man and, at the same time, they function as a remedy” commented the library director.

(DIK Forum news Arets-bibliotek-2009)

Selected by
Päivi Jokitalo

Freelance Library Specialist