Scandinavian Shortcuts


Newsflash: current news with background information at your local library

Library users often head for their local library when looking for background information on world events. If it is current news you are after it might not be your first destination. In Herning, however, a new public library branch offers news from BBC and CNBC as well as Danish channels on several big screens, and computers for logging into news sites and news podcasts. The library focuses not only on current world news, but news from different fields such as IT or literature. At Herning Public Library you have access to both the breaking news and the facts behind the latest headlines. The library staff provides background information on current topics and news themes as part of their everyday jobs. The library also cooperates with a local newspaper, Herning Folkeblad, housed in the same building, to offer the locals new ways of debating issues around democracy e.g. using different digital media.

Danmarks biblioteker 6/2009

Be where your users are (on Facebook, that is)

Follow your users – and let them follow you, is the idea behind Odense Central Library’s Facebook account. When the sixth formers in Odense were asked how many hours they spent daily on the Internet and what particular services or applications they used, it became clear that Facebook is the place to be for the e-librarian. The librarian on FB should be personal, but not private, should log in often, be active and answer the users’ questions as soon as possible – or direct them to the Danish ask-a-librarian service. The users may not be exactly who the library first thought of as their target group (i.e. many of the friends of the e-librarian do not seem to be teenagers, including myself) but that is often the case when entering into social media. All in all, the librarian already has hundreds of friends who get to read all her notifications and news first hand.
Danmarks biblioteker 8/2009

Children as services developers

Who better to ask than the target group themselves when developing library services. The Innovation Workshop with Children as Developers project resulted, amongst other things, in a GPS based computer game taking place in the streets of Odense and a mangacafé at the main library. (The game, PlayOut, can be borrowed from the main library.) The project was a cooperation between the public library of Odense, the Lillebælt University and a number of other public sphere partners. There were two distinct goals: to develop active citizenship at children’s level and to act as a guide between children and the relevant public institutions and organisations. One of the roles of librarians in the project was to act as ‘connectors’ helping children tap into their own competencies and knowledge and inspiring them. As one of the school children put it on the project blog: “The grown-ups who’ve been helping us have been really good at inspiring us in developing the game. I’ve learned masses.” The experiences gathered during the project were shared at a master class aimed in January 2010 at children’s librarians, teachers and other professionals working with children..
Danmarks biblioteker 7/2009


Intelligent bookshelves and automated book reviews

When the little town of Luvia (3,300 inhabitants) opened its new public library last year, it could also boast the first intelligent bookshelf in use in Finland. The intelligence comes from RFID technique and means that you can place any item from the library collection on the shelf and the screen next to it will show websites related to the book. The shelving was developed in cooperation with a local company and regional development programme, with experts from Satakunta University of Applied Sciences and Tampere Technical University, and with a grant from the Ministry of Education. The shelf was not the only innovation introduced at the library, though. When returning items the users can rate them on a scale from one to five. The ratings can be used, anonymously, by other library users while choosing books.

Kirjastolehti 6/2009

Sports library

In addition to being a regular library, Pedersöre Public Library has become something of a sports library during the past couple of years. Of all the municipal services the public library is most often the one with the best opening hours which makes it easy to introduce new items for loan. In Pedersöre you can borrow Nordic walking poles (different heights), hand weights, step counters, snowshoes as well as flexi-bars and spike mats, the latest addition to the collection of sports equipment. All the equipment can be borrowed on your library card for four weeks which means you can try out new stuff before committing yourself. The new form of service does not cost the library anything as the sports council takes care of the costs. It is certainly worthwhile having a library card as all card holders also got a free swimming pool visit to the neighbouring town of Jakobstad at the beginning of 2010.

Bibban 3/2009, publisher&id=4919&lang=1&sektion=3


Year of Reading in Norway

The year 2010 has been declared a National Year of Reading in Norway. In Oslo the Deichmanske Library is collaborating with the local newspaper in a project called 365 Readers. The inhabitants of the capital are invited to write of books and other literary texts that have meant a lot to them. A number of these accounts will be published daily in the newspaper.

Website of the Norwegian Library Association,

Food for body and mind

A few years ago the local grocery shop in Bjelland was struggling, facing a potential closedown.When the village also lost the mobile library services, it was clear that something had to be done to maintain at least some local services for the 2,200 villagers.With the subsidy Marnardal municipality got for trade and culture, a ‘book-in-shop’ service was set up in a spare room at the shop. This became a mini branch with some 2,600 volumes, a PC and reading space. The shopkeeper takes care of registering the loans in the library system and a librarian is in place every Wednesday. The shop is doing better since the library moved in, and book issues have gone up.

(Bok og Bibliotek 5/2009)


Don’t judge the book by the cover

In Umeå the University and the provincial library carried out a project where pupils from the 3rd and 5th grades were first asked about their reading habits and favourite books. The children were then shown ten different book covers of newly released books. The pupils got to discuss and describe the contents of the books – based on the covers – and voted for the most popular one. During their next visit the project leaders read the first page of the books for the school children, without the pupils knowing the book titles. Also this time, the most popular book was selected through voting. The two winning books were then presented in different ways in the classroom: The children drew their own book covers, the teacher read from the books, the books were discussed etc. The children enjoyed voting for the best books and appreciated the fact that their opinion was taken into account and respected. Because they got to choose the books that were then read and discussed in more detail, they were more actively engaged in the whole project.

Biblioteksbladet 10/2009

Looking for the latest information in library and information studies

To find the latest Master’s theses in the field of library and information studies has never been easier. The Swedish Library Association maintains a search service where the theses from the five institutions offering studies in the field in Sweden can be searched not only by author, title, institution and year but also by the type of library the theses discuss, e.g. prison, public, school or mobile libraries. In addition, several topics or angles such as user habits, information literacy, IT, marketing or library premises can be used to limit the search. Practically all theses are available online.

Biblioteksbladet 10/2009

Culture in the workplace

Books for all workplaces is the national initiative which received a state grant of around 100,000 Euros in Sweden. The big trade unions are striving to kickstart workplace libraries in the whole country with a focus on small and mobile workplaces. The project started three years ago and has already resulted in a network of ‘road libraries’ for truck drivers. bidrag-till-kultur-pa-arbetsplatsen/

Selected by Päivi Jokitalo
Päivi Jokitalo

Freelance Library Specialist