Scandinavian Shortcuts


Deadline every Wednesday- Ask a politician

Libraries once again claim their place as centres of democracy when all interested citizens in Denmark are able to approach politicians with their questions live every Wednesday on Deadline 17.00, a programme on current political issues.

The Danish Agency for Libraries and Media has made an agreement with the Danish Broadcasting Company for the viewers’ questions to be broadcast from ten public libraries around the country. Questions can also be sent by email and sms, but the libraries involved are equipped with web cameras, a pc and staff who can help the viewers in contacting the programme. The connections from the chosen libraries were tested in early 2010 and the live questioning hours started in early May.

All libraries have been provided with PR materials to help them promote the new service. The aim is to include all main public libraries and eight of the biggest research libraries in the project. nyheder/

The Climate Channel

More than half of the public libraries in Denmark showed programmes related to climate change and especially news from the Copenhagen Climate Conference on TV screens in December 2009. The Climate Channel initiative was a cooperation between the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, the Aarhus University research centre Digital Urban Living, the municipality of Aarhus and the

The Contents Channel is a database containing information produced for screening at libraries. The contents consist of pictures, text, video, streaming videos such as YouTube inserts and later on, also sound. It was founded in 2009 by the libraries in Aalborg, Fredensborg,  Gladsaxe, Guldborgsund, Holbæk, Køge, Copenhagen, Odense, Roskilde, Silkeborg, Slagelse and Aarhus. It is hoped that even more libraries will join the project when more contents will become available. A project leader and an editor have been appointed to further develop the service.

Danmarks Biblioteker 2 : 2010

Your life, your hopes, your dream library: Users shaping the local library policy

In Rudersdal the local community has been involved in drawing up a new library policy for the public library. Come to think of it, it is surprising the users are not a part of the policy process more often – it is, after all, for them the library exists. The library staff together with the local partners and the citizens worked on defining the future of the libraries in the municipality. The process was time-consuming and demanding but also rewarding and inspiring for all involved. The thoughts, ideas, wishes and needs of the users were discussed at different stages and several concrete forms of cooperation were utilised.         The children built the library of their dreams out of Danish Lego while the 7th graders took part in an essay competition. All users could comment on the plans on the library web site. Eleven user groups consisting of 54 inhabitants were formed and interviewed as focus groups. Also, eleven groups of collaborative partners got the chance to voice their opinion on the contents of the library policy. A draft policy was discussed at a municipal meeting for all residents of Rudersdal. The final policy will be discussed and approved by the municipal executive board.

Danmarks Biblioteker 3 : 2010


Connecting people: authors and readers meet at the library

Helsinki City Library celebrated its 150th birthday by, among other things, setting up an authors’ studio at one of its central branches. Every day during the National Reading Week a different author worked at the studio and the visitors could watch the authors at work and follow the progress of the literary text on a big screen and comment on it. The National Broadcasting Company broadcasted live from the library. The intimate act of writing and the openness and public presence enabling an encounter between public and author were combined in the happening, explained the publicist of the city library. The idea behind the authors’ studio was that books are about communication, they connect authors and readers which the library also does. 010/03/kirja_syntyy_lukijoiden_ed essa_1550181.html

Vallila Library goes green

The goals of sustainable development and the management of environmental questions were the starting points of the environmental project at Helsinki City Library. Vallila Library was chosen as the pilot organisation in a project where the carbon footprint of the library was estimated. The energy consumption of     the library, the effects of the acquisition of materials, the librarys waste production and also the commuting habits of the staff were measured. The information was gathered directly from the staff, by physically weighing the waste and by combining data from different databases. New measures for improving the ecological condition of the library were starting to form already at the gathering of data stage. Sometimes it was simply a question of the library having forgotten about a simple way of saving energy or of reducing the amount of waste. The Finnish Carrotmob targeted the library in April     in order to get the branch to halve its carbon footprint by the end of 2012. The consumer activist group challenged the library into committing itself to the goal if the Carrotmob could lure twice the normal number of visitors to the library on a given day. The campaign day, ‘The World Exhibition on Sharing’ was a success which means     the library is now happily working towards the goal of cutting down its carbon footprint.

Kirjastolehti 2 : 2010


Library-produced alternative to social media

The Deichmanske Library in Oslo has set up a web service called Reaktor which combines in a new way the functions more commonly offered by the commercial social media services such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube or MySpace. The Reaktor is a non-commercial, native alternative for users interested in creative writing, making films, animation and music or taking photographs and drawing comics.

The Deichmanske and the Trondheim City Library have received a state grant which enables them to develop a Norwegian service for Norwegian users. Anybody can publish their own files, comment on what the others have posted and network with other users. The peer reviews form an important part of the Reaktor. The service was kick-started by a competition judged by a jury of professionals in the fields of e.g. photography and comics. In April 2010 you could choose between 40 prose poems, around twenty short stories, dozens of animated videos, hundreds of comic strips and several dozens of music videos and sound files. All files are described using tags and most have been commented on. Bibliotekaren 2/2010

Mobile library service promoting Sami language, culture and literature

How many cultural policy arguments can you combine in any one service? The cultural bus operating in a sparsely populated minority language area in Troms promotes the Sami language, culture and literature, its most important target group being school children. The mobile library visits kindergartens but also serves the adult population in the municipality. The services represent cooperation across municipal spheres of activity within the town but also regional cooperation between different municipalities. It is a popular form of service: at most stops all users borrow two to three books. Apart from literature, the bus mediates visual arts, music and local heritage, it brings authors and artists to the villages, organises classes, lectures and events. It is also a flexible service.When an 83- year old user, each time eagerly waiting for the bus ahead of the scheduled time, had difficulty carrying her twenty-odd loans to the bus stop, the stop was simply moved closer to her home.

Bibliotekforum 9 / 2009

Get them young to keep them coming to the library

The Trondheim City Library has founded a children’s university for 8 to 12-year olds thirsting for knowledge. The uni arranges lectures on science and humanities alike. The service was first started during     the national research week with the first lecture explaining why people get fevers. The lecturer was a chief physician from the local library. Other lectures have discussed the origin of the universe and puzzled over whether stones can tell a story. The lecturers have been university researchers and professors. Children who have taken part in three lectures get a certificate from the children’s university.

Bibliotekforum 9 / 2009


Strengthening the bond between library research, education and professionals

The Swedish School of Library and Information in Borås has started a program where each student can be appointed a mentor from a library. Participation in the programme is not compulsory but it’s still been popular: 27 students registered for the mentoring programme during the first year. The mentors and adepts meet around three times a term during the last three terms of the education. The mentors are library professionals who help the students to get insight into the different forms of library activities and operations. They get their travel expenses covered by the Library School and are welcome to any seminars and conferences the School organises. The library school believes the mentoring programme will help to see the connection between theory and practice. The mentor gains new knowledge and experience, gets to know the curriculum in library education and receives information on current research projects and results. One of the most important goals of mentoring is strengthening the relationship and cooperation between library education, research and library and information professionals working in libraries.

Biblioteksbladet 3 / 2010

AudioIndex : The Talking Library

Libraries stock talking and large print books but if you are visually impaired, using the library without assistance can be tricky. The Talking Library project in Uppsala City Library and Håbon and Enköping public libraries enables people with visual impairment to make their own discoveries, at their own pace at a library. The AudioIndex service based on RFID technique includes a finger reader which is attached on the index finger. The reader is connected to a hand-held computer and headphones while the books are of course equipped with RFID tags. The compact hand-held computer can be hung around the neck.When the user points at a book with the finger reader, a speech synthesizer reads aloud the title, author and description of the book. The AudioIndex service is the result of a cooperation between the Umeå Institute of Design and Umeå City Library. The aim is to introduce the service at all Swedish public libraries. _7251.aspx

Selected by
Päivi Jokitalo

Freelance Library Specialist