Scandinavian Shorscuts


  • Music for the masses : BibZoom

The Danish BibZoom is the first digital public service music application in the world. The aim of the service developed by the State and University Library is to deliver music of all genres to all library users in the country. Music library professionals in public libraries work as editors with the goal of making the Danish musically more knowledgeable and curious.

The service is free of charge for the users and so far includes more than 10 million tracks. All registered public library users will be able to access BibZoom on their computers or smart phones. Apart from all kinds of rock, pop, children’s and classical music, BibZoom also offers foreign language ebooks in e.g. Arabic, Turkish and Persian.

BibZoom is a national cooperatio led by a consortium consisting of Odense Central Library, the Herning Libraries, the Danish National Library, Aabenraa City Library and the State and University Library.


  • Multilingual cultural contents


Cooperation is the keyword, and is this case, not only between libraries but between libraries and the users. The libraries of Blågården, Ringsted, Skanderborg and the State and University Library will be working with users with different cultural and linguistic back-grounds in creating new multilingual materials and mediating the existing ones.

A bunch of volounteers will take part in the project where literature, film and music will be marketed. The participants will also help with editorial work and contents production in their own language. The material will be nationallly available online both in written form and as videos and podcasts.

  • Peace and quiet at Roskilde Rock Festival

Roskilde City Library is already a permanent fixture at the international rock festival in June. This year, the Poetry Hall gathered more than 10 000 visitors during the four-day event. It offered a space away from the hustle and bustle of the festival with loads of books weeded out from the library collections – which seem to be in-

teresting enough during the festival. Visitors were able to watch poetry and art videos. One of the most popular features was the Poetry Machine where you could choose a book and the ap-plication produced a unique poem from the text. Users could print out the poem and take it with them.


  • Explore Finnish libraries

Börje the Reading Assistance Dog, Hunt the Mole game, open data applications and a mobile library shared and operated across country borders in Lapland are some examples of the to-pics presented in Imagine and Explore – Finnish Libraries Now! The website opened in connection with the World Library and Information Congress held in Helsinki on 11-16 August.

The online material consists of articles, presentations and interviews, pictures, text and videos. It illustrates Finnish libraries from several, often surprising angles. The focus is on library users: how they are surprised, inspired and empowered in and by Finnish libraries. You too can Imagine and Explore – Finnish Libraries Now! at

  • Finna, the upcoming NDL user interface

The Finnish National Digital Library user interface has been named Finna. When ready, it is going to be more than a search portal, having its own index. Finna was demonstrated at a recent NDL conference to an enthusiastic audience of specialists from the library, archive and museum sectors. The National Digital Library is proceeding fast after switching to the open source solution VuFind. The web address for Finna will be

  • National Library a trusted service provider and partner for libraries

Libraries are generally happy with the centralized services provided by the Finnish National Library. More op-portunities to influence the development of the services were hoped for, though. The expertise of the staff and the reliability of the service scored the highest in the bi-annual user satisfaction survey to all Finnish libraries. While the opinions of the library sectors differ, public, research and special libraries all agreed on the strengths and weaknesses. Regular webinars, workshops in pdcast form, online discussions and more interactive communication were on the wish list. 664 library professionals took the survey, an increase of 69 responses from the last questionnaire in 2010.

National Library website:


  • Listening library

Like many other libraries, Lunner Public Library wants to listen to their users. The message they send on the website is honest: although the main library is nice and cosy, it is rundown and not so functional by today’s

standards. The branch library is small and the children’s library is only open two hours a week. With a population of 8600, it is fair to ask whether the users would prefer one or two libraries. They can also tell if they would be willing to collect and return their loans at a local shop. The answers and any other ideas on library services are collected online, by email, on Facebook and Twitter. Listening does not have to be complicated.

  • Logo – or no logo?

Libraries in Norway wish to have a more visible profile both locally and nationally. While the Library Association speaks in favour of a national logo for all libraries, the National Library does not believe a logo is what is needed. Both organisations agree the libraries would benefit from a shared marketing program and joint branding efforts. While the discussion continues in Norway it is nothing new in a wider context, either. The idea of a European public library logo has been brought up by Maija Berndtson, Library Direc-tor of Helsinki City Library, Finland and Mats Öström, Head of Culture in Gävle, Sweden.


  • Running a successful library

The bigger the resources, the more a library will be used and visited. Other factors affecting library use are an extensive collection, the proportion of new acquisitions, access to computers and a wide selection of periodicals, indicates a Swedish report based on statistical data from 2010. The study has used regression analysis to examine what factors lead to increased library use and visits. It clearly shows that if a municipality wants to have a well-visited and diligently used library, cutting resources is not the way. The report is a follow-up to a study published in 2007.

Biblioteksbladet 5/2012:

  • Open for all, all year

Sandviken and Gävle are the only public libraries in Europe which are open every day, all year round. The previous head of culture, Mats Öström, saw it as a way of promoting integration: not everybody celebrates Christ-mas or spends Midsummer’s eve at their summer cottage. Users with different cultural backgrounds, single men in their fifties or retired customers with time on their hands all make use of the generous opening hours. The library does not see it as an extra cost. Instead of asking what the costs are, the library director would like to turn the question around by asking what it costs not to keep the library open. It is not a burden to the staff either as nobody will have to work on New Year’s Eve more often than every five years. Seems like a win-win situation.

Biblioteksbladet 14 June 2012

  •  eBooks on the agenda in Nordic library debate

Publishers, authors, library authorities and library associations are searching for a model for how to make e-books available in public libraries. The hard-core question is: Should e-books be a free service or a pay-service? In Denmark a timelimited free download offer of e-books on the librarybased web,, has caused great alarm among the publishers, because lending rate did go up skyhigh in a few months while sale of e-books from commercial websites declined drama-tically. The authors have not formed a unanimous opinion – but of course they want to have a royalty from sale as well as from library lending. Danish publishers, Danish Agency for Culture and The Danish Library Association are now in nego-tiations for a business model. The Swedish Library Association has published a leaflet, Say hello to your new librarian, which states the association’s point of view on the issue. SLQ presents an extract from the leaflet. The editor underlines that the statements are not to be taken as the opinion of SLQ.  Download in English of the leaflet:

As the leaflet cover next page states: Then came eBooks …

What did this mean for libraries?

The same content, fantastic new format. Now reading and knowledge could be spread to many more people! Through computers, tablets and smart phones, new readers would be found, even among those who might never have made it through an entire book printed on paper.

And for major publishers?

Threats and opportunities. E-books are potential cash cows – provided that the threat of libraries’ independent choices and purchases are eliminated.

The results, when the big publishers’ requirements are up against the mission of libraries, have been disap-pointing. Today, through their monopoly distributor Elib, major publishers – not libraries – control which eBooks are available for lending, and when they will be released to the libraries. In practice, this means that anyone who wants to borrow an eBook has to wait patiently for several months until the title has dropped from the top of the bestselling charts. If the book succeeds at all in qualifying from the publishers’ point of view, that is.

Your new librarian likes money more than books and owns a large publish-ing company. Is this how we want it to be? What do our politicians think?

The standpoint of the Swedish Library Association

For the Swedish Library Association, the eBook issue means standing up for the fundamental mission of libraries. The public library service is aimed at everyone’s freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of national borders. It is enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and further developed in the European Convention for the Protec-tion of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The right of free access to information is essential to be able to use an individual’s right of freedom of opinion and expression. Libraries have therefore ultimately a democratic mandate when they make information and knowledge available to all.

An eBook is one of several formats that public libraries buy to supply to their borrowers. E-reading is still in its infancy in Sweden. Here one has access to around 5,000 titles while in the U.S., for example, perhaps the most advanced country in the e-reading world, has access to 1 million titles. E-books have the potential to spread reading to more people and new groups of readers that libraries would otherwise find hard to reach. Access to eBooks in libraries is thus not only a question of freedom for users to choose their preferred format, but also affects the libraries’ core mission: to encourage the reading process and provide citizens free access to information.

In terms of the authors’ and publishers’ interests, libraries also work as storefronts and as introducers of individual authors and their works. The lending of eBooks will help libraries to both increase the availability of new and popular books, and introduce new technology to new groups. This will be useful to the publishers in the long run.

A new compensation model

The Swedish Library Association wants a model with payments for eBooks that change over time. Higher fees during the first few weeks when a book is new, and then lower fees, the older the book is. The reason is that libraries make available all eBooks, even those that do not have a commercial market. In 2011 about 1,500 eBook titles were never loaned from public libraries, and about 100 titles accounted for half of all eBook lending. Libraries will continue to pay publishers and authors for the materials purchased. Libraries want to continue to pay their way, while giving their users access to the full potential of eBooks.

Essential principles for libraries

The Swedish Library Association’s overall mission is to ensure everyone’s right to free access to information, culture and knowledge through public libraries. (…)

• E-books should, like printed books, be made available in public libraries for libraries to fulfil their basic mission (to contribute to well-informed citizens who through free and unfettered access to knowledge, thoughts, culture and information to make independent decisions and participate in the development of democracy). (…)

Swedish Library Association


Freelance Library Specialist