Scandinavian Shortcuts


  • Libraries’ net guide to music

This is how the future of music libraries might look like: searching the different commercial and non-commercial (including library catalogues) online music services and providing the user with both search results and links to services such as Spotify, and information on music. does just that, it is not a streaming or downloading service but a rather traditional library service helping users locate and find what they’re looking for. Users will have access to information on CD’s, sheet music and books as well as blogs written by professionals and music buffs. The libraries behind the service platform are the Aarhus, Copenhagen, Gladsaxe, Viborg and Helsingør public libraries but all Danish libraries are free to post their recommendations and reviews on the site for the benefit of library users in the whole country.


  • Toy fair at Hvidovre Library

Libraries are popular partners. This was proved once again when Hvidovre Public Library facilitated a toy fair together with toy suppliers, students of pedagogy and kindergarten teachers. A successful mixture of public and commercial services, the fair attracted a public of 200 children, 70 adults and a number of professionals working with children. The children ran, played and had fun and tested the toys on offer – and the adults, both parents and those working with children, could see which toys were popular and how the children were playing with them. The library, of course, presented its own selection of games, books and toys. The role of the library was to provide the premises and bring together the different parties.


  • Homebound library service by volunteers

Sydhavn and Østerbro Libraries have started a new development project which combines homebound library services with a ‘friendly visiting’ programme similar to that of the Red Cross. The customers of the homebound services will not only receive the books they’ve ordered but get a visit from a volunteer as well. The volunteers deliver the books with time for a chat and a cup of coffee as well.


  • Guerilla marketing with young users

Silkeborg Public Library has received a grant for developing guerilla marketing among the younger customers. The aim is to work towards redefining the role of libraries in the local community. Guerilla marketing refers to non-traditional forms of marketing such as flash mobs and different kinds of happenings, which the library plans to use in engaging young people. The idea is also to involve the teenage users as volunteers who in their turn could present, market and promote the library services and products to their peers. The library staff will not be alone in all this: branding experts and anthropologists will also be part of the project.



  • Libraries promoting health

Kurikka municipality in Ostrobothnia has awarded the local public library with the Health Action of the Year reward in December. The libraries in Kurikka and the nearby Jurva have been actively taking part in health promotion and lending out sports equipment for people to try out, a service form which has also proven to be popular in several other Finnish libraries. A working group consisting of library and other municipal staff have arranged several programmes for senior citizens from themed evenings for the elderly to a fair presenting volunteer work. The well-visited arrangements have brought new users to the


  • Silent Tuesday

To shush or not to shush? A heated debate has taken place in Finnish newspapers around the question of peace and quiet in libraries.While the staff would like to welcome students working in groups, friends playing board games or quite simply, people wishing to meet and discuss at the library, some of the users would like to ban all noise from library premises. Some libraries have dedicated areas for different noise levels but Turku City Library is trying out a different approach: Silent Tuesdays when all users are encouraged to keep their voices down and enjoy the silence.
Turku City website


  • Finnish library network in search of a joint library system

The Finnish National Library has received funding for hiring five workers to coordinate the drawing up of a project plan and requirements specification for a joint new library system for all library sectors. The specification will be completed during 2013. All types of libraries, research, public and special libraries, are represented on the board. The acquisition of the new system is meant to start in 2014.


  • Cycling for Libraries rewarded in Sweden

Finnish library activists Jukka Pennanen and Mace Ojala, organisers and masterminds behind the hugely successful Cycling for Libraries unconference, received yet another recognition for their efforts when the Swedish library system vendor Axiell awarded them with the New thinkers of the year award in November 2012. This year, the event will be arranged for the third time, running – or rather cycling – from Amsterdam to Brussels. Cyc4lib makes libraries visible, creates networks and encourages discussion among library professionals and the surrounding society.



  • New services for students by students

Customer-driven development is the key to a new project – and a new way of thinking – at Oslo University Library where library services will be developed in cooperation with students from different disciplines. First out are students in computer science with knowledge of IT design, use and interaction. The students will develop concrete services as part of their studies, the library will gain in the form of e.g. mobile apps and free expertise, and the users will of course have access to new tools, designed with their needs in mind. Further plans include engaging students in pedagogy, media and communication.


  • Meet the Mayor

What would be a more suitable place for meeting the local mayor than the public library? This has clearly been the thought behind the weekly Mayor’s Corner at Tønsberg Public Library. The mayor is available for questions or a chat for two hours every Wednesday. An idea worth copying elsewhere.
Tønsberg Folkebibliotek


  • Library comes to work

The Norwegian public libraries are targeting the work force as part of a national initiative, Reading Boost for Working Life. In Oslo, the Deichmanske Library is developing further the already successful workplace library at the Ryen metro workshop, while the issue of democracy is addressed in the island communities of Frøya and Hitra where the number of immigrant workers is relatively high. The libraries aim especially to increase the integration and engagement of immigrant workers and their families, and of workers speaking a minority language, through reading and independent study. The participating libraries around the country are offering book talks, a selection of books in different languages, author visits and literary lunches.


  • High quality phone service

A lot of the news clips chosen for this issue seem to be featuring different kinds of awards and recognition for libraries which is obviously a good way of gaining visibility for libraries and their services. This award is not focusing on the web or any revolutionary novelty service, though, but a rather traditional one: there are still those whould rather use the phone instead of online services. In Sweden there is even a competition for best customer service given over the phone. This year, the National Library of Sweden came second in its class. The organisers made 200 phone calls to all companies and organisations taking part. The questions ranged from simple requests for a particular co-worker to more specific questions where the ‘customer’ didn’t know the name of the contact person. Points were given for being connected to the right person but also for the reception and personal service received.
Kungliga Biblioteket


  • Ask the Library among top ten Swedish websites

The motivation of the jury says it all: “This is folkbildning – popular education or non-formal adult education – in essence.We pose the questions, librarians around the country provide the answers. It is a service which is equally fun and important and shows why librarians/libraries are needed”. The website of the year is chosen by Internetworld who last year nominated 100 sites for the award. Ask the Library (or rather, in direct translation, The Library Answers) was one of the ten sites shortlisted together with, among others, publishing house Nordstedt’s language and dictionary site and Rättviseförmedlingen, an equality project aiming to correct the imbalances of representation in media, culture, business and other contexts. The winner was the site of the TV4 television channel.


  • The Native Language Library serves multilingual pupils

Yet another rewarded library is the Native Language Library, a project and a section of the public library in Mölndal, which has received the European Label, a quality award for language teaching. The project is a close cooperation between the municipality, the local school, school library and the public library targeting itself not only towards the pupils but also their parents. The focus is on multi-language children whose interest in and love of reading is being strengthened through better command of their first language. The library in Mölndal provides the children with multi-language materials and is integrated into the regular teaching.

Freelance Library Specialist