Scandinavian Shortcuts


How to promote the library as a place forn mediating and communicating literature, art and music in a way that is relevant for teenage users? Danish libraries have been collaborating with Hygge Factory (Fun Factory), a non-profit organisation, to let the young users develop their own creative art projects with the help of library professionals and dedicated volunteers. During the two-year collaboration, libraries have acted as platforms for developing the imagination, creativity and innovative compentencies of the teenagers who have produced contents, performances and products for other teenagers.

In the course of the collaboration workshops were organised in several libraries. One of the results of the 6-month-project Wordquake was the book ‘It looks black - but it’s not!’ which is about the grief at the loss of a parent. The book and an installation based on it then travelled round in 13 libraries in Denmark and the Faroe Islands. At each library a school class took part in a workshop where they made book trailers and met with an author. In another sub-project the end-product was a vinyl record, ‘Flag without wind’.
Ung-til-ung formidling


Billund municipality is being developed into a dream city for children through a public-private collaboration with the world-famous LEGO Foundation. The Children’s Capital will comprise a Lego Museum in the old city hall, new kinds of apartments and new forms of collaboration with the local schools and the public library. The partners plan to create an interactive library environment inspiring children to use their fantasy in learning.

Billund Library is working on their first vision catalogue, which will provide a more concrete insight into the future plans for a multifunctional, stimulating library space, which will also act as a learning environment encouraging experimenting and creativity.
Danmarks biblioteker 1/2014


“When did people start writing books?”, ”How come only some animals are mammals?” and “Why is the word ambulance written weirdly on the front of the vehicle?” are some of the questions children have asked on the Ask Palle’s Mates reference service.

While Denmark, Finland, Sweden and several other countries offer national online reference services for adults, a service specifically designed for a younger audience is relatively new. Questions can be sent by SMS or email 24/7 with an immediate response on all weekdays. A chat option is also available. Palle and his librarian friends have received positive feedback from the users and new libraries are still joining the forces.
Danmarks biblioteker 1/2014



The Finnish eLibrary offers a selection of e-books and online talking books for all users. As the service links to open access content as well, there is something for everyone even when the local library has not purchased any licences.

The eLibrary is being piloted and the supply will ex-pand during 2014: several Finnish publishing houses will make their new ebook titles available for libraries (which hasn’t been the case so far), a selection of both talking books and books in sign language will be added as well as contents from the Finnish Broadcasting Company.

Acquisition and licensing will be made easier with the new public library consortium founded at the beginning of the year.


“Open up your ears, stop and really listen to the different sounds you actually hear in the library.” This is how the conductor of the library soundscape pilot study set about his task.

A survey sent to the libraries in the metropolitan region and a few others elsewhere in the country revealed that libraries want their sound landscape to be calm but not completely silent. In reality, many libraries are struggling with providing the kind of soundscape their users wish for: acoustic problems abound and the space is noisy and restless. Possible solutions include using sound zones or specific silent – or near-silent – times in the library.

Lately, some Finnish libraries have started providing acoustic earmuffs for sound protection for users who might prefer some silent browsing instead of any background noise of machines beeping and people discussing.)

The main research questions after the preliminary study concern the acoustic problems and their solutions as well as user expectations and creating a concept for a new kind of peaceful library space. blogs


The national Finna information search interface and its European sister service Europeana see school pupils and teachers as important user groups. Several theses have been completed on the use of Finna, one of them also providing model learning assignments for comprehensive schools on different, especially cross-curricular topics.

The National Library of Finland, bearing the main responsibility for developing and maintaining the service, took part in the national media skills week by offering learning material for the participating organisations. The site instructing in reuse and collage making of digital cultural materials is available at:

Other campaigns to market Finna and Europeana include the free cultural vacation in Europe in Facebook ( and the Europeana character competition where participants are invited to share their ideas on what e.g. Vincent van Gogh would like to say to us today.
The National Library newsletter


Satakunta University of Applied Sciences Library is one of many who have been using post-it notes in gathering feedback and ideas from the users. In Finland, the first library to use sticky notes for user engagement and ideation was probably Turku City Library and others followed suit. In Satakunta the library wanted to know what works, what is missing, what the users would like to change and what could be discarded. Satakunta University of
Applied Sciences Library blog



Lunch-time arrangements are not a new concept in libraries but the series which started out in Drammen and since then spread to Kongsberg is still worth mentioning. When Eirik Gramstad, a particle physicist gave his presentation on antimateria over 80 participants had found their way to the library to eat their packed lunches and listen to the talk. An audience from school children to pensioners and everyone in between enjoyed the lunch-break lectures which were also streamed live online and stored on the library’s YouTube channel for later use.


A speech by King Haakon on Christmas Eve 1943 is one of the 2700 radio programmes and 25 000 news broadcasts accessible through the National Library website in Norway. The plan is to add more content based on a contract between the Norwegian Broadcasting Company and the National Library. The programmes stem from the period 1933- 1945 while the news extend to the present day.


From autumn 2014, the University of Agder will offer 90 study points worth of studies in school librarianship. The online studies can be completed on a part-time basis. Leadership, administration and management of school libraries, information skills, reading development and children’s and youth literature form the contents of the study programme.
University of Agder
Association of School Librarians


Going abroad? Or looking for information on the neighbouring town and its attractions? The Norwegian Biblioteksentralen has created Travel Library, a free-of-charge app which provides an overview of novels, films, travel stories and travel guides the world over. The app makes it possible to search for a particular town or country and offers tips on books and other materials on the chosen location. It also points the user to their nearest library where the materials can be picked up and borrowed.


The Bok og Bibliotek magazine received over 30 entries for its photo competition, Library Photo of the Year 2013. The pictures were taken both by library professionals and library users. While some of the motives were more traditional depicting people reading, library staff working and children visiting the library, second place went to a photo of a couple cuddling in the library – clearly illustrating the library as a meeting place thought the judges, a photographer, a journalist from a home decoration magazine and a journalist from Bok og Bibliotek. Winnerphoto by Anne Wirsching: Blikk for bok (Eye for books).
Bok og bibliotek 1/2014



According to both Swedish and Finnish ntheses, a dialogue between library users and library professionals is still largely missing on Facebook. The library Facebook profiles mostly consist of one-way information and marketing. Karlstad library seems to be the exception to the rule, though. The Facebook profile of Karlstad City Library was ranked as number one in interacitivity in the library category by Meltwater Likeanalyzer. The library scored 94 points out of 100 and came 130th in the overall evaluation.

Other Swedish libraries are following in the footsteps of Karlstad, according to Likeanalyzer’s worldwide Like-rank list: Linköping City Library ranks 16th on the list of libraries with its 80 points while Västerås City Library came in at 34, Stockholm at 50 and Växjö at place 54, all scoring over 70 points.
Biblioteksladet 4.11.2014


Library services are being modernised in Swedish prisons as part of a more comprehensive overhaul of the criminal sanctions agency. The potential of libraries and library staff in e.g. breaking the customers’ isolation is being considered. The importance of language and words for building up self-esteem and selfconfidence and combatting prejudice are among the motivations for developing prison libraries. The aim is to guarantee access to a librarian and library services for all, based on a national standard.
Biblioteksbladet 3.4.2014


Service quality is an elusive concept and it is even more difficult to define quality in reference interviews. Changes in reference work both in the digital environment and in a library setting are being discussed in Sweden – it has also been the topic of several seminars in Finland during the past year.

The regional central library of Stockholm and the National Library of Sweden are collaborating on a two-year project where the quality of the reference interview is being discussed and a quality model developed. So far, library professionals have suggested several markers of high-quality reference interviews: e.g. credibility, reliability and responsiveness. These can be further characterized by opening up the whole search process, by being objective and choosing several sources and by showing genuine interest.
Regional Library of Stockholm website

Freelance Library Specialist