Scandinavian Shortcuts



The Hillerød Library has developed a number of services to promote reading, e.g. workplace libraries, books on bikes and book circles for people with dyslexia. The motto is: if people won’t come to literature, literature must come to the people. The projects are part of the national programme Denmark reads. The 22 library professionals involved in the various activities aim at personally meeting at least one fifth of all the inhabitants.
Source: Danmarks biblioteker 3/2014


Are you interested in – and perhaps already have some experience of – managing volunteers, doing digital homework help at secondary school level or marketing and communication? This is what is expected of the university students working for Homework Online in Aalborg, a service managed by the University Library. The student workers will recruit, instruct and motivate the volunteers helping pupils with their homework in Danish, English, maths, chemistry and physics. They will also work at the call centre themselves, helping out the pupils.
Source: Lektier Online Aalborg website


ORCID is an open, non-profit and community-driven international effort to make research, researchers and their activities easier to manage and find. This will also make the work of library professionals easier when datasets, articles, et cetera will be searchable. The Danish Technical University coordinates a project where all Danish universities and university colleges will be registered in the database. The libraries can do most of the work, but a project is underway to develop tools and marketing material to ensure that researchers will take their time to log in and make sure they are registered.
Source: Perspektiv 6 /2014



The beloved Finnish author best known for her Moomin characters, Tove Jansson, has been celebrated with a brand new two euro coin, postage stamps and several new editions of some of her books. Also the Finnish Institute for Children’s Literature and Tampere City Library threw a party in her honour. In her book, The Exploits of Moominpappa, a playful despot turns 100 and throws a party where all the inhabitants are invited. The festivities include imaginative surprises, a royal raffle and a carousel. Tove’s 100-year anniversary party in Tampere was organized in the same spirit with the addition of book talks and book lending, music and crafts.
Sources: Finnish Institute for Children’s Literature website &


Helsinki City Library organised a competition where suggestions from both library staff and users were welcomed. Out of the 82 entries received ten ideas were shortlisted and 10 000 euros has been reserved for the three winning ideas to share. The first prize went to Taitopiiri, the Skills club, combining peer and lifelong learning with the contents the library has to offer. The Sharing the Stories roadshow aims at strengthening a positive local identity through the gathering and recording of stories from different neighbourhoods. The BioHackLab targets a new audience interested in the natural sciences by introducing and providing a biology hacklab, a ‘science kitchen’ for the users.
Source: Central Library website


The elderly are not a usual target group in a university of applied sciences setting. The Karelia University of Applied Sciences library is an exception. As knowledge and skills in caring for the elderly is one of the focus points in the strategy of the organisation, the library wants to be an active partner in reaching the goal. The students of social and health services have organised themed events in the library premises for senior citizens in the nearby neighbourhoods, in cooperation with local associations and other partners.

The welfare corner brings students, service providers and senior citizens together while making the services and collections of the library visible at the same time. Apart from dancing and remembrances, the public could e.g. have their blood pressure or cholesterol levels checked or learn how to use the healthcare online services. The library has put together book displays on dementia, human relations, health care services and quality of life, and of course, coffee has been served. Walking and balance tests, exercise and relaxation sessions and beauty treatments was also on offer.

Even though the welfare corner was a temporary fixture in the library, it showed how academic libraries can offer a learning environment for mature users, all the while supporting the overall strategy of the organisation.
Source: Web journal Kreodi


While shopping mall libraries are on the increase, the more traditional library buildings are also being renovated and opening hours multiplied by opening the premises for self-service. Libraries in multipurpose centres housing e.g. schools and sports facilities are becoming more common.

Two of these trends have recently been manifested in Oulu where the Kastelli library serves both as a neighbourhood and a school library. The latest selfservice library was opened during the summer.

One of the most popular libraries in Helsinki, Töölö public library, closed its doors for extensive and much-needed renovation, and will open again in April 2016. The air conditioning, lighting and number of power inlets will be improved and increased and the old outside terraces will be opened for the public again. The residents in the area will not be completely without library services, though. A temporary mini library will serve them at the nearby Korjaamo Culture Factory where also a mobile library will stop each week.

The first shopping centre library opened in Tampere in May, and in addition to the shopping opportunities the centre houses social and health services. The library premises are accessible for people with reduced mobility, and the big windows let in a lot of light. The library will focus especially on families, children and young people but will also cater for the elderly. The users have access to rooms for music and games, a piano and quiet working facilities.
Source:, HelMet Libraries website, Tampere City Library website



Almost every library in the country subscribes to the Norwegian library journal, Bibliotekforum. The theme for the last issue of 2014 will be children and youth libraries. Now this membership journal of the Library Association with a circulation of 3 500 invites the target group, school children, to design the cover of the themed issue which “is about how we can create the best possible library for you”. I can’t wait to see the end result at the end of the year!
Source: Norsk bibliotekforening website


On the last Thursday of the month, researchers in the field of biology at the University of Oslo will talk about their own research and the latest developments in their field at the Science Library of the University.

This autumn the audience will hear about how sparrows adapt to city life, how Darwin’s theory of evolution is  challenged by contemporary genomics and what regulates the fading in plants, amongst other topics, diverse and popular. The level of the talks is adjusted for teachers in science and biology but the talks are open for all.
Source: University of Oslo Library website


Sande Library is one of many developing libraries into debating arenas in Norway. The discussions will take 1 to 1.5 hours with a positive perspective on themes and titles such as Global thinking  local action (on climate change), Life perspectives, Conversations with the Mayor or Everyday philosophy.

The conversations will, of course, be moderated and conducted in a respectful atmosphere.
Source: The National Library


The Kongsberg Library has placed a book shelf at the local railway station. This in itself is not unheard of; there are bookcrossing collections at stations and airports with material you can take with you without having to worry about returning them. The Kongsberg books are clearly marked with the library’s name but the loans are not registered in any way. The idea is that other libraries along the railway would follow suit and the books could circulate from station to station.
Source: Bibliotekforum 3/2014



The ever so popular reading dogs will soon help and encourage children to read also in Sweden. The first certified Reading Education Assistance Dog, Cocos, is already hard at work in Ulricehamn and Falköping. The reasoning behind reading dogs in libraries is, of course, the same everywhere: dogs do not care how you look, they are not judgemental and they reinforce the little readers’ self-esteem and make reading fun.
Source: Framsida


Students with disabilities are entitled to borrow adapted course literature in Sweden. Any student needing reading support is well taken care of at universities. E.g. Gothenburg University Library invites their students to meet the library staff and get tips about talking books or downloading apps. The drop-ins are organised at the beginning of term so that new students will be informed in time. Plus, you get a cup of coffee while hearing about the services.
Source: Gothenburg University Library


While more and more branches are being shut down, Lidhult public library moved in with the local supermarket, ICA, and multiplied their weekly opening hours from 12 to 66 in the process. Thanks to a unique partnership between the municipality and the food store, lending figures have also increased and the library serving the 900 inhabitants of Lidhult has become a popular meeting place.

It is the inhabitants who made it clear they wanted to have a library close-by, not at the school building further away. The users have also chosen the newspapers and magazines subscribed and had their say on the interior and furnishings. With a bunch of new registered library users and an increase in sales for the store, everybody is happy. The library organises a monthly crossword and knitting café and a group meet every Saturday morning to solve the popular music crossword puzzle Melodikrysset from Swedish Radio.
Source: Biblioteksbladet 5/2014


The Swedish Almedalen Week was organized for the 46th time this year. It is a national event where anyone interested in social issues is welcome. The parliamentary parties are the main organisers while the municipality of Gotland hosts the week. The Swedish Library Association was one of the co-organisers staging panel discussions on information literacy and democracy, presenting publications, putting libraries on the agenda at the local library.

As this is the year of a general election in Sweden, the Association has also put together a guide on the parties’ views on libraries. “The library is yours. But it is the Parliament who decides whether the libraries are able to guarantee free access to information and culture also in the future. That is why the library is also a political issue.”
Source: Svensk biblioteksförening

Freelance Library Specialist