Scandinavian Shortcuts



According to the Danish library act, reserving materials is free of charge for the users. This is obviously good for equal access. But when more than 300 000 reservations were not picked up in Copenhagen alone last year, it means the staff are doing unnecessary work and materials in high demand remain on the shelf when they could be forwarded to the next user in line. Three of the largest city libraries, Copenhagen, Aarhus and Odense, are seeking to overturn the restriction and test the effect of charging a fee for unclaimed reservations.
Source: Danmarks Biblioteker website


It is a well-known fact, that librarians sometimes have a hard time letting go of books. In Denmark, the E-depot service aims to make weeding easier for the staff. The E-depot is a cooperation between the State Library in Aarhus, system vendors and public libraries around the country. The web service supports the weeding process of monographs by automatically creating an entry in the State Library database for any discarded materials which are a) the last copy of a title at the local library and b) meet the requirements for inclusion in the depot library collection.
Source: The State Library website


In accordance with the recently published strategy of Denmark’s Electronic Research Library, research, education and special libraries can apply for grants that support the development of open science and access to research-based knowledge in high schools, universities and research institutes. The title of the strategy, Transparency, access and sharing, refers to five key areas of Access to digital scientific knowledge, Open Science, social media and linked data, Knowledge dissemination, research analysis and bibliometrics, Consolidation – better utilization of systems, processes, data and resources across institutions and finally, The virtual library for high schools. The new pool of grants will help implement the focus areas.
Source: DEFF website


During the past few years, the borrowing of music CDs and DVDs has been on the decline in libraries in Denmark and elsewhere. This doesn’t mean music libraries would be extinct; on the contrary, many libraries have taken an active role in disseminating information about music, even when the users rely on Spotify, iTunes or other online services for listening. Roskilde, home of the famous international rock festival of the same name, has opened Ragnarock, a museum for pop, rock and youth culture, located in the Musicon district also housing artists’ workshops, a dance theatre and band rehearsal spaces. The new museum and the local libraries will be cooperating closely.

The exciting-looking building of Ragnarock was also the scene for a library conference on public libraries and their role in music in the autumn: How is music being disseminated in public libraries in the digital age? How do you form strategic partnerships in the local area? How does music contribute to cohesion and community spirit? On a national level, the Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces has allocated 1 million crowns (135.000 euros) to the work.
Source: Danmarks Biblioteker 3/2016



The Student Union of the University of Jyväskylä has for several years organized separate weeks for positive and negative, or rather, corrective feedback. The Smiles Week takes place in the autumn, and the idea is to gather positive feedback from the students. During the Complaints Week in the spring term, the students are invited to vent their complaints and frustration over any university institution or service.

The collected praise and complaints are then forwarded to those responsible. This year, most of the more negative feedback on library services concerned e-books (the number of different platforms and licensing terms), opening hours (longer opening hours during week-ends) and library premises (too much noise, poor ergonomics, more computers needed). The university library answers the users’ comments in their blog.
Source: Jyväskylä University Library blog


Oulu City Library and Oulu Comics Centre proudly present the first Finnish cartoon library, The Cartoonry (Sarjasto), opening in November during the local cartoon festival. Cartoonry can be found next to the music department in the main library. The new service brings together the cartoon collections of the city library and the Comics Centre and will offer workshops, exhibitions and artist visits on the new stage. The exhibitions will take up current issues, present different genres and spread information on comics and graphic novels in general.
Source: website


The National Library, in cooperation with museums and researchers in gaming, organised a thematic harvesting of digital materials on online games to complement the annual automatic harvesting of online contents. The last harvesting on gamerelated websites was carried out in 2010.

This time, the National Library contacted gamers to find the forums of online multiplayer games and worked together with the Game Museum, the Museum of Technology, the University of Turku and the Aalto University Media Lab in mapping the websites, forums, news sites, blogs and vlogs to be covered. 1.3 terabytes of web content and 3960 video files were gathered.
Source: The National Library website


Finnish and other Scandinavian public and research libraries – as well as libraries around the globe – have taken part in the Pokémon GO frenzy. Libraries have been transformed into pokestops, setting up lures and gathering large crowds. In Pirkkala, the oldest user inte-rested in gaming was an 80-year-old who wanted her own Pokémon gym badge the library had made for all gamers.
Source: Aamulehti website



Kopavogur Public Library renovated their main library in Hamraborg earlier this year. The library closed for two weeks and the staff worked day and night to create a new and bright experience for their guests in the building from 2002. As in many other Scandinavian libraries, the aim has been to make library visits enjoyable for the whole family with more seating, reading space for students and a larger children’s section.

The focus on families and the concept of the library as a culture house is a common one in Iceland. In Kopavogur, the same modern look was extended to all communications material, printed as well as social media.
Source: Kopavogur Public Library Facebook page


The We are us installation has toured Icelandic libraries, e.g. Reykjavik and Akureyri, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. The installation presents new voices in Icelandic literature: the works of nine writers from Iceland, Poland, the US, Australia, Scotland, Brazil and Canada are included. The nonprofit Ós Pressan community behind the initiative supports and promotes new authors in the country.
Source: Akureyri Public Library website


The monthly Women of the World group brings together foreign women living in Reykjanesbær. The group meets at the library to practice their language skills, to share stories and experiences – and to enjoy the good company.
Source: Bókasafn Reykjanes FB page and website



All of Norway joined forces in building the country’s local landmarks in the Minecraft computer game in July. The virtual construction project was an initiative of NRK, the Norwegian broadcasting company who invited families, associations, sports teams and groups of friends to take part in the 12-hour building spree.

Public libraries around the country were quick to the challenge and many organized Minecraft parties for builders. The process was covered on TV with drone pictures of the work-in-progress and with a live stream on YouTube, also shown in many libraries as part of the programme.

The country was divided into 19 counties and participating teams used their creativity to build what they believed represented their area.

In Bergen, the public library invited users with or without their own laptops to take part – or to come and watch and talk to the participants. In Levanger, the local coding club meeting every week at the public library, was one of the 700 teams picked by NRK, out of the 2,000 applicants, to take part in the Minecraft marathon. They chose to build the local university and the skate park.
Bergen Public Library and Levanger
Public Library Facebook pages


A new lending and pricing model for ebooks is the result of negotiations between The National Library, The Norwegian Publishers Association, representatives for author organizations and the Arts Council, on an initiative from the Ministry of Culture. The suggested new model is a combination of a licensing period and click-per-use. The license would apply for the first two years with limited number of loans and only one user per e-book.

After two years, the libraries would enter into a model where simultaneous use of the books would be possible – for a price. Even if the model is not optimal, it is a compromise between libraries, authors and publishers.
Source: Bibliotekaren 5/2016


Two storytellers per municipality are invited to take part in a training programme for storytellers in the Buskerud provincial library area. One participant is expected to have Norwegian as first language while the other should work in a language other than the native Norwegian, a language relevant in the local community. The course will kick off with a bilingual story time where the professional storytellers holding the course will be demonstrating the method. The participating library staff will undertake to conduct two bilingual storytelling events in their own libraries where they can invite kindergartens, school classes or asylum seekers but the arrangements should be open to all. The library has received funding for the programme from the National Library.
Source: Buskerud Provincial Library website


How to make cultural history interesting for children? The Gunnerus Library at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology together with museums and other partners in Norway and Greece have come up with Ark4, a project experimenting with games as a way to convey cultural history. The aim has been to explore how technology can be used in disseminating knowledge of the past to a young audience. The staff has been experimenting with different types of applications, from digital games and 3D environments to touch screens and online questionnaires. The project also uses digital content from the cultural heritage sector, mainly from Europeana and other libraries. The first English-language game in Ark4 is a quizz on children’s literature launched on the World Book Day in March.
Source: Gunnerus Library Facebook page



Rooms within rooms is a concept which is seen in many Swedish libraries. This is also true for the KTH Royal Institute for Technology Library where the premises have undergone a thorough renovation. The reform will increase the space reserved for working and studying, while at the same time creating peaceful and quiet corners in a large unified space without actual dividing walls. The renovation will double the number of study places – the library is, after all, a work place for the students. And the staff state that “quiet will be even quieter” with a feeling of privacy where it is needed.
Source: Biblioteksbladet 6/2016


The principal of Hallenskolan is using a new trick when recruiting teachers: the school has a well-looked after school library staffed by a trained librarian.

While interviewing for teaching positions, the principal noticed a great interest for cooperating with the librarian who has been helping design courses in e.g. source criticism and ethical use of the web. So using the school librarian as a lure when recruiting made sense. At the same time, a survey conducted by the National Library points out the four biggest problems in school libraries: the number of staff is too small, the school leaders’ interest in and knowledge of school libraries is not sufficient, the teaching staff do not recognise the importance of the school library and resources are scarce.

To remedy the situation, the government has allocated SEK15 million (around 1,6 million Euros) to enhance school library staffing, with SEK30 million (3,2 million Euros) annually for the coming years.
Source: The National Library press releases


Many libraries present staff picks of the week but the Gothenburg University Humanities Library has a novel – or at least unusual – take on the matter. They present the catalogue card of the week from the old card catalogue. If you still have yours, make use of the retro vibe!

This also reminds the users of how the tools of the trade have developed while the more esoteric older materials are a nice reminder of the long tail of the collections. Gothenburg University Humanities
Source: Library Facebook page


How to let children aged 3-12 see diverse representations of girls, boys, children of different ethnic, social or religious backgrounds? How to offer them stories they can identify with if they and their families belong to a minority of some sort? How can libraries prevent discrimination through their work? The project Books that break the mould, (Brytiga Böcker), is a project which explores questions of identity, power and norm.

The project uses children’s books as tools for change. The aim is to develop new and norm-critical practices for libraries with the support of literature for children and young people. Another target group are, of course, library staff working with children. The staff at the public libraries in ten municipalities from the Umeå region have taken part in workshops and learned of new resources to support their norm-critical and human rights work.

The project is a collaboration between the Sensus Study Association, the regional Bureau Against Discrimination and the participating libraries, financed by the Swedish Inheritance Fund.
Source: Brytiga Böcker website

Freelance Library Specialist