New Models

In the New Models module it was discussed how the physical spaces of libraries and modern approaches to library service can serve the needs of communities. One of these 21st century approaches is opening the door for library spaces to be used in creative and non-traditional ways. One example mentioned was the Anythink Library’ use of fireplaces in their branchest to help create a comfortable  and relaxing atmosphere. As explained by Stephens (n.d.) this decision came from a Danish concept called “Hygge.” There isn’t a direct English translation for the word “Hyyge,” but it has to do with a feeling of coziness, comfort, and well-being. If libraries can establish an environment that evokes hygge, it can help patrons feel welcome and part of the community.

A comfortable and welcoming environment also helps libraries establish themselves as effective gathering places. The Tea Tree Gully Library (of South Australia) hosts a program called Up Late: Grown Up Storytime, where they offer wine and rum as stories are read and crafts are made. As another example, we were shown a photo of a public library in Copenhagen that has padding on bookshelves for children to climb up, read, and play on. This part of the lecture made me think of how much variation there is within public libraries as far as the level of comfort and coziness. Some libraries I know have plenty of natural sunlight and comfortable furniture, while others feel cold, rigid and lack sunlight. Public libraries should make people feel happy to be there and all visitors should feel welcome.

Anythink Library – Commerce City in Commerce City, Colorado. Retrieved from

Libraries can use their spaces reach in basic human needs in addition to informational and recreational needs. I was impressed to learn about the Capital Area District Libraries community closet, where the public has free access to personal care products. The fact that the products are donated by both staff and patrons exemplifies a participatory service where patrons are involved in carrying out a library program. One of the public library systems I work for holds a program called Food For Fines where at the end of each year patrons can donate canned and non perishable foods and have their library fines waived. The opportunities that public library staff have to serve a wide variety of needs to a wide variety of people is a big part of what draws me to the public library field. It’s exciting that public library staff can take on these social worker-like roles and when community space and creativity are combined, there is so much potential.

Food For Fines program in San Mateo County, California. Retrieved from



Stephens, M. (n.d.). The hyperlinked library: New models . Retrieved from: https:

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    1. Hey @michael. Sorry about that. The text shows now. I don’t think the theme has a quirk. My Internet connection a home has been acting up and I didn’t realize the text didn’t actually post after clicking on “update.”

  1. @bobbyleiva24 No worries. It’s all there now.

    I have been thinking about Food for Fines today as I see another news story about a library doing away with fines all together. I am on the drop fines side for sure. Trying to see how FoF programs fit into the debate about fines.

    1. Okay. Great.

      San Francisco Public Library just started going fines-free, and so far it has been good. Some patrons have expressed their concerns over eliminated late fees (because they think that people are going to hold onto books longer or not bring them back at all). We remind these patrons though, that patrons will still be billed for an item if it doesn’t come back to the library after 30 days (if the item is not renewable) . We also mention the positives of the initiative such as reducing barriers to the library. For example, previously. patrons wouldn’t be able to check out physical materials such as books if they had over $15 in late fees. We also mention how other library systems who have gone fines-free have experienced success.

      The other library I work at has not gone fines-free but they participate in Food For Fines. Through the year though (when Food for Fines is not taking place), there is local food bank barrel available for patrons to donate food.

  2. Hi Bobby,
    There are plenty of books about Hygge out right now and I really like the idea of creating Hygge in a library setting. I have not read the books on Hygge personally but many books on the subject have passed through my hands, as a public library employee and a user. Furniture that looks like they can be part of a living room set and fireplaces in public libraries make for great spaces that provide comfort and coziness.
    In response to the Food for Fines program, my library did that as well and we usually generated a lot of food. Usually, I would jut prefer a library that is fine free but I think the Food for Fines is a good incentive. Though I do think on the issue on access when one is blocked and has to wait until FoF program to eliminate fines can be problematic for both user and librarian.

    1. Hey Josephine,

      I really like the idea of hygge in a library setting too. I’m sure it doesn’t take much resources to make a significant improvement the comfort and coziness level of any library. Of course, money and space for things like fireplaces would be great… I haven’t read books about hygge books either, but I’m sure there is a bunch of useful ideas for library staff in them!

      And yes, you make a good point regarding a Food for Fines type of program. As nice as it is, having library access hindered until a certain time of year is not ideal.


  3. Hi Bobby,
    I’ve noticed that books on Hygge have been quite popular particularly with the patrons. I think it’s wonderful to know that libraries are taking note of this and are trying to incorporate that concept into the library spaces to welcome patrons. I love having cozy furniture and fireplaces especially during the cooler months. I think it’s great to get the library image associated with more warm and comfortable things.

    1. Hey Tiffany,

      It is exciting that libraries seem to be taking note of the concept of hygge. And having the public associate their local library with warmth and comfort is a great goal to have! As a patron/grad student, the hygge level and comfortability of seating is a huge factor in choosing which library I would want to spend time studying at.


      1. Hygge is such an interesting concept.As someone who has always associated the library with a kind of comforting “home-away-from-home” kind of feel to it, I know that feeling this way directly contributed to my continued use of libraries throughout my life. I feel like Hygge is a way to try and extend that to patrons and I’ve always been very supportive of libraries trying to incorporate those principles into their own buildings.

  4. A library’s space is one of the most important components in bringing people together and USING the library. Some of my favorite libraries understand this, and they are not always a “state-of-the-art” facility. As much as I give it up to the designers of the space, I also respect the staff members who feel and use their spaces to the best of their capabilities.

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