Implementing the Four-Space Model

November 17, 2019 § Leave a Comment


After reading and exploring the Model Programme for Public Libraries, I found myself thinking of the various libraries that I visit regularly and how they fit within the model. The truth: My local libraries don’t fir the model but they are slowly making progress by offering services and some spaces. However, some libraries near me, like Lancaster Library, still maintain heavy wooden furniture that is difficult to move and lacks comfortable, flexible spaces. The website for the Model Programme is managed by the Agency for Culture and Palaces in Denmark and the libraries that are featured display bright, flexible, and aesthetically pleasing community spaces. It is designed to invite people in the library and stay for a bit. With the intention of using the Model Programme, I want to transform the library space into a flexible community hub that inspires its visitors.

Goals/Objectives for Technology/Service 

The Model Programme suggests that the library should follow the four space model. The four different spaces are as follows: the Inspiration space, the Learning space, the Meeting space, and the Performative space (Jochumsen, n.d.). Because in most cases, society has become a largely a postliterate society, which means that our libraries need to transform from just providing reading and study spaces. In order to be relevant and stay that way, the library needs to develops physical and virtual spaces that encourage its users to develop 21st century skills as well as soft skills, such as networking and interpersonal connections. The following list is what each of the spaces has to offer:

  • The Inspiration Space: Meaning experiences involving literature, art, films, music, entertainment and games.
  • The Learning Space: Formal and information learning, discovery and access to technology, and presentations.
  • The Meeting Space: Participation, formal and informal work, and flexible spaces.
  • The Performative Space: Specialized activity spaces, workshops and imagination stations.

The goal for the development, management, and utility of all four spaces is to offer the community a flexible community space that allows individual growth and interpersonal connections. 

Action Brief Statement

For Library Administrators:

I plan to convince library administrators  that by adopting and implementing the four-space model, they will offer their users a flexible community and activity space which will encourage more users and non-user to visit the library because it will show the community them that the library is much more than a collection books.

For library users:

I will convince library users that by creating a four-space model within their library, they will have a new community spaces which will encourage individual growth, interpersonal connections, and the pursuit of happiness, because their library has become much more than just a collection of books.

Evidence and Resource to support Technology or Service:

To start:

Model Programme for Public Libraries.


Jochumsen, H. (n.d.). The four-space model. Retrieved from


Jochumsen, H. (2018). How to qualify the debate on the public library by the use of research-developed tools. Bibliothek Forschung und Praxis, 42(2), 344-350. Retrieved from

Laerkes, J. G. (2016, March 29). The four spaces of the public library [web log post]. Retrieved from

Stevens, M. (2016). Dream. Explore. Experiment. Library Journal. Retrieved from

Other sources of libraries that implement the model programme, thus the four space model:

Architizer. (2019). Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre. Retrieved from

Birmingham City Council. (n.d.) About the Library of Birmingham. Retrieved from

Boekenberg spijkenisse. (n.d.). Home page. Retrieved from

Dudley, D. (2019, November 1). How Helsinki built ‘book heaven’. Citylab. Retrieved from

Ingefjord, A. (2009). Garaget – All this and books too (G. Church, trans.) Scandinavian Library Quarterly, 42(1), Retrieved from

Sandlian-Smith, P. (2016). The future of public libraries – anything is possible. Public Library Quarterly, 35(4), 311-317. Retrieved from

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service

Administrators and key developers should create a mission statement that is the driving force of the implementation of the four space model. Because this model is more of a framework rather than a particular service, creating guidelines and a policy would not make sense and may in fact be counterproductive or not helpful. Stevens (2016) supports this concept of not confining to boundaries and believes that “arbitrary rules and procedures” make it more difficult If administrators keep to a certain mission and vision and get all the staff to also co difficult “for the community to use the building and its resources” (Stephens, 2016, para. 7). Less rules mean more freedom and access to our users. When the administration and staff is well trained and supports the mission, then the spaces itself will reflect that of the four space model.

Funding Consideration for this Technology or Service

Funding will depend on the individual library and the needs of the community. For Major overhauls of small, out of date libraries, they will need a lot of money and support. For bigger out-of-date libraries, buying furniture and redesigning the space to become more inviting and more flexible will be cheaper in comparison. In both cases, grants can be written and submitted to improve particular spaces, such as a better meeting space or designing a new inspiration space. In a county or city library, funds may be approved through a joint effort through its citizens and government, such as the case for Pam Sandlian Smith, when the citizens in Adams County in Colorado voted to increase funding for their libraries (TEDx Talks 2013). For the library who will work in the environment, staff will need to be trained and encouraged in the model programme, the four space model, and in understanding the mission of the library. There should not be an increase in staff time, just an adjustment to responsibilities and mind frame. 

Actions Steps and Timeline?

The appropriate people who fund the library and its services need to approve of the new funding to revitalize and transform the library spaces. In this case, I will use Rosamond Public Library in Kern county, California, which has the space but not the funding. Rosamond Public Library already has meetings spaces, learning spaces, and inspiration spaces, whether that that is provided through programming or physical areas of the library but it is lacking in a performative space and a meeting space for children. I would propose to improve meeting spaces for the children section and create a permanent do-it-yourself workshop for their performative space. The expected timeline is as follows:

  • Rosamond branch manager and Library Director team together to create a plan to be written for the board of Supervisors: 4 weeks to 8 weeks
  • Approval through the board of Supervisors in Kern County: 6 to 8 weeks
  • Staff meetings and emails to begin training on the new spaces and what it means to for the library: 4 to 8 weeks.
  • Any cosmetic remodeling such as flooring and glass dividers: 2 weeks 4 weeks
  • Purchasing the materials for the new spaces such as toys, materials, and tools for the new spaces: 1 to 2 weeks. (Purchase them while the remodel is happening)
  • Purchase the new flexible furniture for the spaces: 1 to 2 weeks. (Purchase them while the remodel is happening)
  • Open the new spaces as soon as the space are completed and safe to enter
  • Evaluation is and should be ongoing.

Staffing Considerations for the technology or service:

I would highly recommend training staff on the new spaces and a chosen person to be responsible for implementing new workshops. This would be a part of programming and should not add to the responsibility of any permanent or part time staff if they already do programming. These spaces are meant to be flexible and offer informal experiences to our patrons, so they will be in charge of using the space as they see fit. 

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service:

Getting the community excited about certain spaces to the library would be a great way to increase public support. The library does this by acting transparent and let the community know what is being created and how it will improve the library and the community. This idea is reflected in Brian Kenney’s (2015) news article, in which he writes about how Seattle failed to rebrand the library through lack of transparency. Kenney (2015) states, “when patrons learn about a new library initiative, they’re not interested in how our work is changing, or how libraries are transforming. They are looking to see their needs, hopes, and dreams reflected back to them (Kenney, 2015, para. 8). We can do this through social media, local mass media, and signs within and outside the library. Other community spaces should also provide a space to promote the support of the development of new spaces within the library. This will generate excitement, whether it is a proposed makerspace, workshops, or work spaces. 


Evaluation will be ongoing. Observation, number of attending participants, and on site evaluative surveys completed by patrons will be used for feedback. Expansion will be ongoing as long as the library and the staff see fit, so that the library develop within the framework and the library’s mission. Because the four space model in itself is flexible, it allows the library to develop and grow with new technologies and community needs. It further solidifies the idea that the library is no longer static but is a thriving community center. 


Jochumsen, H. (n.d.). The four-space model. Retrieved from

Kenney, B. (2015, November 13). Lessons from Seattle’s failed bid to rebrand its public library. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from

Stevens, M. (2016, May 24). Dream. Explore. Experiment. Library Journal. Retrieved from

TEDx Talks. (2013, December 16). What to expect from libraries in the 21st century: Pam Sandlian Smith at TEDxMileHigh [Video file]. Retrieved from

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