Reflection Blog #3 – The Kista Library: An Example of What a Library Should Be

Children lounging in hammocks in the Lounge zone at the Kista Library in Stockholm, Sweden. Courtesy of Model Programme for Public Libraries.

While exploring the readings from Global Communities and Global Librarianship, I came across the Kista Library, which is located in Stockholm, Sweden. This library models what I consider to be the perfect library environment: one that inspires comprehensive community engagement. The Kista Library is enormous and is comprised of several distinct zones for various avenues of learning. The library includes the following sections: the Kids’ zone which has a sound-proof room used for digital story-telling and movies (the Black box), the Reading zone where users can read e-books, printed books, and audio-books in several different languages, the Lounge zone which has three digital screens displaying artwork and exhibits and includes hammocks for patrons to lounge in, the Digital zone where digital instruction and programming are offered for beginners, the Learning zone which consists of 20 rooms and a lecture hall, a stage, 22 study rooms, and a cafe. The library moved to its new location in 2014, inside of a shopping mall, and saw a 300% increase in usage (Queroz Hernandez, 2019). What a strategic way of drawing in patrons!

A map of the Kista Library. Courtesy of Model Programme for Public Libraries.

Needless to say, I am in awe of the Kista Library and I can see why it received the “Public Library of the Year Award” in 2015 (Model Programme for Public Libraries). What impressed me the most about this library is that it is compartmentalized to accommodate a well-diversified range of users and provides many creative ways for users to interact and engage. It houses a large selection of books in other languages, including newspapers from all over the world. Additionally, the librarians speak different languages and many are trained in IT and digital services (Queroz Hernandez, 2019).

In a perfect world all public libraries would model the Kista Library, but with budget restrictions, lack of funding, and logistics, this is not possible. The structure of this library has opened up my mind to creative ways of engaging users at my library. The idea of having a stage or a lounge with hammocks sounds intriguing. Planting a library in a shopping mall is a brilliant idea and I would love to see more libraries in commercial locations. The Kista Library has clearly demonstrated that thinking outside the box can attract more users and cultivate change.  

Kista Public Library, Sweden

References

Model Programme for Public Libraries [Website]. (2017). Case: Kista Library. Retrieved from https://modelprogrammer.slks.dk/en/cases/inspirational-cases/kista-library/

Queroz Hernandez, A. (2019, January 17). Kista Public Library, Sweden – in the right place. Library Planet. Retrieved from https://libraryplanet.net/2019/01/17/kista-public-library-sweden-in-the-right-place/

We Are Library People. (2015, September 23). Kista Public Library, Sweden [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/EUI_9MayLmo

2 comments on “Reflection Blog #3 – The Kista Library: An Example of What a Library Should Be

  1. Liz Olson says:

    Hi Sharon, thank you for sharing this amazing library! If someone suggested to me that we should open a library in a shopping mall, I think my initial reaction would be to bristle. However, once I thought about it a little more and after reading through this, it actually seems like such a good idea! There would be so many more walk-ins and it would work so well to draw in community members who may not have normally made a trip to a library but who happen to pop in while doing some shopping. It’s such a good idea. I am also so envious of those hammocks and am trying to figure out how I could make something like this work at home haha! I agree with you about the compartmentalized structure. I think the concept of “zones” would work really well, allowing each patron to find an area that suits whatever need they have for the library on a given day.
    -Liz

  2. The diagram of the library is amazing. I love the names of the various spaces. I agree – a public library looking to renovate or build new should look closely at the Model programme and what our colleagues are doing in places like Kista, Aarhus, Helsinki, etc.

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