WHAT'S THE FUTURE OF THE LIBRARY? / by Martin Ibsen

Over the last ten years, Danish libraries have been under intense pressure from the fast-moving digital media that now surrounds our daily lives. The latest figures show that libraries are lending out fewer and fewer books, and also that libraries’ stocks of physical books are also decreasing. The digitalisation of libraries is now here. Therefore, there needs to be something other than books alone to attract people to the library.

Read more about the challenges facing libraries in this article from Berlingske. (In Danish)

Involvement, creativity and learning are some of the visions that have to be put into practice to reach out to users, but how?

At Redia, we collaborate with a lot of libraries in Denmark to find solutions that answer this very question.

Here are three simple and easy ways to add value for people visiting the library:

1. Use content in a new and surprising context
Books on screens: Having a visual encounter with a book, rather than simply being confronted by a row of book spines, has a powerful effect. The machine gives the visitor an overview of the library’s physical resources. The set-up provides the visitor with inspiration and information in a context that is relevant to specific interests. Maybe the visitor knows exactly what to search for, or maybe the screen will provide the visitor with reading ideas and content that they might not otherwise find for themselves.

We made this solution for Avedøre Library. Read more about it here.

2. Be a cultural filter
Mix the content: The library is also a place for music. Visitors can mix their own music with Audiofactor. Audiofactor is a mixing programme that transforms music into an interactive visual universe. It displays the individual tracks of a song as circles that can be manipulated at the touch of a screen, and provides an intuitive way to play around with the music.

Learn more about Audiofactor here.

Make a themed wall: An entire wall can have alternating themes, which are presented in all manner of conceivable ways. Monitors can display digital advertisements for books and short films within the theme. Physical books and the digital screens face each other at the front next to chalkboards, which display further information, and a set-up for small exhibitions of things. The combination of digital and physical objects invites visitors to engage with the book shelves.

3. Connect with other institutions 
Avedøre Library reaches out to the community, and works in close cooperation with nearby schools, which have created an innovation space. It is not a classroom - there are no chairs, no tables. Instead you have to write on the wall. Additionally, they provide cases with content to inspire innovation and encourage the students to experiment.

The idea is that public school teachers can move part of their teaching to the library, where a librarian’s skills can naturally come into play in relation to the students, says Lisbeth Sommer, manager at Avedøre Library.

Read about Avedøre in this article

At Redia, we also see the potential in getting the library and schools closer together. With our learning tool, Mimer, there is a close integration with content from the libraries into schools.

Visit mimer.it