Ambitious libraries are an investment in stronger communities

IMG_7601One year of hard work and finally: Mayor of Roskilde, Tomas Breddam, is cutting the festoons to the new main entrance of Roskilde Library (photo by INSP Media)

For about a yeah we have been working on creating a new Library Garden, a new main entrance and many new library spaces at Roskilde Library, Denmark. The basic idea has been to open the library up towards the city by making what have been the back of the library the front and establish an open and welcoming library garden in front to connect the city and the library. We have taken a lot of areas that has been back office administration for 60 years and turned them into open, bright library spaces as an investment in stronger communities (some pics of the new spaces). December 11 2019 we marked the opening by inviting all the citizens to library festivities with sings, talks, hot cacao, bubbles and opening of the new parts of the library.

IMG_761775 kids from the local school of Absalon are singing at the new stage in the Library Garden – they have even made a library song for us (photo by Tomas Skov)

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I’m happy and proud and here are what I said to the great citizens of Roskilde:   

We all stand on the shoulders of others. In the year 1900 one of the great champions of the Danish library case, Assistant Professor Andreas Schack Steenberg, told Roskilde Newspaper: “Among the efforts that are prominent in our time to spread the enlightenment to as wide a circle of people as possible, the Public Library occupies an important place, based on the recognition that nothing is more important to the healthy development of a modern democratic society, than good and useful knowledge and cultural benefits the whole community

The following year, on March 16 1901, the first public library in Roskilde opened its doors on the corner of Algade and Allehelgensgade and 60 years later, the library moved into the building here on Dronning Margrethes Vej. Over the years, the library in Roskilde City has undergone several redevelopments, the Citizens’ Service and the Archives have been added, we have local libraries located around in the local communities, our diligent book bus brings literature and culture to the places where we do not have a building and the library has developed over the years to keep pace with the surrounding community to ensure continuous relevant and value-added services for all citizens.

Today, 118 years after the first public library opened its doors in Roskilde, we again mark a positive change for Roskilde Libraries and the citizens of Roskilde Municipality with the opening of the Library Garden, the new main entrance and many new library spaces inside.

And why have we done that? Is it a need to create a nice city center with a neat garden and a stellar building? No, it is not. It is the need to create the best setting for shared public places where we can cultivate the community, where literature, music and creative and inspirering elements can enrich us and bring us together.

Ambitious libraries are an investment in stronger communities. An investment in belonging and the opportunity for us to enrich our own and each other’s lives through culture, experiences, learning and fellowships.

The library is the place where both the punk and the senior citizens reach out for the same book. It is at the library that you can meet your neighbor, your study mates, get by with your kids or maybe create a new relationship with someone you do not know.

 It is at the library that you can take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and immerse yourself in a topic of your interest. Or just sit and be in our community without anyone demanding you to take money out of your pocket to stay seated.

Library, Citizens’ Services and Archives are the places where you can meet employees who always want to help you with exactly what you need. And they are good at it.

Our library in Roskilde is an inclusive, community-building and open space. It is your space, it is your library, it is for you that we’re doing this for.

With the Library Garden and the new public areas inside, we now have even better opportunities to make room for diversity, togetherness, depth, learning, play and fun. We create more space for the community and belonging in Roskilde. Welcome inside.

IMG_7621The community is coming inside for the first time (photo by Tomas Skov)

IMG_7612Bubbles! (photo by Tomas Skov)

1420985_930_9300_29_0_1642_1135_2The Library Café (photo by Tomas Skov)

IMG_7623What used to be the back of the library is now the front; The new main entrance and the library garden (photo by Tomas Skov)

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