Learning, culture, community and diversity: New library strategy for Roskilde Libraries 2020 –

0_Cover_Library strategy for Roskilde Libraries 2020

This is a translation of the Library Strategy for Roskilde Libraries 2020 – . The strategy  was approved in the City Council on June 17 2020 and the original library strategy can be found here (pdf):

The strategy has been af year underway with a great amount of involvement of citizens, staff, collaborators and politicians and I’m proud and happy about the process and the result. “The prize of greatness is responsibility” as Winston Churchill ones said and libraries are great institutions with a huge responsibility striving at making their communities stronger and better. I truely belive our new library strategy can do just that and I’m looking forward to transforming it into action.



Towards making a stronger community

Roskilde Municipality is a vibrant municipality that will ensure that all citizens have the best opportunities to master their own lives and be part of meaningful communities. Having the opportunity to participate as an active citizen, regardless of life situation and background, is a cornerstone of a coherent and democratic society, and in fulfilling this, libraries play a crucial role.

Based on the UN’s Global Sustainability Goals and broad cooperation with relevant actors, the new library strategy will put direction and action into the vision that Roskilde Libraries will be the creative and inspirational focal point for all citizens meeting with learning, culture, community and diversity 

This will be fulfilled by investing in the following 5 strategic key areas:·

  •      Literature and the joy of reading ·
  •      Lifelong learning
  • ·    Music for everyone·
  •      Digital litearcy and digital well-being·
  •      Democratic participation and dialogue

The public library is for all citizens and Roskilde Libraries will in the coming years have a special focus on efforts aimed at families, socially disadvantaged and young people.

The library strategy is born with a broad involvement of citizens, politicians, employees and relevant partners. In realizing the strategy focus will be on being a library for the entire municipality, and ensuring active participation in the development of urban spaces and communities – including places where there is no physical library.

1_vision and Strategic key areas

From sustainable development goals to local community goals

When Roskilde Libraries work to strengthen cultural and social communities, support reading and lifelong learning and to create a platform for it democratic conversation it is based on The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We want to contribute to sustainable development byactively bringing sub-goals to the following five sustainable development goals:

Goal 3: Good health and well-being
Goal 4: Quality education
Goal 10: Reduced inequality
Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Goal 17: Partnerships to archive the goal

The use of the goals must be seen as a forward-looking, action-oriented focus that sets the course and develops continuously when transforming the strategy into actions. The work with the focus area literature and the pleasure of reading should, for example, help to ensure pre-school-high-quality education, ensuring equal access to information, knowledge and learning for the most vulnerable, including children in vulnerable situations, and enhancing young people’s literacy, and thus actively linking to goal 4 and 10 and the associated sub-goals.

Efforts to strengthen democratic participation should contribute to promoting the recognition of cultural diversity and, in particular, strengthen young people’s knowledge of sustainable development, human rights and gender equality. At the same time, focus is on strengthening the social and political involvement of everyone, regardless of age, gender, origin, religion or economic status and thus be linked to world goals 4, 10 and 11 and related sub-goals.

In the proces of building our library strategy upon the Sustainable Development Goals we did a ‘cheese game’ to help us match goals, library key actions and different kind of user groups

Literature and the joy of reading

Reading – both fiction and non-fiction – is expanding our horizon, provides insight, challenges our world-view and brings us together. It makes us wiser on our own life and on each other because reading strengthens the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s place, and reading sharpens our ability to concentrate. Though we read less and less, and especially the younger generation joy of reading are decreasing. Recent national studies shows that only 20% of Danish children state that they like to read.

Literature and reading are the gateway to both culture, communities and knowledge, and it is essential to reach out to future generations of readers and citizens and stimulate and inspire the joy of reading as early as possible. Literature should be a life companion for every citizen – from toddlers, up through the education system and into adult and senior life.

ROSKILDE LIBRARIES WILL, via daily activities and a number of larger strategic stakes foster a joy of reading among various user groups and support social communities on the platform of literature and reading.

2_Literature and the joy of reading

Lifelong learning

The opportunity to learn throughout life is a basic condition for the modern human being and the development of a healthy democratic society. Learning should not only be reserved for those in education or in jobs, but should be an opportunity you can grab all your life no matter how your life situation looks like.

Learning is many things, but what makes the library for a unique institution in this context is the safeguarding of every citizens’ access to knowledge and learning linked to skills, dissemination and credibility. What further differs the library from e.g. Google, Amazon or a bookstore is the principle of free and equal access to culture, information and knowledge as well as the competencies linked to that. The library helps you both find information about given topic that may interest you but also learn you to master information retrieval and source criticism so you can access that information to a greater extent and the knowledge you want. This is a key element of being abel to learn all your life.

ROSKILDE LIBRARIES WILL via dissemination of relevant literature and resources and community programs activate relevant topics, coupled with an intensified effort to provide citizens with the tools and skills to navigate the information landscape, support lifelong learning in Roskilde Municipality.

3_Lifelong learning

Music for everyone

Like literature, music has a positive effect on people’s lives. Music provides enthusiasm and community and supports creativity and learning. All citizens must have the opportunity to meet music in their everyday lives and on different levels. With digitalization, most music can be accessed from a smartphone, but the easy approach to single tracks and the streaming services algorithms mean that we are often presented with what we already listen to – or something similar to it. Music needs to move us, music needs to be disseminated and music needs to bring us together, and it takes effort that Spotify can’t accommodate.

ROSKILDE LIBRARIES WILL ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to meet the music in their everyday lives and connect it to experiences and communities with a special focus on the music that does not hit the charts: the local music, the music we have forgotten and music from genres that don’t hit the mainstream.

4_music for everyone

Digital literacy and digital well-being

Digitalization and the Internet have changed our behavior and the framework for our way of living, socializing and communicating. It has created new opportunities, but also new pitfalls. Digital literacy is not about how skilled you are at using different search engines or digital platforms. It is about being able to be social, ethical and critical in the virtual world. To master ones digital life is a prerequisite for committing to society, and to do that, both information, skills and a well-developed critical sense is needed.

The fact that most children and adults have access to a huge variety of digital communities and communication platforms apart from the traditional ones is changing our way of being together. It gives us new opportunities, but also digital distrust, online bullying and challenges healthy dialogue and traditional community’s such as families and friendships.

ROSKILDE LIBRARIES WILL, starting from the different needs of citizens, target initiatives which strengthens digital literacy, awareness and digital well-being in Roskilde Municipality. Particular focus will be on families and children and young people’s digital lives as well as citizens experiencing challenges in navigating the digital landscape.

5_Digital literacy and digital well-being

Democratic participation and dialogue

A positive and healthy community development largely depends on the involvement of the citizens being active in the public debate. Fake news, increased polarization and a more harsh tone – espcially on social media – threatens the free and open debate making it hard to find places to exchange different viewpoints. To a lesser degree we are presented for different attitudes outside the echo chambers of our everyday life and we are likely to often meet attitudes and viewpoints similar to our own fostering polarization and gaps between different positions. In some contexts we forget that it is ok to disagree and that different attitudes in fact is what drives and develops individuals, communities and a democratic society.

The report “Is democracy in crisis?” (2020), published by the Danish Youth Joint Council Democracy Commission points at some significant challenges and trends in the democratic development in Denmark: the tone of social media discourages many people – especially young ones – from participating in debates online, and the confidence in the community’s traditional democratic mechanisms are weakened.

There are signs and trends in society that are challenging democracy, and where the library as credible access provider for information, knowledge and culture as well as an arena for democratic debate and exchange of views constitutes a very important place. The goal should be to strengthen the democratic muscles among citizens, so that they can participate actively in democracy.

 ROSKILDE LIBRARIES WILL create a reliable place for the democrat conversation about local as well as global topics and set the stage in an open and inclusive space where we can be challenged on each other’s views, attitudes, strengthen the democratic dialogue and give way to disagreement, discussion and reflection.

6_Democratic participation and dialogue



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