Travel the world of libraries with Library Planet

It all started with a chat with my wonderful and awesome library buddy, Marie, on how traveling and visiting libraries are such a cool combination. We agreed that the world needed af Lonely Planet for libraries and I threw it out in a tweet

Turned out Marie and I was not the only one that thought that was a good idea.

And so Library Planet was born:

Library Planet is like a crowdsourced Lonely Planet for libraries of the world meant to inspire library travelers to open the awesome book that is our world of libraries, cities and countries.

We want to give you a guide to the world of libraries and we want to give you an opportunity to share your experiences with libraries.

Everybody can contribute to Library Planet. See how here:

Libraries are cornerstones in greater and smarter communities. Libraries are about people connecting and growing. Libraries are wonderful and traveling and visiting libraries are one of the best ways to expand your world.

When we got enough of Library Planet stories we want to publish it as a book. Damn right we are!

Library Planet hugs




Let’s dance! Thoughts and cases on academic and public library collaboration

Written in collaboration with awesome public library ninja Marie Engberg Eirikkson from Gladsaxe Public Libraries and with contribuation from great library peeps from around the globe. This blog post in on collaboration between public and academic libraries and is meant to grow with new cases and idea, so if you know of a good case or have a good idea sent it to cula [at] roskilde [dot] dk

Ones there was a small tribe in Siberia. The tribe lived, hunted, ate, slept and died together. And they didn’t want anyone to interfere so they isolated them self from the surrounding world and for many years they actual didn’t see or interacted with other human beings outside the tribe (they lived in a really rural and cold place). After living like this for some generations they become extinct; they simply degenerated physical and mentally.

Point of this story? Collaborate or die…


In Denmark we have a lot of awesome academic libraries and a lot of awesome public libraries and as libraries they are at the same party but they almost never ever dance with each other. They barely even talk. And the mobility of library workers moving between the sectors is very close to zero. So many great folks connected by the core values of libraries that never collaborate, that never learn from each other, challenge each other, develop services together, tell the library story together. It is a shame, it really is. It is a shame because we think academic and public libraries could learn a lot from each other and it is a shame because we think a stronger tie between the sectors would result in actual initiatives and services that would benefit both academia and society.

So it’s easy to say that public and academic cross-sector library collaboration is valuable and important but how to actual do it and how does it actual make a difference? Here is some takes on how we could go about it. We have divided them into overall benefits and actual projects.

Overall benefits  

Communities win

No matter what kind of library we are talking about, libraries are about people. Libraries are a people business and people are what brings libraries together. But often we fail to see the whole life of those people; Public libraries sees different kinds of citizens; Kids, grown-ups, elderly, folks with reading disabilities, refugees etc. Academic libraries see students, teachers and researchers. But all of those people don’t just belong to one category; A student at a university is also a member of a local community and might want to be engaged in cultural or social activities. An engineer working at the local power plant might be in use of some new research results. Dividing library services in public and academic might make sense according to library logic but it often doesn’t to a user logic. As open institution focused on people succeeding public and academic libraries holds a great opportunity to empower people across the public and academic domains. Examples on how to do this later in this post.

Shared values, inspiration and joint-problem solving

We believe that library workers at public and academic libraries share many of the same values. Values as readily, equally, and equitably access to information, diversity and inclusion, education and life-long learning, intellectual freedom, trust and social responsibility seems to be drivers for people in both sectors. Yet we do things differently and difference views are good, so talking about different takes on the library task – both practical and strategical – will be of benefit to all if we are willing to listen and will eventual lead to joint-problem solving and development of services.

Information literacy from cradle to the grave

Almost all libraries, from school to university libraries, deal with supporting of information literacy of their users. While collaboration between school libraries, high school libraries and public libraries are pretty common, and some places even share the same building or staff, the same is not true for public and academic libraries.

In order to make a real impact on society when it comes to digital edification and information literacy we need to stop looking at the user within that silo that is a specific library, and center our forces at supporting and promoting digital skills and a critical sense throughout the whole life of a citizen. This means much closer collaboration and coordination between school, public and academic libraries. An obvious obstacle is that the different libraries belongs to different formal structures in the Danish society and the shutters between those are pretty closed but libraries, as open institutions, should be able to open those shutters. We have an obligation and responsibility to look at the whole life of the individuals in order to make an actual impact supporting digital skills.

A library is a library to most people

We often meet users of libraries who don’t understand that they can’t return books from the public library at the university library and don’t really know – or is interested in knowing – the difference between the types of libraries. To many people a library is library and they like it that way, because they like the library. Is that good or bad? For library professionals it seems really important to distinguish between the types of libraries but if so why aren’t we better at communicating this to our surroundings? Maybe we should focus more on that force of social good that is THE LIBRARY no matter what kind of library that is instead of focusing on where people can return the books. A shared universal story of all libraries might be a better deal for all.

Examples of cross-sector projects and activities  

Shared stacks, shared delivery

ReCAP (The Research Collections And Preservation Consortium) is a HUGE remote stack in New Jersey currently able to holding up to 17 million items facility and is located on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus. ReCAP is a joint-venture between Columbia UniversityThe New York Public Library and Princeton University. More than fifteen million items are currently in ReCAP’s care and they are used to fulfill approximately 250,000 requests for materials each year, from its partners and from libraries around the world. tems housed at ReCAP are requested through the partners’ library catalogs. Requests are processed daily by 3pm, and ship out to Manhattan overnight and twice daily to Princeton. Electronic delivery of articles and chapters is available as well, with requested materials sent directly to members of the partner libraries.


The ’seamless’ library

In Drammen, Norway, they have established a combined library with three library types under one roof. The library opened in 2007 and is a coalition of three separate library organizations working together: The county library, the municipal library and the university college library. To the visitors the library experience is supposed to be seamless, they should meet one library unit, not three. The aim is to meet all library needs in the life of a user: as a kid, grown up, pupil, student, researcher, senior citizen etc. The idea is brilliant but if Drammen has actual succeed on creating a 100% seamless library experience and to link municipality and the university college, helping to remove any barriers between the two worlds we don’t know. Study trip in the making… Link to Drammen Library:
Drammen bibliotek3 libraries in one

The public library is knocking on the door to the university class room

The awesome Amy Walduck pointed us towards an upcoming project between City of Gold Coast Libraries (public) and Bond University Library in Australia. Basically Bond have international students (mostly Chinese) who have low level English skills when they arrive to study. They have to complete an English course but the library just doesn’t have the type of resources that the students need and want outside of course materials. The Gold Coast Libraries have eBooks, eAudiobooks and print books in their first language as well as a lot of English as second language resources. The plan is to go into their class, show students what we have and sign them up on the spot.

When you have a community on the rise but don’t have the opputunity to build a public library

In Roskilde Municipality there is a new area on the rise called Trekroner. Buildings are pupping up and the numbers of citizens are growing each month. Obvious Roskilde Public Libraries want to reach out to this new community but there is no public library in Trekroner. A mobil library bus is offered (and very populare) but it is hard to do book clubs, litterature talks and other kinds of community building programs when you don’t have a physical site. But Trekroner is also home of Roskilde University and Roskilde Universty Library so the obvious move choice was to do a partnership with different kind of programs hosted by the public library but taking place in the university library. The programs are open to both the community of Trekroner and students, researchers and teachers at the university so in that way the library partnership also becomes a platfrom for bringing society and acdemia together.

Letter of intent on music, library systems and data exchange

A new collaboration between University Library of Southern Denmark and Odense Public Libraries are on the rise. A letter of intent on enhanced cooperation between the parties has been written and aims to confirm, document and formalize the collaboration that already exists between the libraries and to form a foundation for new partnerships. According to Jane Jegind, founding partner in the collaboration and politician in Odense Municipality,  the purpose is “to ensure a comprehensive and perspective-based library development between two leading knowledge and dissemination institutions within the research and public libraries area in Denmark.”

“The cooperation will strengthen library offerings for citizens and students in Odense and the rest of the region. It allows for better use of existing resources, as well as making joint investments in technology and new offers to users. I also welcome the fact that the letter of intent has grown on the basis of already good cooperation between the parties. There are big gains to pick up by handing out”, says Jane Jegind.

The letter of intent has defined a number of areas of cooperation in which the University of Southern Denmark and the Odense Libraries will assist each other in the future. These are the following areas:

  • The music service with joint operation of the collection, public service and academic cooperation between the Music Conservatory Library and the Odense Libraries.
  • IT collaboration on joint operation of library systems.
  • Cooperation on the development and exchange of data and data-based service areas for the development of library offerings by both parties.
  • Joint efforts on the library service of upper secondary education in Odense and on Fyn.
  • Collaboration on material stock and use of storage capacity, depot and magazine facilities.
  • Study of joint operation of reading room facilities with study facilities in Odense center.

This collaboration really got a sound platform and a great volume so it will be exciting to follow.

Ideas for future collaboration

Fiction as a window to a broader view on education and learning

In Denmark medical students are required as a part of their course load to read fiction to help them understand the point of views of the people they are diagnosing. To see the person behind the disease.

This approach might also be beneficial to people studying administration, political science, to be social workers or other kinds of vocations that bring you in to contact with people in different difficult situations. As public librarians have vast amounts of experience in book talks and knowledge of genres and titles. It might be relevant to students to have public librarians visiting the academic libraries to do book talks and curating small collections of fiction that fit this theme.

Beside helping the student examine other points of view, reading fiction also reduces stress, helps concentration and sleeping patterns. Thing students could benefit from in stressful periods like during exams.


Know of a good academic/public library collaboration case or just got a good idea? Let’s have ’em so they can be shared, discussed, qualified and maybe inspire others to do the same. Hit us in the commentaries or at cula [at] roskilde [dot] dk


Christian & Marie

A human chain around a true community friend: The library staff

September 15 is The Roskilde Libraries birthday and every year we celebrate by inviting old and new employees for cake and coffee. This year we celebrated on October 22 and at this occasion I did a little birthday speech about The Arab Spring, a human chain in Alexandria and how staff is the single most important asset of any library.

Welcome to The Roskilde Libraries birthday. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a story. It is a story that in its turn is both cruel and poetic. It’s December 17 2010 and we are in the Tunisian city of Sidi-Bouzid. Here we find a man named Mohamed Bouazizi. He makes a living of selling fruit on the street, but since he has no license to sell fruit, the police seize his fruit truck. Bouazizi is a desperate man and when the police seize his fruit truck they deprive him of his livelihood. Bouazizi does something very radical. He sets fire to himself in protest against the police, the system and the regime and this act gives spark to The Arab Spring and the entire Middle Eastern world is hit by series of pro-democracy demonstrations.

The demonstration came to clashes between citizens and police and military, the existing systems collapse and in continuation of the violent demonstrations and increased pressure on the established systems, lawlessness prevails. Robbery and vandalism of public buildings, museums, hospitals and schools are taking place. This is also the case in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. Everything is chaos and the city is being completely torn apart. Out of the chaos, a group of people gathers, they take each other by the hand and form a human chain around a particular building. The building is The Library of Alexandria. In the two weeks where the riots are on, the human chain stands tall and when the disturbances drive over, not a single window is broken in the library, not a single book is stolen.

The human chain around The Library of Alexandria

This is a very powerful story to me and I think there are two things in this context that are important. The first must be found in The Arab Spring as a revolution. The Library stands for all the achievements of The Arab Spring: Democracy, Freedom, Transparency, Inclusion, Diversity. For me, the human chain in Alexandria is the ultimate tribute to the library’s function and justification in a society. And then it’s important to remember, that the human chain that formed around the library was a guard of the building, the collection, but very much also a guard for the library’s most important asset; The people who work there. The people who make a positive difference every day to the communities they earn.

So when we celebrate The Roskilde Libraries birthday today, it’s in fact the celebration of former and present employees who all have made and make a difference for the citizens of Roskilde Municipality and made it a better place to live. And if we were ever to be hit by a Zealand Spring I’m confident that a human chain would form around our libraries to protect the institution you have helped created.

Thank you

bib3_0Happy birthday, Roskilde Libraries! You are an magnificent friend to the community 

Changing lanes: Moving from academic to public libraries (new job)

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
– Winnie-the-Pooh

After 8 utterly awesome and rewarding years with The Royal Danish Library / Copenhagen University Library it was the time for something new. From September 1st I will take on the position as director of libraries and citizens services in Roskilde Municipality


The Roskilde Libraries are a wonderful library organism with one main library and 5 branch libraries, citizens services, 3 archives, a mobile library (a very very cool and colorful bus) and serves as central library for the region of Zealand and Bornholm (which means providing of materials and coordinating of library and skill development together with the municipalities in the region). All in all around 140 employees are with the libraries and citizens services in Roskilde.

Roskilde Municipality has 85.000 citizens and holds a reputation as a community that prioritize culture highly. There is a long and strong tradition of collaboration between libraries and the other institutions of culture, education, learning and experiences in the community. And then Roskilde is the home of one of my all time fave venues; The annual Roskilde Festival.

As director of libraries and citizens services I will join the leadership group of City, Culture and Environment and it’s expected that you don’t just deal with libraries but also put energy in developing the community in a broader sense which was one of the things I found appealing about the position.

Lots of stuff is going on with the libraries in Roskilde these days, months and years: The main library in Roskilde are gonna get a new main entrance so it will be more integrated with the upcoming ‘Street of Culture‘ which is gonna run parallel with the main downtown street in Roskilde. A new House of Culture for Children which is run by the library will open in the end of August. A totally new branch library is being build in Viby Zealand and a potential new library is on the rise in Jyllinge. Besides that it seems to be an extremely dynamic organization with high degree of performance, collaboration and development.


I truly believe that in order to continuously grow – both professional but also as person – we need to move ourselves sometimes. At least I do. I’ve been so happy with my carrier with The Royal Danish Library but never imagined that I should be in the organization forever and this was a chance to try something completely new, take a step up the leadership ladder and then it is just an awesome job and a great opportunity.

Also, over years I’ve been advocating about the importance of a higher degree of sector mobility between academic and public libraries (the mobility is close to zero in Denmark). I believe a higher mobility will foster more collaboration between the sectors which would benefit both students, researchers and citizens but also because I think that public and academic libraries can learn so much from each other. By this move I feel that I walk the talk and I will do what I can to promote actual collaboration between public and academic libraries.

I am looking forward to learn about public libraries, citizens services and the community in Roskilde. To advocate the value and importance of public libraries in our societies on national and global level. To meet all the people and try to make Roskilde a better place to live. And to learn more about myself.

Obvious I will keep on blogging about my new library life. Also follow along on Twitter and Instagram for all the new library adventures.



Yours truly in front of the main library in Roskilde

Do not be silenced. How opinion formers gives the library debate diversity and more voices

The Danish Union of Librarians has made a bold and important move, which I want to share with you. But first, let me tell you a story some of you might already know:

President John F. Kennedy was visiting NASA headquarters for the first time, in 1961. While touring the facility, he introduced himself to a janitor who was mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA. The janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon!”

I like this little story because it reminds me that we are all ambassadors for telling the purpose and value of our institutions, from top management to the janitor who mops the floor. However, it is not enough to know the vision and the value of libraries or whatever institutions you are a part of – it is crucial that we also got the skills and the tools to communicate it to the surrounding world. In the daily tsunami of information and a jungle of communication channels, that does not necessary come easy. It takes courage, awareness and a certain skill-set to stand up and communicate a case so people listen and understands your message.

The Danish Union of Librarians has taken responsibility for trying to bridge their members with methods and skills to influence the public debate by establishing an “Education for Opinion Formers” (sorry, no English version of the program available at this time that I can link to).

The Education for Opinion Formers is a three-day course aiming at giving librarians and library workers the skills, tools, insight and courage to participate and interact in the public debate on behalf of libraries. The Opinion Formers will learn to:

  • Write piece of debate to newspapers and other medias with clear points and language
  • Get tools to communicate to others from the standpoint at one’s own profession and values
  • Tell stories so people listen
  • Grow a network of peers who want to join the voice for libraries

The education is developed in collaboration with the Think Tank Cevea that also facilitates the program.

Being an Opinion Former: “… the discussions about where the library is heading needs more diversity and more voices”

The first Education for Opinion Formers launched by end of January 2018 and the first 11 Opinion Formers is ready to raise their voices and have already done so. I have talked to one of the new Opinion Formers, Marie Engberg Eiriksson, librarian at Gladsaxe Libraries, Denmark:

Why did you join the opinion formers?

I think that the discussions about where the library is heading needs more diversity and more voices.

I feel like the public debate over the last few months has painted a picture of crisis in the public libraries, and working in a public library, I do not recognize that picture at all. The library is changing with society and is more relevant than ever. I want to contribute to a more diverse picture of what libraries do by being an active voice in the public debate.

What tools did you get from the education and have you used them yet?

The education so far has contained three parts. Inspiration and brainstorming, writing and feedback, and knowing the different publications or types of media.

I think some of what I took away from this part, was that you do not always get to the same conclusion because you have the same facts. In this genre it’s ok to say, this is my opinion and it is formed by my experiences as a librarian. I also took away tools to build a good piece and a compelling argument, based on personal experiences from my work life and how to angle a piece to hook on to a current event, debate or existing discussion.

It was helpful to get an idea of what formats are available in the relevant publications and how to adjust your piece if it get’s rejected and send it to another publication. It seems trivial when I am writing it, but I don’t think I would have thought about doing that.

Finally, there were different presentations about challenges that libraries face in 2018.

The goal after the first weekend workshop was that everybody had a piece ready to send before we left.

The workshop was a month ago. About 60% of the first pieces, including mine, were accepted by a publication and most of them to national newspapers.

One participant got invited to do a radio show and another to be part of a panel at a conference, based on the pieces they wrote. So, I think we are off to a really good start.

Any advice to peers who want to engage in public debates about libraries?

First of all, I was amazed that so many of us got our first piece accepted. And it certainly made it less daunting to write the next one. I want to say it’s because we are all brilliant, but maybe it’s just not as hard to get a piece accepted as I thought.

The training was good, but the essential part for me, was having the conversations and the feedback with the rest of the group while I was writing.

My best advice would be to try to find someone to work with. It doesn’t have to be somebody you agree with or somebody with the same interests, just somebody who would be willing to read your things and give you their opinion.

We live far apart, so we started a Facebook group and are talking about starting a blog to try and keep each other engaged and productive. The feedback and inspiration and the encouragement from the rest of the group is really a motivator for me.

An Opinion Former. Marie Engberg Eiriksson

Impact and perspectives

7 pieces has been published in the first two months after the 11 Opinion Formers ended there education. 5 of them in national newspapers. The subject being covered has been on the value and purpose of the public library, the danish law of libraries, the library as catalyst for social balance, the importance of well-staffed libraries, librarians in the literary debate and libraries importance in helping citizens with reading difficulties. Following the pieces some of the Opinion Formers has been invited to participate in radio and conferences.

The impact has been significant in the first few months. The range of subject covered has been diverse and the quality of pieces has been high. The voice of libraries in Denmark has grown stronger.

Some people are born to be an opinion former but many are not. It takes courage and specific skills to engage in a debate and communicate your views so people understand them. It’s not about winning the debate by proving you are right – it’s about making sure your viewpoints are understood. In general and in times where libraries are under pressure (at least in Denmark) we need voices who can engage in the debate of the value and purpose of libraries. Who has viewpoints and opinions and are able to communicate them in a public forum. The Education for Opinion Formers give people those tools and methods and not least, it gives the courage and belief that it is possible to engage and affect the public debate.

I hope many unions, organisations and library advocates across the world will get inspired by the concept of The Opinion Formers and will do something on their own. The library needs voices to raise a sound and constructive debate on libraries now and in the future. And remember, we all have a voice and we all have an obligation of being an ambassador and opinion maker for libraries, anywhere, all the time.



Meningsdanner07The 11 opinion formers. Photo by Heidi Lundsgaard

Bringing tech literacy to the community: Coding Pirates and The Public Library

This blog post is written by Library Lab fellow Marianne Pedersen, librarian at Taarnby Public Libraries

Coding Pirates is a danish based code club run by volunteers who has a special interest in computers, code, IT-creativity and most of all – to teach children about these things.

For years the public libraries have been teaching especially the elderly part of the population how to use the computer, tablets or IT access to public and government systems, but haven’t been able the find that one thing where this ‘learning’ aspect could drag children to the library. And here we found it. Through games and curiosity both children and adults in Coding Pirates challenge IT, computer and systems.

2015-11-17 17.29.41Kids learn to be tech savvy members of the community at the library

Taarnby Library and Coding Pirates have been working together for a year and a half now; Up to 20 children, 9 volunteers and 3 librarians meet once every week for two hours to code games, play with Lego Mindstorms and Raspberry Pi or Arduinos. All with one purpose – to teach the children to be creative, question the devices and grow them to be tech savvy members of the community.

By working with volunteers and especially Coding Pirates has given us as a library more courage just to do things. In school vacations we now offer workshops on Lego Mindstorms, 3D printing/drawing and stop-motion video, because all children should have the option to learn and play with code and technic as we do in Coding Pirates.

Libraries in Denmark are one by one joining the amazing coding party and hopefully the movement and idea will spread to libraries and communities around the world. You get a lot of really involved people and children that you don’t usually meet at the library and the library supports much needed tech skills and understanding to society. Coding Pirates is an activity where we hopefully will give the children the ability to question the technique we surround us with everyday. It’s a way of learning children to be co-creators instead of just being consumers.

There are currently 28 Coding Pirates code clubs around in Denmark and it’s far from enough – more than 1000 children are on the waiting list right now. Danish librarians, sign up know. Librarians of the world, follow this example.

If you want to know more, please feel free to write

Get a book. Or learn how to code. It’s all happening at your library

2015-11-17 17.03.00Kids getting busy with Lego Mindstorms, Raspberry Pi and Ardunios at the library