Hjorring (Denmark) Public Library

Yesterday I visited the public library in Hjorring, Denmark. It is part of a civic center that includes a gym, restaurant and library. Here are some photos.

The desk doesn’t say “info.” It says “Welcome.” Big.

One neat thing about the library is this red ribbon that flows throughout the whole building. It transforms into the floor, desks, and shelves. They wanted to get it to extend outside of the building but weren’t able to.

The library is dedicated to play and full body learning. They have a slide in the library as an indication.

This is a video booth in which kids can make small performances…

…and then watch themselves and others on this screen.

Many kid’s departments have trees. I’m fond of this one.

The so-called old fashioned part of the library.

Yes, people use this ladder to retrieve books.

One wall has three nooks with different things inside. This is a display about litter and recycling.

The red thread.

Study rooms.

Eames chairs just outside of the cafe.

Reservation cube and red thread.

Meeting room.

Red thread and popular materials on display. And yes, people use the ladder.

Display and Wii area.

People check in and rough sort their own materials. This saves staff time and allows books to be retrieved right after they’re checked in.

26 thoughts on “Hjorring (Denmark) Public Library”

  1. Wow! What a place! It is so bright. I wonder if the all fade book jackets will fade quickly. I bet in draws lots of people. I’d like to be a kid again and see it from that angle.

  2. What a groovy library. I love the red thread. I wish all libraries had ladders and “old fashioned” sections as nice as these. Great idea about pre-sorting, too.

  3. Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing.

    I wonder if there are any new libraries that take the opposite (but no less charming) design tactic favored by some bookstores: overstuffed, cats, comfy chairs. I’ve never seen a Scandanavian-esque bookstore. I wonder if cozy circulates more books than high design…

  4. The red thread is beautiful, but it looks like it is a permanent part of the floor, which means that the shelving connected to it would be permanent. This seems like it would hinder flexibility. I wonder if they planned for this and there is something we aren’t seeing that would make adjustment possible.

  5. In Danish, Norweagianmand Sweedish, “red line” is an idiom or a common expression to designate an element that connects all the others in a composition, an idea or a long complex structure.
    Here, and with some type of humor, they make a figure of speech or a metaphore something visible and concrete. I think is fun. It is an element of design integration and a good joke.

    This is not just a fine buildiing, but a new way to coneceive the relation between librarians and the people who approach a center for sharing knowledge,

  6. Wonderful – thanks for sharing! I think that American libraries need to sit down and take some notes from the design and implementation of European libraries – not just in the physical design, but also the mindset of the staff – all should be user/patron oriented. Great! (Wonderful blog – by the way!)

  7. any chance they’re looking for an English-only speaking librarian? This would appear to be my dream library! It’s like an indoor playground for adults and children! Is it noisy or quiet?

  8. Laurie —

    Put in an application and see what happens. Maybe a work exchange? When I was there the library wasn’t open, but as far as I know the library has different zones. There’s some dedicated quiet space but the rest has a normal level of noise.

  9. I wonder how they afford all that open space, or does it fill up with people when it’s open. As a library architect in a state known for its love of traditional buildings, I was blown away ot see this. Are the floors cork or rubber or some other material?

  10. Edward-

    When I was there the library was closed but they are quite busy and the space does fill up. I also know that they lease the space. This was a cost saving measure.

    And yes, the flooring was some sort of high density rubber, IIRC.

  11. I’ve rarely seen a library so used by a wide spectrum of the community as the Seattle Library. It has a lot of the same features, inside a big rainy city shell. Inside it’s like a city block with everyone from homeless to business people using the facility respectfully. This would be just what Durham needs! Have you noticed the American Tobacco campus architecture or DPAC? People would love it!

  12. Yes, it is quite pretty, but pretty does not make a library, quality books do. What I see is a tremendous amount of wasted space and empty book shelves. This maybe an interesting visual experience, a piece of art, but it is a foolish waste of public resources (think taxes). Denmark and has an oppressively high income tax and massive labor shortages. This, no doubt, was a socialistic government public works program which was created to get people working again. However, like every other public works program, once the project is finished the same people are out of work and millions of dollars/krones/euros of taxes gathered from a financially bleeding people are gone.

  13. I saw this amazing library on a TV programme in New Zealand last night. I was so excited and impressed I came to work today and looked it up. As a Libraries and cultural services manager I love the “out of the box” thinking and the fexibilty and colours in this new library. I have a project for a new library happening in a few years and so hope that we can do something like this for our community.

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