The IFLA/Systematic Public Library of the Year award is administered by IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) to celebrate new public libraries.

The award is presented to a library anywhere in the world that best combines open, functional architecture with creative IT solutions and also takes into account both digital developments and local culture.

2022 Shortlist

The IFLA Jury and Systematic are proud to share the shortlisted libraries for the Public Library of the Year Award 2022:

  • Ogre Library, Latvia
  • Gellerup Library, Denmark
  • Ithra Library, Saudi Arabia
  • Missoula Library, United States WINNER

To qualify for the award, the library must be newly built or housed in buildings which have not previously been used as a library. The Public Library of the Year award comes with a cash prize of USD 5,000 (more than DKK 30,000), which is sponsored by Systematic A/S. The award will be presented at the IFLA’s world congress, which is being held this year in Dublin, Ireland, on 26-29 July.

Further details on the shortlisted libraries

2021 Award

Assessment criteria

  1. Interaction with the surroundings and local culture: Including how the architecture reflects – or gives consideration to – the local culture of the community, how it provides visibility in the urban landscape and interaction with surrounding buildings and open spaces. Does the library serve as a driver of connections or movements in the urban context? Can the library function as a “living room” for the community, with access for all?
  2. Architectural quality: Including how each space works in terms of functions and logistics. How is the architectural concept implemented and designed on different scales within the building? This is of great importance for how individual spaces within the library affect the people using them.
  3. Flexibility: Including how rooms are designed and organised, and how surfaces and the combination of spaces are an inspiration for the users’ own activities and support new activities and synergy across various spaces. For example, does the library include makerspace facilities for workshops or a stage? Are these used, and if so, how? Can these spaces be easily modified and used for various functions and activities?
  4. Sustainability: Including how sustainable thinking has been incorporated into the library, such as by reducing the quantities of resources used, using local materials in the construction process or by finding new ways to use natural resources as an energy source.
  5. Learning space: Including the way the library offers a diversity of inroads to education, how learning spaces support different learning situations, appeal to different needs, age groups and encourage various learning formats – especially learning as a social phenomenon. How do the learning spaces interact with the rest of the library?
  6. Digitisation: Including how digital communication and the accessibility of the library content are integrated within the library space, using methods that include mobile technologies. How are design, aesthetics and interaction used as the basis for this digitisation? Has digitisation been used in any innovative and creative ways to create experiences for the library users within the building?

See also: Frequently Asked Questions

Previous Award winners