The “Public Library of the Year” award is presented by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) with the aim of honouring new public libraries. Baker & Taylor is proud new main sponsor of the award.

The award is presented to a library somewhere in the world, that has best managed to combine open and functional architecture with sustainable and creative IT solutions and has included both digital developments and local culture.

To be eligible for the award, the library must be newly built, have added a significant extension, or located in a building, that have not previously been used as a library.

The award ceremony will take place Monday 7 October 2024 at the IFLA Midterm Conference “Public Library and Democracy” in Barcelona, Spain. The Conference is part of the International Library Meeting: “Culture, Knowledge and Community”, that will take place from 7-9 October 2024. The winner of the award receives $5000.

To qualify in 2024, the library must be built and opened between 1 January 2023 and 31 December 2023

Current call for submissions

You can apply for the award from Monday 6 May until Friday 28 June 2024.

The application form will be accessible until Friday 28 June 2024 at 09:00 (GMT+2). Please apply before then.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact

Assessment criteria

The following seven criteria constitute the assessments performed by the international jury:

  1. Interaction with the surroundings and local culture: Including how the architecture reflects – or considers – 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 local context? Can the library function as a “living room” for the community with access for all.
  2. Architectural quality: Including how each space of the library works in terms of functions and logistics. How is the architectural concept implemented and designed on different scales within the building? How does the architecture affect the library user experience?
  3. Flexibility: Including how the library spaces are designed and organized to inspire the users’ own activities and support new activities and synergy across various spaces of the building. Can the library spaces be easily modified and used for various functions and activities? For example, does the library include special areas such as makerspace facilities for workshops, a stage or study facilities? How are these used?
  4. Sustainability: Including how sustainability principles have been incorporated into the library design and operations, such as by reducing the quantities of resources used, using local materials in the construction process, using renewable energy resources, or minimizing ongoing operational costs etc.
  5. Learning & social connection: Including how the library offers a diversity of pathways to education and how the interior supports the development of individual, social, cultural, and economic needs. How does the library appeal to different demographics, age groups and encourage various learning formats or co-creation? How does the learning spaces of the library interact with the rest of the building.
  6. Digitisation & technical solutions: 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 technology been used in any innovative and creative ways to create experiences for the library users within the building?
  7. How does the library reflect the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and IFLA’s Strategy: Please add reference-specific SDGs where relevant.

See also: Frequently Asked Questions

The jury

The jury consists of the following members:

Members of the Public Libraries Section (IFLA)

  • Raneetha Rajaratnam, Director, Programmes and Services, National Library Board, Singapore Sander van Kempen, Senior Adviser, KB, National Library of the Netherlands, Netherlands
  • Traci Lesneski, CEO & Principal of MSR, USA

Members of the Metropolitan Libraries Section (IFLA)

  • Flippie van der Walt, District Library Manager for the City of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Mathilde Servet, Project manager for innovative services – Library network of Paris, France
  • Siobhan Reardon, Principal Riverfront Associates, LLC, USA

Members of the Library Buildings and Equipment Section (IFLA)

  • Chair: Jakob Guillois Lærkes, Library Director, Gladsaxe Municipal Libraries, Denmark
  • Margie Kirkness, Manager Libraries & Museum, Shellharbour City Council, Australia
  • Santi Romero, Architect, Barcelona, Spain

Previous Award winners