21 August 2014

Inner and outer beauty : crafting new libraries and visiting them

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By ​Priscilla Winling

Building libraries

As part of their Sunday session, IFLA’s Public Libraries Section and Library Buildings and Equipment Section hosted the award presentation for the “schmidt hammer lassen architects Public Library of the Year Award 2014” in a crammed Auditorium Pasteur; the audience sat in awe before the breathtaking pictures of libraries on displayed on the screen. The Danish Agency of Culture created this new prize of 25,000 DKK (3,355 EUR / 4,488 USD), and schmidt hammer lassen, a danish architects studio specialized in libraries, is sponsoring the 2014 edition. It rewards new libraries that opened between 1 January 2012 and 16 June 2014, anywhere in the world.

Public Library of the Year Award 2014Criteria for nominations are:

  • accessibility,
  • interplay with surroundings and local culture,
  • users oriented flexibility,
  • digital communications in the building,
  • and, obviously, architectural quality.

Focus is also put on the implications for library users and the community served with the project.

Based on these, four libraries were nominated (see full descriptions), with the Craigieburn Library in Hume City, Australia, as the winner. The jury pointed out “that the building is beautifully balanced with its surroundings” and specially mentioned the “choice of materials, and the use of locally-sourced rammed earth”. Furthermore, Craigieburn sets a “good example of how to use a library to create a sense of belonging for all demographic groups”.

Visiting libraries

Avid travelers among the IFLA Public Libraries Section noticed that members of the profession in general love to travel and visit libraries. But which libraries should they go?

1001 Before You DieThat is why the Section decided to compile the ultimate guide and they named it “1001 libraries to see before you die”, in reference to the famous guides of the same title. The libraries guide was launched on during the session, formatted as a blog where nominations will be added as they arrive… more than 100 applications have been received so far.

Jan Richards, Information Coordinator of the IFLA Public Libraries Section, invites librarians to send in nominations. Criteria for inclusion are:

  • architecture,
  • location,
  • innovation,
  • community engagement.

Even the quirkiest or most unusual libraries can be nominated. After all, there are still 900 spots to fill!


Flickr album with photos of this Sunday session

Last update: 21 August 2014