The Winner of the 2021 Public Library of the Year Has Been Announced

Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is an organization found in Scotland in 1927, and it’s considered the “global voice of the library and information profession.” Each year, they announce a The Public Library of the Year at their annual conference, recognizing a new library that “best combines open, functional architecture with creative IT solutions and also takes into account both digital developments and local culture.”

This year, the five finalists were:

Marrickville Library (Australia)

Deichman Bjørvika – Oslo Public Library (Norway)

Het Predikheren (Belgium)

Ningbo New Library (China)

Forum Groningen (The Netherlands)

On August 19th, at the IFLA World Library and International Congress, the winner was announced as… Deichman Bjørvika in Oslo! Jury chair Jakob Lærkes explained,

[T]he international jury was particularly impressed by how the building combines environmental awareness with architectural flair. The library is a new paradise for books and reading, while incorporating advanced technological solutions. Deichman Bjørvika shows how libraries can function as institutions that bring people together in towns, cities and local communities.

The technological solutions referenced include an advanced book sorting machine, freeing up more staff to work with patrons directly. It is 6 stories tall, with 13,500 square meters of floorspace, and holds 450,000 different materials.

The building includes a restaurant, café, cinema, and auditorium. The second floor is for children, including lots of space to explore and settings for imaginative play called Wonderland. Kids can create their own stories with a Virtual Bookcase, make stop-motion videos, or play interactive games. There’s even a reading net, where kids can sprawl out with a book while looking through the net to the floor below.

The third floor is a workshop, with 3D printers, sewing machines and studios to allow patrons to create art without having to invest in pricy equipment. The quieter study areas are on the top floors.

You can find out more about this innovative library on Deichman Bjørvika’s website.

Want to look at some more beautiful websites? Check out 28 of the best libraries in the world.