Public Library of the Year 2016

The Danish Agency for Culture again awards the prize for world’s best public library in collaboration with Systematic.

The prize

The prize is awarded by the Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces as a part of the Model Programme for Public Libraries with IT company Systematic as sponsor. Therefore the award is named ‘Systematic – Public Library of the Year Award’.

The target group is public libraries, i.e. municipality libraries. Applications can be made by individual municipalities. A municipality may apply in co-operation with relevant advisors.

The prize is US$ 5,000, which will be given to the municipality. Another 3-4 libraries will be nominated and awarded with a diploma.

Criteria for application

The library must be a new public library.  This means that it must have been completed during the period January 1st 2014 through June 1st 2016. 

The definition of a new library in this connection is a library that has been newly built from scratch, or a library that has been set up in premises that have not previously existed as a library.

Assessment criteria

Applications will be assessed on the basis of an overall assessment of the following six criteria: The criteria are not in order of priority.

  1. 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 gives visibility in the urban landscape and interaction with surrounding buildings and open spaces. Is the library a driver of connections or movements in the urban context?
  2. 2. Architectural quality: Including how each space work in terms of functions and logistics. How is the architectural concept implemented and designed on different scales in the building? It is of great importance how the spaces affects people’s senses, for example with the use of light, darkness, sound, silence, indoor climate, and materials.
  3. 3. Flexibility: Including how rooms are designed and organized, 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. E.g. does the library include makerspace facilities for workshops or a stage? Are these used, and if so, how? Can the spaces be easily modified and used for various functions and activities?
  4. 4. Sustainability: Including how sustainable solution has been incorporated in the library, for example by reducing resources, or by using natural resources in a new way to extract energy. Similarly, it could be with the use of local materials for the construction.
  5. 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. How do the learning spaces interact with the rest of the library?
  6. 6. Digitization: Including how digital communication and accessibility of the library content is integrated in the library space, including the use of mobile technology. How is design, aesthetics and interaction used as the basis for the digitization? Has digitization been used in any innovative and creative ways to create experiences for the library users in the physical library.

Assessment committee

Chairperson of the Committee: Morten Lautrup-Larsen, Deputy Director, Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces
Maria Wedel Søe, Architect MAA, Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces
Jens Lauridsen, Library Head, Tårnby Municipality Libraries
Iben Østerbye, Head of Communications, Herning Library
Jan Richards, Manager, Central West Libraries, New South Wales, Australia
Leikny Haga Indergaard, Library Head, Bergen Public Library, Norway
Kent Martinussen, CEO, Danish Architecture Centre
Michael Christensen, Creative Director, CCO.


Practical information

The deadline for applications is June 1st 2016.

Find the application scheme here.

The prize will be awarded in August 2016 at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress, in Columbus, Ohio, USA.


Public Library of the Year 2016








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