Five libraries nominated for the award as the world’s best public library

Five libraries are competing to win “Systematic – Public Library of the Year Award 2015”. The award was established by the Danish Agency for Culture and was sponsored this year by the IT company Systematic with a US $5,000 donation.

Libraries from New Zealand, Sweden, Australia, Kenya and Spain, respectively, are in the running for the honour and US $5,000 prize money at stake, when the Danish Agency for Culture and Systematic unveils the world’s best public library 2015. This will take place at the annual meeting of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) in Cape Town, South Africa on 16 August 2015.
The award is a part of the Model Programme for Public Libraries project of the Danish Agency for Culture and Realdania.

The purpose of the programme is to develop the library of the future, taking into account, among other things, digital development, user demands, local culture, and the desire to accommodate diverse population groups with an open and functional architecture.

The library must be a newly-built or refurbished in buildings that have not previously been used as a library. The opening of the new library must have taken place between 1 January 2013 and 15 June 2015.

The five nominated libraries:

Devonport Library, New Zealand

The nomination of the Devonport Library is based on its strong historical and cultural roots relating to the lifestyle of the Maori people. The building is shaped with respect for its surroundings. Wood as the main material reflects the locality of the library and contributes to the creation of a very sustainable construction. The library has had an extended and rigorous consultation process, involving a broad cross-section of the community.
Architects: Athfield Architects

Kista Public Library, Sweden

The nomination of the Kista Library is based on its significant position, located in a multicultural setting. The interior is created through different conceptual ideas that create an intensive, spatial diversity, based on the particular use of the space. The library focuses on hiring staff with a wide range of expertise and language skills, a rich programme of digitisation from the traditional to the creative, and a high involvement with interactive social media.
Architects: Wester + elsner Architects

Library at the Dock, Australia

The nomination of the Library at the Dock is based on its diverse range of learning opportunities from user-driven activities to formal learning. These are incorporated throughout the library’s highly flexible layout and are supported by technology. The building fits well into the environment, reflecting the industrial heritage of the area and blending into the high-rise development and open spaces around it. Furthermore, the construction has taken sustainable solutions into consideration.
Architects: Clare Design

Narok Library, Kenya

The nomination of the Narok Library is based on its ambitious cultural project. The library has computers and internet connectivity, which is of huge value to the community helps to create digital citizens, opening the area up to the outside world. The library is working closely with the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture to give technical advice on livestock farming. The form of the building creates a fine outdoor space for activities and meeting places.
Architects: George W. Mwangi, Narok County Works Office

Sant Gervasi – Joan Maragall, Spain

The nomination of the Sant Gervasi – Joan Maragall Library is based on its high architectural value. The shape of the building is integrated beautifully into the townscape, creating new urban spaces between the existing city and the new library. Because the building has been arranged as a construction of smaller cubes and most of the building has been placed below street level, the library’s design is at an admirably human scale.
Architects: BCQ arquitectura barcelona
Read more about the nominated libraries and the library of the future at the Model Programme’s homepage

3 Responses to “Five libraries nominated for the award as the world’s best public library”

  • Having just returned from Auckland and catching the ferry across to Devonport, so excited to see their beautiful library up there in the nominations. Ticks all the boxes for me.

  • In an award which has some sophisticated and obviously high end architecture with no doubt substantial budgets, it’s great to see Narok Library in the running. It shows public libraries of all sizes and flavours are part of their communities.
    I imagine there was some intense discussions by the judging panel to decide on the winner.
    Cue song: “Everyone’s a winner”!

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