Monthly Archives: January 2013

Children-only public library

The Fantastic Swedish Library Experiment

Originally posted on December 17, 2012 by

When Sarah Odedina was in Sweden a few weeks ago, she had a chance to stop by an amazing children’s library. She was inspired by the model, and thinks this project could have incredible applications in the UK as well.

In the Kulturhuset in central Stockholm is a remarkable and inspirational library for young readers, Tio Tretton.  Open for visitors between the ages of 10 and 13, no adults are allowed.  No parents, or teachers, or helpful advisors.  This is an environment in which young people can go to read books, make films, play music, cook in the kitchen, do origami, draw graphic novels or just hang out.  There are members of staff to answers questions but the mission of the ‘permitted’ adults is not to get between the child and what they want to do in the space in anyway at all.  Including by offering advice on what to do!

The space speaks for itself.  From the ceiling hang books, a Christmas tree made of books takes central space, there are shelves everywhere, covered in books and the books are shelved according to subject (body and mind, adventure, historical and so on) rather than by age range.  This way a young reader can find something they want to read without being steered to ‘appropriate’ books.


There are tables too for visitors to use if they want to paint or play chess or use the iPads and technology that is available and wonderful seats to curl up in for some more private space.  People are invited in to speak to the young visitors  and the speakers are very varied in their backgrounds from authors to software designers and musicians. When there is a speaker, children don’t have to sign up in advance to attend, they can just turn up on the day and should not feel under any pressure to go if they don’t want to.
Launched just under two years ago, the library is entirely funded by the government, and all a child needs to use the space is a valid library card from any library in Sweden.  It was a great pleasure to meet the inspirational Lena Thunberg who told us all about the work of the library and some of the challenges they face as an organisation running such an egalitarian and open service. Her biggest issue seemed to be the systems surrounding the use of the kitchen and people wanting to cook things that they didn’t have time to finish working on before they had to leave.  In her idealism and utter dedication she made light of any issues to do with organising and sustaining the energy of the vibrant and unique environment.


The kitchen

It seems to me that Tio Tretton is a benchmark for what can be provided to young people in a reading environment.  It is a high benchmark that would be excellent for many other libraries and organisations to aim for, and indeed for governments to realise that they should support.

Extended Call for Proposals: Intergenerational Literacies

The IFLA Literacy and Reading and Information Literacy Sections are seeking proposals for  its programme,  Intergenerational Literacies, to be held at the IFLA Conference in Singapore in August 2013. The deadline for proposals has been extended to February 24, 2013.

The challenge of new information and learning landscape can lead to all sorts of information gaps. One of them is a gap between texto and techno generations which can cause intergenerational isolation and separation. The program will showcase innovative and effective library programmes that intend to bridge this gap. Proposals are requested for papers that will present how this gap can be filled.

Complete information—including submission guidelines—is available on the WLIC 2013 website.

Information Literacy Efforts Benchmarks

Information Literacy Efforts Benchmarks, 2013 Edition, ISBN 157440-214-5  


The 115 page study presents data from 60 North American colleges and universities about their academic library and institutional information literacy efforts.  The study helps librarians and others to answer questions such as:  What are staffing and staff time use trends in information literacy? How many more, or fewer students, will take information literacy oriented classes and sessions this year as compared to last year?  What software packages are favored for producing info literacy tutorials? How do instructors rate the information literacy skills of their students, before an after training? What is the role of information literacy testing? What about trends in information literacy assistance to faculty?  What is the role of information literacy presentations at student orientations? What is the relationship like between library information literacy faculty and key academic departments? What percentage of colleges have formal information literacy requirements and what are these requirements? This is just a small sample of topic coverage.  Just a few of the study’s many findings are that:

  • 41.67% of college libraries in the sample participate in some kind of orientation or information literacy training class designed especially for online or distance learning students. 
  • Just 5% of survey participants feel that upper college administrators consider information literacy a high priority. 
  • 29.4% of four year colleges in the sample use student standardized test results to assess the performance results of information literacy instructors. 
  • 12.5% of community colleges in the sample require an information literacy exam for graduation.
  • A third of the research universities in the sample have ever administered a test to assess student capacity to use the online library catalog. 
  • Nearly two thirds of librarians sampled consider their students to be very unskilled in the use of eBook collections. 
  • About 39% of colleges in the sample with less than 2,500 students enrolled offer librarians faculty status. 
  • For research universities, library sessions in student orientation last a mean of only 12 minutes. 
  • 25% of the private colleges in the sample plan to increase their investment over the next three years in equipment and space used for information literacy efforts. 

Data in the report is broken out by size and types of college, by enrollment level and by number of information literacy classes or sessions given.  A pdf version of the study is currently available from Primary Research Group Inc.  A print version will be available on November 14th, and can be ordered now from Primary Research Group Inc. or from most library book wholesalers.  The price for either version is $75.00; site licenses are also available. For a table of contents, free excerpt, or to place an order, view at


International Children’s Book Day April 2

Frost may be on the ground, but planning for spring library programs is well underway! Now is the perfect time to add a program celebrating international children’s books to your April selection of programs and lesson plans for children.

USBBY (United States Board on Books for Young People) has been awarded the sponsorship of the 2013 International Children’s Book Day, traditionally celebrated on April 2, Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday. Program ideas, a poster created by artist Ashley Bryan and poet Pat Mora, and much more are available now at:

Here are some of the easy-to-replicate programs already available on the site:

Monsters of the World submitted by Cristy Burne

Featuring books from Australia, New Zealand and Africa, this program appeals to children’s fascination with monsters and requires little more than your fabulous read-aloud skills, easy to find international books, and pencils and paper!

International Playground Games submitted by Lisa Herskowitz

Botswana, Jamaica, Romania, and Argentina are just a few of the countries you can travel to in this fun and easy program. Take a look!

Do you have a great idea for celebrating International Children’s Book Day? Please share it with your colleagues around the world by submitting a program idea online.