Monthly Archives: February 2017

Libraries’ democratic role





This year it there will be five Library Conferences in Sweden and the topic of libraries democratic role will be on the agenda at all of them.

Our society has changed over the past year and of course the role of public libraries also.

The political map of the world is changing and in Europe a huge amount of refugees are on the run because of all wars and conflicts. In this situation you can clearly see the lack of democratic rights to information in several countries.Polarization, ignorance and lack of participation characterize and public debate which highlights the need of neutral and accessible place for discussions and debate is important. The public library addresses these issues.

Never before has the has the importance and the role of the LIBRARIES been so needed.

The political map in Sweden is  also changing this year and nobody knows what changes will affect to the libraries I can only guess.In the Swedish Library law we have this paragraph:

§ 2 The libraries in the public library system will work for the democratic development of society by contributing to the dissemination of knowledge and freedom of opinion. The libraries in the public library system to promote the position of literature and interest in education, information, training and research, and cultural activities in general. Librarianship will be available to all.

So why have I been engaged in IFLA ? Here is my answer:

” In a troubled world is it so important for collegues from hole the world , independent to religion, gender or countries government can meet , change information, create strategies and common goals for Library work and cooperation.Hopefully this will lead to strengthen the right to freedom of informationen in the world.”

So all IFLA friends , let us keep together and fight for the libraries’ right to spread knowledge and information to help people to develop and hopeful some will get a better life. I think IFLA is one of the organizations to do this.

Anette Mjöberg
Library Director
Hässleholms Public Library, Sweden





Hi, I have been a Library Director in Hässleholm’s municipality,Sweden now, for over 3 years now. I have many times been thinking about these questions:

  • How long time does it take to prepare for making big changes or development in a Library organization?
  • What do you think? What kind of experience do you have from your Library?

In all manuals or organizations theories and good advice from the consultants, shall and will changes take time. Of course have I been to impatient sometimes.

Since I begin to work in Hässleholm I have been waiting, preparing and working for 3 things:

  • Reorganizing the staff into teams
  • Start a Makerspace both in a room and also as a  mobile
  • Introduce a self- service Library in the municipality

And this year my goals will be obtained more or less.

The staff 24 people, is now divided in three teams which they could choose by themselves. The teamleader  has responsibility for developing the activities in all our libraries .I can already see the difference in the work and a new power in the work in the Library . One of the group works with remaking a room to a Makerspace ( Skaparbibblan ) . We have bought a 3D printer to start with and this week we are going to open it.Yippeee !

Our first 3D item


Last week we signed the agreement for the first Library with self-service in one of my Branches.Looking forward to report about it.

Best wishes from Hässleholm and Sweden / Anette. Mjöberg.

Nordic News





Here comes blog number 2 from Sweden or shall I say from Scandinavia (Norway, Denmark and Sweden ). One advantage of speaking Swedish and live in Scandinavia is that you can understand and read Norwegian and Danish if you really want to do it. Of course the Swedish talking people in Finland also can do that. The Nordic countries includes also Finland, Iceland and Faroes Islands and Greenland and Åland .

It´s a long tradition between the Nordic Countries and their libraries to co-operate.

My friend Peter Alsbjer works as a Regional Library Director in Örebro county but is also a blogger. In his blogs (mostly in Swedish) you can follow impulse from the libraries around the world. I choose to present Peter Alsbjer as a guest blogger today.

Please read and enjoy

Anette Mjöberg
ibrary Director
Hässleholms Public Library


Meanwhile in Scandinavia: Winter 2016   


Here are some recent postings and news connected to Scandinavian libraries etc.:




Links and blogs (in English):


Public libraries as place makers in today’s cities: urban development, resiliency and social equity

IFLA’s Metropolitan Libraries Section (MetLib) is seeking submissions for its main program at the 83rd IFLA World Library and Information Congress to be held in Wrocław, Poland, 19-25 August 2017 with the theme Public libraries as place makers in today’s cities: urban development, resiliency and social equity.

The Section intends to explore how public libraries of large urban areas all over the world are contributing to ‘placemaking’, to place identity and to the design of public spaces which promote the wellbeing and happiness of a community.We are seeking papers addressing how public libraries:

  • contribute to urban planning and design, as one the main assets of a lively neighborhood;
  • attract people as interesting places
  • innovate in environmental sustainability issues
  • contribute to local economic regeneration
  • provide services for the homeless, the poor and other disadvantaged users
  • manage crisis during disasters (flooding, earthquakes, etc.) and changing conditions
  • engage communities in planning services
  • contribute to the city’s diversity and intergenerational equity
  • contribute to the local community’s learning capacity

MetLib  provides an international platform for professional communication and understanding of topics related to libraries of cities and urban areas of more than 400.000 inhabitants.

The deadline for submitting a detailed abstract is 28 February 2017. Further details can be found on the IFLA WLIC 2017 website.


Integration of Refugees in Hässleholm





My name is Anette Mjöberg and I’m working as a Library Director in Hässleholms’ Public Libraries. Hässleholm is a city in the south  of Sweden close to Malmö and Lund. We have one main library and Six branches and 1 mobile bus for our 51,000 inhabitants. I have 25 staff in my organization .

So what do my staff and I focus on? Which fields of work are most interesting and important now and why?  The topics are diverse –  integration of refugees; makerspaces; co-operation; reading projects; and reorganization in teams.

Today I will write about the importance to work with integrations of refugees which  continues to be a huge and very important task for all Libraries in Sweden.

In 2016 29 000 refugees arrived in Sweden compared  to 166 000 in 2015. The rules for getting a residence permit have changed and some refugees choose to return to their home countries when it´s not possible for the relatives to come to Sweden.

Many new methods, arrangement and  cooperative partnership have developed with public libraries to assist new arrivals.  One of the most popular a most usual form are the ‘Language café’

Librarians and volunteers (eg from the Red Cross) help the refugees to learn and to understand the Swedish language.( not an easy language to learn! ). A lot of the refugees are well educated and so are motivated to learn Swedish. They know well that the best way, and sometimes only way is to learn the language to integrate in the Swedish society.

The biggest group of asylum seekers comes from Iraq , Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Eritrea . After trying the ordinary way of ‘Language Cafe’, we are trying to find new ways for the  activity.

Participants at a Language Cafe in Hassleholm

One of branches are going to try another type with a ‘Handicraft Café’ instead. The women asked in the Library for help to repair clothes and now the Library has bought a sewing machine! That´s another Way of learning Swedish,  working with hands. My Libraries arranged about 100 cafes last year and that tell us how huge the need is for all newcomers in Sweden even if several of them are studying Swedish in the school for immigrants SFI (Swedish for immigrants).

We are now organizing a mobile library with materials for going the refugee accommodations, inviting unaccompanied young boys to the library through their teachers and some other activities.

The situation has happily resulted in several special donations to the Libraries for buying books, lexicons, and materials for beginners in Swedish. Some of the contributions made it possible for us to buy IPads and hiring a language trainee who speaks Arabic and want to improve her Swedish.

At a meeting around the integration process in my municipality I explained how we work and what we do in the Libraries and we were congratulated on our work. The  advantage and gain for us  is that other organizations, authorities and Municipality administrations have now discovered the important role of the Libraries in the process!


Anette Mjöberg