Norway’s First Youth-Only Library for kids ages 10 to 15





Forget what you think about libraries!

Biblo Tøyen, one of Oslo Public Library’s (Deichmanske bibliotek) newest additions, is breaking and changing all the library rules! This is a unique and innovative space, created for young people ages 10 to 15. Adults are not allowed to visit the space.

A library to upgrade an entire district – is that even possible? Biblo Tøyen is located on the Tøyen Torg in a social deprived area of the city. The library and is the only one of its kind; A library that only caters to children aged 10 to 15 years. The Oslo Public Library (called Deichmanske Library ) wanted to create an atypical Culture House, “a third place”, reflecting the motto of the library: “Keep Your Awake!” They desire to enrich the children’s everyday life by inspiring them so they created the coolest place in the city where you can gather ,work and hang around. Architecture psychology was used as a tool to understand the needs of the target groups.

New concept
The design team went directly to the source to begin their mission to rethink and redesign the library space. They held focus groups with young people to find out their wants and needs. The youth said they wanted a place to hang out, relax, and escape parents and siblings. In addition, they needed a safe place to socialize and said it should be a space where they can create and do things together. The library has achieved these goals by creating a cool and comfortable ‘third’ space between school and home where youth can learn, explore, and be themselves.

Library design that let´s you float away into fascination
The answer to the children’s vision was to multiply the creative solutions in the design. A team of skilled craftsmen was employed to create a cool yet pleasant “third place”, a stopover heading home from school. The design boasts creativity and imagination, creating an exciting and inspiring experience for the young visitors. The library’s program extends far beyond just books and reading, and offers everything from cooking to 3D printing.

Biblo Tøyen is the youth library of the future with a drone flying around, scanning and locating media. The interior consists of many exciting elements – like a Vespa veteran car turned into a workshop, the Volvo Bamse car, which contains a multifunctional kitchen, old gondola lanes converted into a workroom, a traditional British phone booth that serves as an entrance to the backstage area and bookshelves made of old wooden shelves.

All major interior elements can be easily moved to make the room more universally available. By using movable and moving objects in the interior, you get a free and flexible floor plan that can be adapted to future needs.
And to put it simple: Biblo Tøyen changes the library paradigm !

I recommend a look at the architect Aat Vo´s creative guide and his own description about this project, with extraordinary pictures !