The jury has now agreed on the four shortlisted libraries for the 2019 IFLA/Systematic Public Library of the Year award.
All four will now be considered for selection as the world’s best new public library.
A total of 16 libraries from all over the world applied to be considered for this international award. The many applicants have now been reduced to four shortlisted libraries, one of which will be named the world’s best new public library for 2019.
The shortlisted libraries have been selected by an international jury consisting of members from relevant sections of International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), which supports the award in partnership with the sponsor, Systematic. Systematic is an international IT company that develops software for both the public and the private sector, including library solutions.
The Green Square Library and Plaza (Australia) caught the eye of the jury for being both a square and a public space. This is the only open space in a densely populated area and plays a double function in a most playful and original way. The Green Square Library shows that the structure itself may be challenged and reads like the future in a most welcome way.
The site feels cool and sleek under the hard sun, yet warm and playful on the cold evenings. An active field of library and plaza programming bridges the indoors and outdoors. Highly efficient air conditioning systems that employ CO2 sensors and underfloor heating allow the site to be 100% naturally ventilated.
Bibliotheek LocHal (Netherlands) sets the T in transformation and the jury is delighted to include it on the short list. LocHal’s repurposed train hall-library serve as a locomotive in urban transformation – a livingroom of the city that also attract new businesses. Large tapestries serve as flexible walls inside the building and tracks are left in the floor for giant community tables made from old pulleys. “Work with what you have” is a motto that permeates the project and this adaptive strategy applies to both the architecture, structural systems, climate control and energy use. Even the programming and projects are composed like this. The six theme labs in the LocHal are all created and realized with local partners and citizens.
Soft and light yet rooted Oodi Helsinki Central Library (Finland) earns a solid place among the top 4 libraries. Directly aligned with Finland’s Parliament, this house of the people bridges concepts of equality, participation, citizenship and sustainability. Designed together with the city’s residents, with a focus on the needs of its future users, this project is one for the ages. Iconic exterior qualities and breathtaking interior spaces host qualities like an entire floor for learning activities and a top floor book heaven. With a massive success in visitor numbers in its first months of service, Oodi will lead the way for central libraries throughout the globe.
The final nominee Tūranga – Christchurch Central Library (New Zealand) stands out as a physical and social display of the resilience of both the people and civic life. After the great earthquake shook Christchurch in 2011 an outstanding user involvement process was undertaken for the new central library; and resulted in a place to be with people, for the people. The identity of the library is found in the staircases interconnecting the levels and world-leading structural design for withstanding future earthquakes. The open center invites visitors to move around and explore with beautiful use of materials and light. The library has a strong focus on both children and heritage.
What happens next?
The winner of the 2019 IFLA/Systematic Public Library of the Year will be selected from among these four nominees. The Award is an annual prize given to a public library that is either newly built or set up in premises not previously used for library purposes. The Public Library of the Year Award is accompanied by a USD 5,000 prize, sponsored by Systematic.
The winner of the 2019 IFLA/Systematic Public Library of the Year will be announced during the IFLA World Library and Information Congress, which will take place on 27 August in Athens Greece.