With more than 300,000 inhabitants, Malmö is Sweden’s third largest city. The city, which is linked to Denmark by the Öresund Bridge, connects Sweden with the rest of the world, both mentally and physically. People from all corners the globe live here – some 160 nationalities are represented, and as a natural consequence of this, many languages are spoken in the city. In addition to being an international hub in northern Europe, Malmö is also a young city. The average age of the Malmö resident is 38.6 (compared to the Swedish average age of 41.2) and just over a fifth of the city’s residents are under 18.
Children aged 0–8 are a group that is growing faster than other age groups in an expanding Malmö. According to calculations, 13% of Malmö’s population will be aged 8 or younger, come 2017. Children are a priority group for the City of Malmö and for the City Library, and now the time has come to focus on activities aimed at younger children and their parents and guardians. The work takes as its starting point the need and right of the children of Malmö for reading, learning and play. The ambition is for the children’s library to be a physical, digital and social space for the young children of Malmö and their parents and guardians. The new children’s library known as Lilla Slottet, or “The Little Castle” in English, is scheduled to open in 2016.
In order to inject new elements, ideas and expertise into the process, we have sought a high degree of user involvement, external monitoring, connection to research and collaboration with partners relevant to the project. All of these contributions in the form of knowledge, inspiration and ideas underpin the concept and the programme description of the Lilla Slottet project that was developed. Diversity and multilingualism are a source of richness for Lilla Slottet, and the environment should highlight, reinforce and affirm Malmö’s diverse population. The promotion of literacy and the intercultural perspective permeate the work and the environment of Lilla Slottet in which children are actively supported in their literacy development. With a common platform, the staff of Lilla Slottet have created clarity and coherence on which to build the day-to-day operation.
Active hosting: An inclusive, intercultural and norm-critical hosting, where all children and adults are welcomed when they step inside Lilla Slottet. We know our target audience and our surroundings – and this knowledge permeates everything we do as well as our collections.
Experimentation and participation: We employ an intuitive and experimental approach to our movement. We seek a high level of participation and therefore include both children and adults in activities as much as possible.
Presence and tolerance: By taking a preventive approach to our work in the environment, we avoid limiting pointers and overclarification. Increased visibility and active presence create a sense security and calm. We see the individual and his or her needs.
Mobility in the rooms: A high level of activity leaves creative and positive traces that coexist alongside and in harmony with the more traditional order of the library.
Lilla Slottet is scheduled to open in May 2016, and you are all very welcome to visit us then.