Tag Archives: Netherlands

Winning the Public Library of the Year Award is great promotion for your library

What impact does winning the Public Library of the Year Award have?

In 2018 our Public Library, School 7 in Den Helder, the Netherlands, was awarded Public Library of the Year 2018 during the IFLA congress in Kuala Lumpur. As a proud director, I received the Award. We were overwhelmed; we did not think we would win it. We had to compete against large libraries from Singapore, Brazil and the US. What would be the deciding factor for the jury? We had no idea. But we decided to turn it into an adventure and, regardless of the outcome, enjoy the moment when we could present ourselves to an international audience. Great to show School 7 to colleagues from all over the world. When the chairman of the jury delivered the outcome, we could hardly comprehend that School 7 had really won the Public Library Award 2018!

School 7 stayed in the spotlight, to this day visitors from home and abroad come to Den Helder because they have heard about the prize. The library agenda is still full of tours. We have since welcomed colleagues from South Korea, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Saba, Estonia and France. The guestbook is full of beautiful compliments and enthusiastic responses. From “ordinary” visitors, but also from the minister and from Prince Carnival, who came to celebrate School 7 with his entourage.

Photo: Janita Krimps

These visits also provided something for the city. People go for lunch or coffee. They might also spend the night in Den Helder. With this Award we have put the city on the map. The library as city marketing, how beautiful is that?

The Public Library of the Year Award is a prize that opens doors. For example, I was invited by King Willem Alexander and Queen Máxima to have lunch at Noordeinde Palace, along with a few other Dutch people who have delivered an exceptional performance. And I was also invited by the king and queen to the traditional New Year’s meeting in the palace in Amsterdam.

Suddenly magazines and other media include School 7 in their content. For example, we were part of a documentary series on national television, I was interviewed several times by foreign magazines and School 7 serves as a location for photo shoots and film recordings for other parties.

Winning such an important prize also ensures reinforcement in society. We notice that the inhabitants of the city and the politicians are proud of us. When the councilor suggested a few months ago to involve the library in the municipal spending cuts, this was rejected by the nearly full city council. “It is simply unthinkable for you to receive international guests and we will cut your budget!” Said the party leader of the largest political party.

At the construction site opposite School 7 the contractor has attached a long canvas to the scaffolding around the new building. It says: “Our library is the best in the world!” This reflects the pride of the population at the library. And that pride has been cashed in by the Award.

Text and photos Jacinta Krimp, director School 7 (translation by Sander van Kempen, member of SCPL)

Meet the candidates: Sander van Kempen

Sander van Kempen
Senior adviser
Royal Dutch Library
The Netherlands

I have been active since 2011 within public libraries and since 2015 at the Royal Dutch Library (Koninklijke Bibliotheek). I have a background in ICT and digitization but more recently have broadened my expertise to include digital inclusion, digital innovation and supporting local libraries.

Currently my main focus is the connection between the local library and our national digital library infrastructure, which includes a digital library catalogue, ID system, Datawarehouse, etc. I love to work with all kinds of public libraries and feel that we all have something to contribute to achieve the mission set out in the Public Library Manifesto.

A part of my drive to work in the public library domain is that I feel that reading is an essential part of the upbringing of my two small boys. I also strongly believe in the mission of the public library as being central to freedom and equity of access to knowledge and information for all people. I would like to contribute to a stronger relationship between public and scientific libraries.

For more information about voting for members of the Public Libraries Standing Committee take the time to read our post.

Lighting a Fire forLlife – B/Slash reduces fear of reading

By Guest Blogger,

Eric Boekesteijn

As soon as I enter the room I can feel the looks. ‘Who is that? What does she want?’ I am in a classroom of a high school for VMBO (preparatory middle vocational education) pupils. By no means an easy target group when it comes to reading and reading enjoyment. However, with B/Slash, a reading stimulation project set up for VMBO3 pupils by the Library of South Gelderland, the results are surprisingly positive.

Many of these pupils hardly ever read, or never read at all. They think that reading is stupid and that there are no good books. The starting point for this project is the Slash series by publisher Querido. True stories written by Dutch youngsters about drug trafficking, abuse, grief, and other subjects that resonate with these pupils.

Low literacy
A great many of these pupils are low literate or experience fear of reading. They are not in the habit of picking up a book by themselves. This is difficult for their teachers, often even a struggle. They consider it a victory if pupils read as much as a Donald Duck magazine. With this in the back of my mind, I start the lesson by presenting myself as a librarian who will start a fun book project. When I ask who thinks it’s cool I am here, not a single finger is raised. Luckily, I have experienced that this sentiment will change over the course of this project. After giving a brief overview of the B/Slash project, I explain the subject matter of the books. I brought four different titles with me and everyone has to choose one of these. During my talk, tranquility descends on the class. They listen attentively. Occasionally, you can see pupils glancing at each other, sharing a look of excitement. They know what they want, they are eager to start. After viewing our book trailers, they choose their preferred book. Teams of about four pupils are formed with students who have chosen the same book. They will be working together over the next five weeks. When I finish the lesson, I ask who thinks it’s cool I came by and who thinks the book they have is fun. With a smile I see how most fingers go up in the air. The foundation has been laid for the teacher to take over.

Over the following five weeks, the teacher will be using a specifically designed curriculum. By means of a digital platform, Kahoot, pupils can earn points through a variety of questions and creative assignments. The questions will stimulate the pupils to discuss the books together. Because of this set-up, teachers hardly have to prepare anything when they teach B/Slash. After five weeks, the group that has collected most points is proclaimed the winner. The book of this group is the point of focus for the conclusion of the project.

Project day

When I stop by to take a look during a project day, I can see the pupils enthusiastically working with stop-motion animation and theatre. They are acting out a scene from the book together with instructors from “Kleinkunstig” (an art-education foundation) and transforming that into an Augmented Reality route. This makes this project so much more than just reading stimulation. It directly helps teachers and students develop 21st-century skills. During a break, pupils come over and tell me they loved the book. ‘Miss, do you have any more of these sort of books?’ With a nod I list a couple of titles. Mission accomplished. A fire has been lit, the important thing is to keep it burning.

B/Slash is a project by the Library of South Gelderland, with the help of funders and many others. Our organization is happy to share successful projects with other libraries, so that we can help each other in reaching this important target group. That is why we have made B/Slash available to everyone in the Netherlands and offer support during the set-up period. Several libraries have already embraced the project. Want to know more? Check www.obgz.nl/bslash.

Marjolein Hordijk – Project member with the Library of South Gelderland
Photos: Marcel krijgsman
mhordijk@obgz.nl / Twitter: @justslacking
www.obgz.nl / Twitter: @bieb024 / Facebook: bibliotheekgelderlandzuid

Super focused studying with StudyShare

By Guest Blogger

Eric Boekesteijn

How do you prevent students from getting distracted during studying and transform the library into a successful place for studying? Frank Verbeek from the Public Library of Amsterdam knows the solution.

The experiment
Ten o’clock in the morning. A room filled with tables, arranged in classroom fashion. Behind these tables are forty buzzing students. My desk is at the front. Behind it are a large clock and a blackboard with the rules. I explain those again. Talking: forbidden. Social media: forbidden. Entering late: forbidden. Leaving early: forbidden. Everything is forbidden, except studying. A different blackboard shows the study times. At 10.15: study, 11.00: break, 11.15: study, 12:00: break. And so on. It is time, the door closes. All eyes are on my hand, which overly dramatic moves to the bell on my desk. At exactly 10.15 it rings: ‘Ting.’ StudyShare is born!

The idea
The library is a popular place for studying. On a daily basis students are fighting an uneven battle against distraction, which lurks everywhere. At the end of the day they head home frustrated: another day wasted. StudyShare is the answer. StudyShare is the only ‘prison’ you walk into voluntarily. Once inside, you lose your freedom to be distracted, a freedom you need like a hole in your head. StudyShare is clear, simple and super structured.

In practice
Will it work? The first forty-five minutes feel a bit unfamiliar, but after that it all becomes clear. During study it is as quiet as a mouse. Each time after exactly forty-five minutes the bell rings, and it seems as if the students wake up from collective hypnosis: ‘What? Already?’ The talks during the obligatory breaks are about magic. Those forty-five minutes were… timeless! Elated, the students head home that afternoon. A boy jubilates: ‘Never in my life have I done as much as today!’
StudyShare, which I thought up in a flash, came in second at the annual Innovation Prize for staff of the Public Library of Amsterdam. For one week I could use an expensive room for free to turn it into a success. On just the fourth day, the experiment resulted in so many satisfied students and good publicity, that the manager decided to extend the experiment. ‘Frank, we have to continue this!’ he exclaimed after seeing the crammed room.

‘I am done’
Halfway through the second week, a student comes up to me. She had participated in nearly all sessions, every day from ten o’clock in the morning until eight o’clock in the evening. ‘Thank you so much’, she said, ‘you can give my spot to somebody else tomorrow’. ‘What do you mean?’ I asked. She explained: ‘I had to write my thesis, but I suffer from extreme procrastination. For months, I made hardly any progress. StudyShare came just in time. I have never worked as hard as in the last couple of days. My thesis is just about done’.

StudyShare expands
We have moved on three years. Thanks to experimenting and a lot of feedback from students, the formula has been further perfected. We have come up with an efficient system of ticketing that forces students to get out of bed early. They appreciate this. Incidentally, participation is free. Each time, we organize StudyShare during the period of exams, for about two weeks. The enthusiasm of the participants is our best publicity, but we also have a clever marketing campaign, a mailing list, and there is a Facebook group.

Fancy this in your library? Please contact us! We are happy to advise and tell you about things to keep in mind to make it a success. Also, you can visit our website:
https://www.oba.nl/studyshare.html (Dutch)
https://www.oba.nl/oba/english/studyshare0.html (English)
Frank Verbeek, OBA (Public Library of Amsterdam)


Football Makes Reading Fun

By Guest Blogger,
Eric Boekesteijn

Score a book! is a reading project for primary school pupils aged 8-10. Encouraged by players from Dutch professional teams, the children read as many books as they can during a period. A formula that catches on.

‘Jolanda, come see this!’ It is Saturday morning and when entering the Library Veendam I am called over by Henk, or as I know him better: Mr. Henk. Henk works at a primary school nearby. He buzzes with energy and is even livelier than a class of thirty children. Today, as ever, he is beaming from ear to ear. I walk over to him and look in the direction he is pointing. At the reception desk I see my colleague Henny. Next to her is a boy with his father. ‘This is Kevin’, Henk tells me enthusiastically, ‘a pupil of mine. Poor reader. He joined the library today. Thanks to Score a Book! How cool is that?’

This week, we kicked-off Score a Book! again. Mr. Henk’s class has been participating since the beginning in 2012. A few days earlier, Henk had already sent me some pictures through WhatsApp. These pictures showed his pupils ‘scoring’ books. The children were lying down all over the classroom floor. Yes, lying down because with Mr. Henk you are allowed to read in the strangest places.

An hour later I am talking to my colleague Henny, trying to tell her about Mr. Henk and the boy from his class. I am interrupted immediately. ‘Kevin! Yes, he joined the library and picked out some books right away.’ Henny’s eyes light up. ‘I asked him what he liked. ‘Football’ was his answer, but he was not so keen on reading. Do you know what I told him? ‘Ask me if I like reading?’’ Kevin has asked Henny. ‘‘No’, she had said, ‘I don’t like reading the way most people do’’. Kevin and his father were surprised. How can you work in a library then? Anyone who knows Henny, knows about her love for particular books. Like no one else, she knows how to find those children’s books that are just slightly different and therefore very popular with children. “I then selected a few books with Kevin’, Henny continues, ‘Afterwards, I asked his father what he liked.’ ‘I don’t like reading’, Kevin’s father responded. ‘That’s not what I asked’, Henny said ‘I asked you what you liked’. After some hesitation he answered that he liked to cook. ‘Then I also gave them an Italian children’s cookbook. Now they can cook together!’

Thanks to the extraordinary effort made by people like Mr. Henk and my wonderful colleague Henny, as a library, we are able to make children experience the delight of reading. Because, as Mr. Henk wrote to the parents of his pupils: ‘He who reads, conquers the world!’
Score a Book! 2018

You can score anywhere! With this in mind, the Library in association with the Dutch Premier League is carrying out a unique reading project for pupils aged 8-10: Score a Book! In six regions across the Netherlands, from February until April, 11,000 pupils will be reading (‘scoring’) as many books as they can for nine weeks. The children are encouraged through video messages by players from famous soccer clubs such as AZ, FC Groningen, Go Ahead Eagles, Heracles Almelo, NEC, and Willem II. Score a Book! will be expanded to more regions in the Netherlands over the coming years.

Score a Book! doesn’t just happen in the classroom. In 2018, the libraries will also be inviting families to ‘score’ books, newspapers, and magazines at home as well. The whole family can join in. For this, the libraries are organizing many fun (football) activities.

More information: Jolanda Robben, coordinator Score a Book! at Biblionet Groningen.
E-mail: j.robben@biblionetgroningen.nl
Website: www.scooreenboek.nl

Network of Young Librarians in the Netherlands (YLN)







Guest Blogger: Tamar van Moolenbroek, product manager ProBiblio

March 2016, a town near Amsterdam. Two young librarians (26 years old) are eagerly anticipating fifteen young colleagues that enthusiastically responded to the proposal to get together. Would these colleagues recognise their ideas and the need for mutual contact?

The meeting in March

The meeting in March

What is YLN?
Half a year ago, we formed a network with around 75 young employees from the public library sector. This included all sorts of employees – from communication employees to education specialists – from all layers of the sector: locally, provincially and nationally.

Our interview with the Library Journal: “Young Librarians: amazed about the branch”

Our interview with the Library Journal:
“Young Librarians: amazed about the branch”


What does YLN intend?
We want to achieve several things with the network. Common thread is the promotion of contact between young librarians, because, strangely enough, this barely existed. With this contact we hope to enthuse and inspire for our profession. From this contact, several other objectives emerge, such as sharing knowledge, strengthen ties with organisations in the sector, get items on the agenda, support existing initiatives and come up with new ideas.


What does YLN do?
We took up the promotion of contact in a very concrete way: we are in daily contact with each other through a Facebook group or through our group on Biebtobieb (see also the blog by Levien den Boer). Furthermore, we meet several times a year during regional and national meetings. In summary: at least twice a year we go to the pub together, and at least twice a year we hold an substantive meeting.

Coming up with ideas together

Coming up with ideas together

... a lot of ideas!

… a lot of ideas!

As far as the other objectives go, there is still a lot in the making. We are discussing within our group and with the library sector to find out what more we can do. Some members write blogs to tell about their experiences, others join the substantive working group or the national communication team. Still other members are busy making an information package for colleagues that are new to the sector. In this way, we are not only growing in numbers, but also in activities!

A substantive meeting (September 2016): ‘lecture’ by Prof. Dr. Huysmans (University of Amsterdam)

A substantive meeting (September 2016): ‘lecture’ by Prof. Dr. Huysmans (University of Amsterdam)

Curious about our plans?


Through our website


we will keep you posted.

Biebtobieb: sharing knowledge and ideas







Guest Blogger: Levien den Boer, moderator National Knowledge Sharing at Koninklijke Bibliotheek – National Library of the Netherlands.

Although there are of course differences between the various (public) libraries in the Netherlands, they face similar questions, challenges and needs. In order to prevent them from reinventing the wheel and foster the sharing and co-creation of knowledge and ideas, the online platform Biebtobieb was created. Biebtobieb offers employees of Dutch (public) libraries and relating fields an online environment within which they can cooperate, pose questions, gather information and share their knowledge. By connecting various libraries and librarians, we aim to (co-)create knowledge and expertise that are greater than the sum of their parts.

The essentials of the platform
Biebtobieb was created in 2012 by SIOB (an institute for public libraries that became a part of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in 2015) and SPN (the organ within which the provincial library organizations cooperate). It is an online innovation and knowledge sharing platform, built with open-source software Drupal, that features (to a certain extent) elements of social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Yammer. Once users have created a profile, they can follow other users, join groups (both public and private), within which they can cooperate with colleagues throughout the Netherlands, create events or post personal contributions. Groups are formed around either a theme (for instance: youth, library architecture or refugees), an event (for instance: the National Library Congress) or region in the Netherlands. An overview of recent messages posted by the persons or within the groups you follow is presented in the form of a personal timeline. Groups also have a separate timeline which only contains the messages posted or shared in that specific group. Users can comment on, like or share each message and tag colleagues. They receive notifications through the platform and can opt for additional notifications and digests via e-mail. To stimulate online cooperation the platform features a Google Docs integration.


  • Facts and figures
    Number of registered users (as of October 6, 2016):  4551.
  • Number of groups (as of October 6, 2016): 369 (129 public, 246 private).
  • Total number of logins in 2015: 28.858.
  • Total number of messages posted in 2015: 3189.
  • Total number of likes in 2015: 1201.
  • Total number of replies in 2015: 2165
  • Nominated for a Drupal Splash Award in 2014.


More information
The live version of the platform can be found at: http://www.biebtobieb.nl/ (registration is not limited to Dutch residents, so feel free to create an account).

Special showcase page created by the software developer (in Dutch): http://biebtobieb.merge.nl/ .

Drupal Splash Award nomination 2014 (in English): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbFP8-MA7j0 .

E-mail: levien.denboer@kb.nl
Telephone: +31 70 314 0684
LinkedIn: https://nl.linkedin.com/in/leviendenboer .