Tag Archives: Netherlands

Score a Book!







Guest Blogger: Jolanda Robben, coordinator Score a Book!, Biblionet Groningen

Learning to read well is of great importance to growing children. It helps even more when they enjoy reading. With this in mind, Biblionet Groningen and the FC Groningen Foundation are performing the Score a Book! project: a unique reading project for primary school pupils aged 7 to 9. Score a Book! combines reading with football, because you can score anywhere!

With Score a Book! pupils are challenged in a playful way to read as many books as they can in class in ten weeks. The pupils are cheered on by a professional football player using videos. For every book they have read, the pupils stick a ‘ball’ (sticker) on a poster. In this way we know of every class how many books they read during the project. Score a Book! is concluded with a sporting party at which the pupils can score on the football pitch.


It is known that boys lag behind girls in the area of reading. By connecting a reading project to football, the boys are particularly engaged. Since 2016, the project has been expanded with a home edition. The pupils encourage their parents and other family members to read extra at home as well.

Score a Book! has grown in six years’ time to become one of the most successful reading projects in the north of the Netherlands. In 2016, in the province of Groningen 6665 pupils participated. The final score was impressive: the pupils read a total of no less than 53,721 books.


The success of Score a Book! has not gone unnoticed in the rest of the Netherlands. At the moment, Biblionet Groningen is working with other libraries on a national rollout.

The Dutch Premier League clubs PSV Eindhoven, Heracles Almelo and Go Ahead Eagles have already confirmed they would like to participate in Score a Book!.

And it does not stop there. In October 2016, the organisation of the Dutch Premier League signed a pledge, in which the 18 Premier League clubs promise to undertake efforts to fight low literacy and to promote reading by means of projects such as Score a Book!. This promise is an important step in the national roll-out of this sporting project.


Want to know more? Please contact Jolanda Robben:


Facebook www.facebook.com/scooreenboek
Twitter www.twitter.com/scooreenboek
Website www.scooreenboek.nl

New in the Netherlands: the library for newcomers







Guest Blogger: Juan Khalaf, project manager New in the Netherlands, and nominated for Best Librarian of the Netherlands 2016 (an initiative of the Library Journal)

As a former refugee I know how important it is to learn to feel at home in your new country. When I came to the Netherlands from Syria fifteen years ago, the Library for me was a place where I felt safe and, above all, developed myself.

The library as a place for development of newcomers, that is the idea behind the project New in the Netherlands from Bibliotheek Theek 5 . New in the Netherlands is a series of theme meetings for newcomers that focus on both the get-together and the collection of the library. The meetings are intended for the personal development of the newcomers by connecting with the collection and with each other



Every meeting has its own theme, such as Typically the Netherlands, Dutch Art and Culture, and the Dutch Cuisine. The guest speakers at the meetings are often members or customers of the library. They hear about the project and are keen to contribute to New in the Netherlands. The collection is illustrated per theme with a story recommendation. Many newcomers are enthusiastic and now regularly visit the library. They are coupled to (Dutch) members and meet at the library to learn more about the language and about Dutch customs and traditions.

The project corresponds well with the objective of the Theek 5 organisation to let people learn for a lifetime. A lifetime of learning is the common thread in the policy plan of Theek 5.

The participants of New in the Netherlands with the mayor of Oosterhout, who also gave a talk

The participants of New in the Netherlands with the mayor of Oosterhout, who also gave a talk

The essential purpose of the project is to make people feel at home in the Netherlands by getting acquainted with various aspects of the Dutch culture, language and identity. Furthermore, they get to know the library as a place where they are welcome and able to increase their knowledge. I am happy and delighted that, as library, we can contribute in this way to make newcomers feel at home in the Netherlands.

More information: j.khalaf@theek5.nl


FryskLab: Bookmobile with FabLab







Guest Blogger: Jeroen de Boer, programme manager innovation, Library Service Fryslân

Since September 2013, the Library Service Fryslân has a FryskLab at its disposition, a bookmobile that contains a FabLab (fabrication laboratory). The basis for this project is the sharing of knowledge and meeting. Joining up with what is known as the maker movement in our view was the way to accomplish a local ambition: to boost the sharing of knowledge in Friesland and with that confront a number of local challenges.

In this way, FryskLab is just as much about library innovation as about maker culture. And about mobility in a rural area. This, incidentally, is not unfamiliar. The first Dutch bookmobile operated in Friesland and was primarily intended to allow people to read. With FryskLab we are doing the same thing 70 years later, but we transform from literacy to digital literacy. It is important that we not only teach children how technology works, but also make them realize why this is important for them. Or at least give them something that they can work on themselves. Creativity is first and foremost in this.

An extra challenge is embedding this in the library itself. To this end, inspired by our Swedish colleague Ake Nygren, we developed a workshop to bring librarians into contact with digital literacy and maker culture.

Code Week

On 18 and 19 October, we presented this at the European Parliament in Brussels, as part of the Europe Code Week.


Our proposal met with many positive responses, among others by Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien and by Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. A set of ten Maker Boxes, assembled by us, was presented to ten European Members of Parliament, who in turn will present them to a library in their country of origin.


Because, as expressed by Cory Doctorow: “Damn right libraries shouldn’t be book-lined Internet cafes. They should be book-lined, computer-filled information-dojos where communities come together to teach each other black-belt information literacy, where initiates work alongside noviates to show them how to master the tools of the networked age from the bare metal up.

Listen to this interview with Jeroen de Boer from FryskLab – Library Service Fryslân who brought the FryskLab bus to the EMEA Regional Council Meeting 2015 in Florence, Italy. In this short video, Jeroen talks about FabLabs and makerspaces and the importance of making.


Images on Flickr


Manifesto for more imagination







Guest Blogger: Rob Bruijnzeels, independent advisor and founder of the Ministry of Imagination

Library buildings have long been designed based on paradigms from the 19th and 20th century with the typology of covered bookcases and the arrangement of an old-fashioned catalogue cabinet. But the world has changed and, because of ICT, information and knowledge are omnipresent and abundant. As a consequence, this changed the function of the collection and how you accommodate it. Unfortunately, new library buildings are unable to cope with this and often end up with a modern shaping of the outdated process of collecting, disclosing and making available. Therefore, they are becoming an interchangeable and eager to please ‘third place’, where the connection between the provided activities and the collection has become unclear.


Instead, one should look for a new function for the collection and its user. Library architecture from now on should be based on a process that focuses on the interaction between visitor and collection. In which the collection inspires the visitor and raises curiosity with surprising questions, presentations and arrangements. By organizing activities and programmes, visitors are invited to actively engage with the collection and enrich it with new insights and meanings. These new contexts become part of the collection by sharing them with others visitors. In this way, a new cyclic process of inspiration, creation and participation emerges that makes the library a collective facility that binds, captivates and activates people around the collection.

Librarians and architects have to start working with imagination on innovative forms of library architecture, to create space for this process and give the collection the place it deserves. Librarians will have to develop this changing function of collections and centralize it in their profession. Architects will have to learn to break with the classic iconic representation of the library building. All this generates creative space for an innovative dialogue.


Certification of Public Libraries







Guest Blogger: Willem Camphuis, director Stichting Certificering Openbare Bibliotheken (Netherlands Institute for Public Library Certification).

The quality of public library services in the Netherlands is an important element in the innovation process of public libraries. Based on an agreement by the Netherlands Public Library Association (VOB) and the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG), certification of public libraries has been introduced. A separate, independent foundation, Netherlands Institute for Public Library Certification, has been set up in 2006 to organise and coordinate the audits and certification process to improve quality care within public libraries. The public libraries have also agreed to use the INK Management model  as the umbrella instrument for quality care. This means that libraries are supposed to implement quality care according to this model. In the same way, libraries have committed themselves to execute a position check and a customer satisfaction survey. The position check reveals strong aspects as well as points of improvement. The aim is to work on these points of improvement according to an improvement plan. These improvements will help public libraries to ‘future-proof’ themselves in a fast-changing world. (Public libraries have to adapt to the 21st century technology changes.)

Although quality care and certification are regarded as separate subjects, they are closely related. Quality care could be considered a means to achieve the aim of certification. The 156 public libraries in the Netherlands are committed to a certification scheme and will be visited every four years for an audit. The first round of certification took place during the period 2006-2009. At the moment, the third round of the audits and certification is taking place.

Certification is performed by independent auditors, working under the responsibility of the institute. The Netherlands Institute for Public Library Certification is located in The Hague.

More information (in Dutch) can be found on the website, where you will also find a short introduction film about the third round of certification.

The importance of Reading Promotion in the Dutch Library Act







Guest Blogger: Adriaan Langendonk, programme coordinator Reading Promotion Art of Reading (Dutch Reading Foundation and the National Library of the Netherlands).

On 1 January 2015, a new Library Act was introduced in the Netherlands. One of the five core functions of libraries, as set out in the Act, is the promotion of reading and providing an introduction to literature. Another section of the Act stipulates that public libraries should support local education. This Act implements these goals for the target group of young people (0 to 18 years old).

Public libraries in The Netherlands have been working closely with educational institutions to promote reading for many years and several national programmes have been developed. Examples of these are the Children’s Book Week, started in 1955, and the National Read Aloud Contest, which recently celebrated its 23rd anniversary.

The Dutch Reading Foundation and public libraries have been working on this since 2008 on a broad and permanent basis, and issued a programme called The Art of Reading. This programme is carried out by The Reading Foundation and The National Library. The Art of Reading (funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science) stimulates reading aloud, free voluntary reading and information literacy for children up to the age of 18 years. The Art of Reading programme consists of three programmes: BookStart, The Library at School and strategic reading promotion networks.

There is attention to reading to children and reading in children’s free time. This is embedded in preschool and primary schools, which enhances the child’s language skills and helps children develop a larger vocabulary.

Count on skills and the Reading Coalition
Approximately 1.3 million residents of the Netherlands between the ages of 16 and 65 have low literacy skills. They struggle to read, write and communicate in the Dutch language. Despite the efforts made by many parties, the number of people with low literacy skills has not decreased in recent years and has even increased among a number of groups.

The new ‘Tel mee met Taal’ (Count on Skills) action programme is the response, with which the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment will jointly prevent people with limited literacy skills becoming marginalised. The programme will create synergy by linking various fields in which language plays a role: at school, in libraries and community centres, but also in social neighborhood teams, the debt assistance scheme, early school leaving, (re-)integration, youth social services and income support departments. Count on Skills will focus on three domains (family, employment market and healthcare) and five action lines .


The Art of Reading and The Ongoing Reading Line
 Following the example of the Ongoing Learning Line of educational systems, the Dutch Reading Foundation developed The Ongoing Reading Line 0-18, that sets out its vision with regard to the promotion of reading and educative literature. The Art of Reading (BookStart and The Library at School) ensures that all children and adolescents familiarise themselves with books by linking up with the activities of the Ongoing Reading Line, which aims at promoting reading, and with national reading programmes. It also ensures that they do not experience difficulties when switching from preschool to primary school or from primary to secondary school.

Libraries work together with healthcare centres, maternity care and day-care centres, schools and bookshops. Good collaboration with local government is also essential. Local authorities wish to check that their policies and funding can be aligned with this programme run by the library.

The programmes consist of several building blocks (network and policy, expertise, collection, reading plan, digital platform, transport and funding) some of which are the responsibility of the library and others of the school or preschool. The school enters into a contract in which it pays a fixed price per pupil and acquires a library, trained staff, two to four hours of professional support by a reading consultant from the library, a collection of three to five books per pupil, activities etc.

By setting up a strategic network centred around the library, involving politicians, stakeholders from day-care centres, healthcare organisations, cultural organisations (including bookshops and publishers) and educational institutions, the programmes are embedded in policy much better and can be funded easier. The laissez-faire approach that previously characterised collaboration in relation to the promotion of reading has consequently disappeared.

BookStart in the Netherlands
BookStart promotes early reading, storytelling and the reading of nursery rhymes to very young children. It also enables parents and children to experience the pleasure of reading books together. It gives young children a jump-start in primary school and strengthens the bond between parents and children.


Scientific research into the effects of the Dutch BookStart programme has shown that:

  • more parents start reading to their children at an early age;
  • if parents read to their babies before they reach the age of eight months, the babies develop into children that achieve better results in the area of language skills;
  • the effects are even stronger in the longer term;
  • overactive babies benefit most from the programme;
  • parents visit the library more often and are more familiar with baby books.

One out of three parents takes up the invitation to go to the library, registers their baby, and collects a small suitcase containing two baby books and information on reading. Of all libraries in the Netherlands, 99% takes part in this national programme.

BookStart in day-care centres also focuses on toddlers in playgrounds and other institutions. In early 2016, 123 library organisations (79%) were participating together with over 1200 (13%) day-care centres.

Six elements are important in this regard:

  • an attractive reading place is created together with the library;
  • a good collection of suitable books for babies and toddlers is provided (including ebooks);
  • the expertise of staff is increased through training;
  • involving parents, so that reading aloud at home occurs more often and so that they become familiar with the opportunities offered by the library;
  • reading gets a fixed place in the daily routine through the Reading Plan included in the organisations’ policy;
  • cooperation takes place with partners through a reading promotion network (local municipality, healthcare, library and day-care centres).

The Library at School
The Library at School programme started in 2009 to promote reading and to professionalise the approach to reading within Dutch primary schools. Of all 155 library organisations, 135 (87%) participate in this programme, involving nearly 3000 primary schools. This is over 45% of the 6500 primary schools in the Netherlands.

Libraries and schools are working on a permanent basis on the improvement of language skills and the promotion of the reading and media skills of children 4-12 years of age. The aim is to encourage children to read more, both at school and during their leisure time at home. Only then will the positive effect of reading on the motivation to read and develop language skills really be improved.


As part of the The Library at School programme, the primary school and library sign a contract for several years in which they agree to work together on:

  • developing a joint policy in relation to reading at school and in the library;
  • providing an up-to-date and attractive collection, which enriches reading education;
  • providing books and other materials that can be taken home;
  • displaying books with their covers fully visible on movable bookshelves;
  • providing a reading consultant affiliated to the library to assist the school’s reading coordinator;
  • setting annual targets based on monitored results;
  • specifying all the activities in an annual reading and media plan;
  • providing a digital portal which helps with searches and the registration of materials, stimulates reading, keeps track of reading history and assists with finding reliable information.

An academic report on the results and effects of The Library at School has shown positive results in terms of stimulating the development of reading skills. All pupils at schools that take part show improvement in language skills when compared to schools that do not take part. Girls show the greatest positive effects. Not only do their language skills improve but their motivation to read during their leisure time also improves (Nielen & Bus, 2013).

The Library at School is also available for secondary schools.
More information (in English) on the Art of Reading:




Campaign The Library Enriches You









Guest Blogger: Coen van Hoogdalem, policy advisor Marketing of The Dutch Association of Public Libraries


The Library® is an easy accessible public facility that helps people with their personal development. The Library intends to have every person fully and independently participate in society. Moreover, the Library wants to offer a ‘third place’ for anyone seeking to relax and find a moment of quiet (‘time-out’) to absorb information in any form. To develop, discover, encounter and relax are core features. In this way, the Library is a playground of knowledge, stimulation and experience for every individual.


The Library operates from an independent position, is accessible to anyone and focuses in everything it does on the perspective of developing people. In doing so, the Library contributes to the welfare of all and offers added value to society. The Library is an inspiring and motivating ‘workplace’ for personal development.

Following this positioning, the campaign ‘The Library enriches you’ has been developed. This campaign aims at establishing the Library as partner in personal development and increase awareness of this with the general public.


The campaign is elaborated by three examples: advantageous, resourceful, and important, and shows the versatility of the present public library.

The campaign starts on 24 October and the week of 24-31 October will feature over 1800 billboards, bus stops, subway panels, city cells and Q-Park panels showing posters with abovementioned themes. The period of 24 October to 31 December will focus attention online by means of blogs and vlogs. The campaign will continue in 2017.

Employees of public libraries have been extensively informed in advance by means of a special campaign newspaper and all libraries have received a communication toolkit to implement the campaign locally.


On 13 October the Minister of Education launched  the campaign