Tag Archives: Sweden

Nordic News





Here comes blog number 2 from Sweden or shall I say from Scandinavia (Norway, Denmark and Sweden ). One advantage of speaking Swedish and live in Scandinavia is that you can understand and read Norwegian and Danish if you really want to do it. Of course the Swedish talking people in Finland also can do that. The Nordic countries includes also Finland, Iceland and Faroes Islands and Greenland and Åland .

It´s a long tradition between the Nordic Countries and their libraries to co-operate.

My friend Peter Alsbjer works as a Regional Library Director in Örebro county but is also a blogger. In his blogs (mostly in Swedish) you can follow impulse from the libraries around the world. I choose to present Peter Alsbjer as a guest blogger today.

Please read and enjoy

Anette Mjöberg
ibrary Director
Hässleholms Public Library


Meanwhile in Scandinavia: Winter 2016   


Here are some recent postings and news connected to Scandinavian libraries etc.:




Links and blogs (in English):


Integration of Refugees in Hässleholm





My name is Anette Mjöberg and I’m working as a Library Director in Hässleholms’ Public Libraries. Hässleholm is a city in the south  of Sweden close to Malmö and Lund. We have one main library and Six branches and 1 mobile bus for our 51,000 inhabitants. I have 25 staff in my organization .

So what do my staff and I focus on? Which fields of work are most interesting and important now and why?  The topics are diverse –  integration of refugees; makerspaces; co-operation; reading projects; and reorganization in teams.

Today I will write about the importance to work with integrations of refugees which  continues to be a huge and very important task for all Libraries in Sweden.

In 2016 29 000 refugees arrived in Sweden compared  to 166 000 in 2015. The rules for getting a residence permit have changed and some refugees choose to return to their home countries when it´s not possible for the relatives to come to Sweden.

Many new methods, arrangement and  cooperative partnership have developed with public libraries to assist new arrivals.  One of the most popular a most usual form are the ‘Language café’

Librarians and volunteers (eg from the Red Cross) help the refugees to learn and to understand the Swedish language.( not an easy language to learn! ). A lot of the refugees are well educated and so are motivated to learn Swedish. They know well that the best way, and sometimes only way is to learn the language to integrate in the Swedish society.

The biggest group of asylum seekers comes from Iraq , Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Eritrea . After trying the ordinary way of ‘Language Cafe’, we are trying to find new ways for the  activity.

Participants at a Language Cafe in Hassleholm

One of branches are going to try another type with a ‘Handicraft Café’ instead. The women asked in the Library for help to repair clothes and now the Library has bought a sewing machine! That´s another Way of learning Swedish,  working with hands. My Libraries arranged about 100 cafes last year and that tell us how huge the need is for all newcomers in Sweden even if several of them are studying Swedish in the school for immigrants SFI (Swedish for immigrants).

We are now organizing a mobile library with materials for going the refugee accommodations, inviting unaccompanied young boys to the library through their teachers and some other activities.

The situation has happily resulted in several special donations to the Libraries for buying books, lexicons, and materials for beginners in Swedish. Some of the contributions made it possible for us to buy IPads and hiring a language trainee who speaks Arabic and want to improve her Swedish.

At a meeting around the integration process in my municipality I explained how we work and what we do in the Libraries and we were congratulated on our work. The  advantage and gain for us  is that other organizations, authorities and Municipality administrations have now discovered the important role of the Libraries in the process!


Anette Mjöberg


Bright idea for young asylum seekers






The Swedish Motala library has received 670 000 SEK to a project where the newly arrived young people will teach seniors manage computers and how the internet works.

The money comes from the non-profit organization Enter Sweden, which since 2010 runs the project IT Guide Sweden. The mission is that newly arrived young people teach seniors Internet using computers, tablets and phones, while the young people come in close contact with the Swedish language and learn more about Sweden.

Motala & Vadstena Tidning/Pelle Johansson

Motala & Vadstena Tidning/Pelle Johansson

– We will recruit and train the newly arrived young people who read the language introduction program at Motala secondary schools. They will then be on hourly employee and given the task of helping seniors. This includes to teach them to surf the web, how to pay bills and how to create an account on Facebook, says Ms Lundberg, manager Enter Sweden.

Two immigrants who today are IT guides will serve as trainers and mentors to the students who will participate in the project.

– It feels really exciting and we know from experience how much the newcomers can learn about Sweden through meetings with seniors, says Library Director Birgitta Hellman.

– We expect to be off and running with it-cafe on Saturdays in October and then we hope to expand to branch libraries. It can also be a collaboration with the elderly care.

Interesting use of statistics when planning library program at Huddinge Library, Sweden






Prior to the development of a new library program, Library Director Nick Jones and the library responsible at Huddinge library analyzed library statistics and inserted it in a broader context. They have taken into account socioeconomic factors, public library use (non-library users), and geography to better plan future needs for library services.

Socio-economic factors will determine how prone someone is to use the public library services. Socio-economically disadvantaged groups use them generally to a lesser extent. The differences in use are greater in the digital services than in the physical libraries.

People living in socio-economically weaker sections of the municipality are generally less likely to travel and / or move to visit the public library.

There is a marked reduction in the use of public libraries in the proportions of the population living outside a radius of 500 meters where from area libraries and 1,500 meters from the main municipal library. Equal access to public libraries is offered today to 43.2% of Huddinge’s population, i.e. those living inside these radii.


One can positively affect this radius of equitable access to supply, facilities, opening hours and by placing public libraries in environments where they are integrated with other social and commercial services. However, this requires resources.

The perceived availability of public libraries as a public place is adversely affected when the public library is located in close proximity to the school premises.

30% of those who currently do not use public libraries would like to do it.

30% of those who use public libraries today would like to make it even greater extent.
(Facts from Peter Alsbjer’s blog)

Nick Jones is available to answer questions about the statistical work and can be contacted at Nick.Jones@huddingse.se


Promoting the development of a democratic society








The Swedish Library Association has now translated the report on the Swedish Library Act Promoting the development of a democratic society into English. The report summarizes the reasons for the provisions of the Swedish Library Act. The aim is to highlight what the parliament and the government wanted to achieve with the law and make clear what it is all about beyond the sometimes terse and somewhat technical wording of the various paragraphs.


Experts in the library – Swedish Library Association Expert Networks






The Swedish Library Association has gathered different kinds of library skills in expert networks. These networks are a resource and a knowledge base on matters concerning specific areas and subjects in libraries. They also offer updated and relevant information about different types of libraries.
The members, often active in practical work, in the respective networks have expertise in specific areas and share ideas and skills. Thus the knowledge is kept alive and current in a variety of library areas. Expert networks are also an opportunity for those working in libraries to develop and exchange knowledge. The networks are open to all who are individual  members of the Swedish Library Association.

The networks are an appropriate part of the compound as a consultative body and are involved in lobbying to authorities. Experiences and tips are exchanged on various platforms, by email lists and social media. At the network meetings lectures are offered in different areas.

Participants at an expert meeting. Photo by Jenny Nilsson.

Participants at an expert meeting. Photo by Jenny Nilsson.

Some examples:
The Network of Experts on School libraries, has among other things highlighted the PISA investigation and how the statistical calculations were made, especially when it comes to reading comprehension. The Swedish Library Association is since many years an advocate for school libraries, concerning establishment, staffing and development. In this work, the network also plays a big role.

The Expert Network for prison libraries, library activities at prisons and detention centers. Among other things, they had lectures and exchange of experiences with Norwegian colleagues, lectures on women in the criminal justice and study visits the prison institutions.

The Expert Network for Children’s Libraries discusses for example children’s reading and the IFLA guidelines for children’s libraries.
The expert networks on Copyright, LGBTQ issues in libraries, e-books and the library’s role in the multilingual areas are some additional examples. The latest expert network was formed in early May and concerns libraries’ work with newly arrived asylum seekers.

There is also an Expert Network for IFLA, where Swedish delegates and visitors to IFLA’s conferences can prepare and share experiences on the conferences and on work that different members of the committees do.

Expert networks are based entirely on members’ commitment and exchange of experiences, skills, tips and discussions. They can also give suggestions on conferences that the Swedish Library Association should organize.

I personally am a member of several of these networks and think it is a great asset and resource.
Lo Claesson, Vaggeryd Public Library, Sweden

LGBTQ at Malmö City Library






Malmö City Library is Sweden first big city library to become LGBTQ certified. More than 125 employees receive training in new mindsets and skills for meetings with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. The training, that is carried out by RFSL (the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights) will be completed in November 2015.



Working with LGBTQ issues in libraries is to stand up for all people’s equal rights and in various ways work with the concrete meaning of this in our daily lives. The aim of this is an open and inclusive library environment. During this training we who work at Malmö City Library learn more about LGBTQ (Lesbian/ Gay/ Bi/ Transgender/ Queer) issues and deepen our knowledge of literature and films in this area as well. The aim is a better meeting with all people of Malmö.

”We work actively for everybody’s right to their own expression beyond the standards.”
For each individual, this means two and a half days of training. Alongside this training, we work with LGBTQ issues in everything from policy documents to marketing.



With regard to practical library work, this entails, among other things, improving our ability to find literature with LGBTQ content and make visible to the visitor where this literature is located, for example by creating rainbow shelves.


On October 12–18, an LGBTQ week was organised at Malmö City Library, with, among other things, a book and comics fair that focussed on LGBTQ.  A game designer told us about queer games and a conversation took place between Malmö’s Free City Author and LGBTQ activist Jude Dibia, Cihan Arikan from RFSL Newcomer Malmö and Jay Seipel from Malmö mot Diskriminering (Malmö Against Discrimination).