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6 libraries you need to see

In Norwegian libraries, you can borrow anything from el-bikes to guitars and hammocks. And did you know that our libraries with their outstanding architecture are considered some of the most beautiful in the world?

Nowadays, a library is so much more than just the books on its shelves. It can be a source for groundbreaking architecture, a social hub, and a venue buzzing with heated discussions and intriguing talks. It can even be a place you go to cook your dinner, play the guitar, or mend various broken household items. More and more, we see how libraries extend their reach over and beyond their traditional use.

Biblo Tøyen in Oslo is the first-ever library in Norway where there are no adults allowed. Tromsø has transformed an old cinema into a cultural arena with a heartbeat of its own. In contrast, the modern architecture of Vennesla Library and Culture House has gained worldwide fame.

The brand new doors of the Oslo Public Library (Deichman) in Bjørkvika in Oslo will open in 2020, and there is no doubt that this too will make the list of exceptional libraries. The offers range from restaurant and cinema to digital workshops.

“The Northern countries are far ahead when it comes to reimagining the use of libraries. We’ve had close collaborations with big, exciting libraries such as Oodi in Helsinki and Dokk1 in Århus in order to plan our new building”, says Knut Skansen, director at the Oslo Public Library, main branch. Skansen explains how the joy people get from gathering together is the main reason to expand the library.

“The building is intended to be a free common area to house conversations, discussions, sharing, learning, reading, and so much more”, he says.

Through a self-service app, you will be guided through the five floors of the new library in Bjørvika, and the top floor is nothing short of perfection when all you want is to kick back with a good book and a picturesque view of the capital. You’ll be able to see Langkaia, Oslo Opera House, and a huge part of the Oslofjord.

“The new library is meant to give you the sensation of being in a large and homelike living room. A room you will find yourself in between being at home and work or school,” says Skansen.

1. Stormen library, Bodø

2. Tromsø Library and City Archives