Libraries and information centres are rarely featured in traditional travel guides unless they are flagship or historical showpieces, like national libraries or famous university libraries. And yet, they are stunningly beautiful and inspiring places!
The authors of this piece love to visit all kinds of libraries when travelling. In fact, Mariee and Christian have dedicated an entire travel guide to this passion! Here they reveal how they built this collection of libraries, and share with us a love and respect of libraries.
Linköping City Library
Librarians with a beautiful solution
We [Mariee & Christian] wanted to create a platform where we could publish articles about the beautiful and cool libraries we visit. If we wanted to share our impressions, we thought that other people might do too. So we wanted to make it possible for other library lovers to contribute.
At the beginning of December 2018 we launched Library Planet. Library Planet is a crowdsourced travel guide to libraries of the world and is meant to inspire all kinds of travellers. From Morocco to Polynesia, Latvia to Canada: we were keen to to demonstrate the huge diversity within the global library community.
A success by any measure
The response has been overwhelming. From the moment we announced the initiative, there has been a steady flow of submissions. For a while we didn’t think we would be able to keep up with the many posts coming in, but we have it under control!
We have been live for about two months and have received 52 library travelogues - with promises of more.
To underline the collaborative nature of the platform we have also had people offer to help us with technological aspects of the blog. We like to think that this reflects the mutual respect and openness that libraries foster in their communities - both locally and further afield.
Blaagaarden Public Library
People love sharing library stories
Twitter is the perfect place to bring people together. We asked our friends and followers for contributions, and people took our idea and ran with it. The joy of this project has been the resultant conversations on social media about libraries and related topics. The library love just keeps coming at us from every direction!
For example, people started to discuss what draws people to libraries, we have highlighted political and social issues around funding and closures, as well as where people like to visit. People are generous and appreciate having a place to celebrate their local library, their childhood library or the cool library they visited during their vacation.
All in all we feel like we have succeeded putting libraries - and a little more library love - on the map.
Aarhus University Library
Which library will you visit next?
We would love to receive contributions from all over the world. We are looking for posts about all types of libraries from the fantastically, grand and impressive kind to the small, personal community hub.
We don’t want an exhaustive walk through all the features in each library, but rather a sense of the place. This is designed to be a travel blog, so we want to know if a library would be a cool destination to check out and why. Think about the following questions:
- What is it like to walk in there?
- Why do you like it?
- Does it support its community in special ways?
- Did you talk to the staff?
- Were they happy?
- Does it have any special features, odd or cool collections or cosy nooks?
- Is the coffee any good, and what about the view or its local environment?
- Are there other sights nearby that a library traveller shouldn’t miss?
And very important don’t forget to send pictures!
About Christian and Marie
is Director of Libraries and Citizen Services in Roskilde Municipality. He believes that libraries are crucial institutions in every community - public and academic - to create an open, more diverse, inclusive and equal world. Also: Music listener, LEGO aficionado, ukulele jammer, football player. Based in Copenhagen. Christian is a frequent presenter at conferences and blogs about library development at The Library Lab: https://christianlauersen.net/
works as a consultant and communications team lead at Gladsaxe Public Libraries. She loves libraries and anything related to them. She nerds IFLA habitually as a standing committee member of the IFLA section library services to people with special needs and is on the board of a special needs publishing house. Mariee also does many things related to yarn, thread and fabric and she will travel pretty far for cool libraries and WWII museums.
She presents at conferences and workshops on matters related to library services to people with special needs.