The plan came about a few years ago… We were busy developing new forms of public library work and wanted to design libraries that could accommodate active forms of knowledge development and sharing. But what would that mean for the architecture of public libraries? Existing programs of requirements didn’t provide us with an answer to this question. And so we embarked on a search for the new role of the library and specifically for the architecture and form language that would do justice to it. We wanted to develop a new typology for public libraries, a new building type with its own readable architecture.

We first discussed this with renowned Dutch architects, who have built public libraries all over the world. How did they come up with their design, what vision was it based on and how do they look back on it now? The interviews, that turned out to be very interesting and informative, were published in the 2018 edition of Bibliotheekblad, the Dutch magazine for public library professionals.

Once all the interviews had been published, several colleagues suggested we should bundle them in a book. And we actually thought that was a good idea. It would be a unique opportunity to create a book exclusively about the architecture of public libraries. We think there’s a need for that, because for all we know, existing books about library architecture do not distinguish between public, special, scientific or university libraries. Therefore they do not consider the specific changes that public libraries are facing.

And so we approached the renowned publisher
nai010, specialised in high-quality publications in the fields of architecture, urban planning, art and design. The publisher immediately responded with enthusiasm. In order to reach a large audience, they want to publish the book in an English edition. The book will contain the interviews we held, placed in the context of the ideas on contemporary library work that we developed ourselves. Therefore the book can be read as a search into the changing role of public libraries in society and its significance for the architecture of library buildings. We think it’s a unique opportunity to inspire architects, librarians and policymakers to work on a truly innovative architecture of public libraries.

More information in the
project plan.