Aars Library, a small local library in Vesthimmerland Municipality in Denmark, worked intensively with the Model Programme’s principles and tools in 2015 to develop an interior design concept on a small budget and based on flexibility and anti-institutionalisation. With just 644 m2 (6,932ft2) spread across one large room, a limited budget and a principle about keeping the library open throughout the entire process, there was plenty of work to be done when refurbishment commenced.
Facts to know:
Location: Aars, Denmark
Opened: December 2015 after refurbishment
Designer: Anne Halskov
M2: 644 (6,932ft2)
Annual visits: 91,699 (2015)
Opening hours: Open library 7-22 every day of the week. Staff present: Monday-Thursday 10-17 and Friday 13-17.
The project was funded by the Agency for Culture and Palaces’ development pool for public libraries and educational learning centres. Further information about the project is available in the project evaluation or on request at the library. The project leader was Mette Nissen and you can access a small presentation she made for the library project here. Since the transformation project has taken place the number of visitors at Aars Library has increased to date approx. +10% and they have seen new users visiting the library. They have also noticed that the library is being used in more ways than before. Both the staff and users are happy with the transformation.
Changes on a small budget
The ‘Hack your library’ project was launched based on a wish to create a library space for people and with space for the many new functions that the library has worked with for several years – inspired by the four-space model. The project also aimed to become an inspiration to other libraries by showing that the Model Programme’s ideas are not dependent on big grants or the construction of new libraries – they can be implemented on a limited budget in existing buildings.
The project focuses particularly on establishing local anchoring through collaboration with the local Kongshøjgaard Production School, with Vesthimmerland Municipality’s Centre for Competence and Clarification, and the inclusion of the library’s users.
Kongshøjgaard Production School helps students get closer to job opportunities and education, and the main idea with the collaboration was to create a teaching case for the metal and textile programmes, giving the students the chance to work with a type of task that they might encounter after graduation.
Similarly, collaboration was established with the Danish Centre for Competence and Clarification about the affiliation of unemployed young people. In addition to Kongshøjgaard Production School, designer Anne Halskov was involved in the project from the very beginning. Anne Halskov was in charge of the visual expression and design, while Kongshøjgaard Production School handled the practical execution and construction.
In addition to these collaborative efforts, the local anchoring of the project was created through a targeted dialogue with the users who were continually involved via interviews, generation of new ideas, inputs for improvements and voting.