Hvalsoe Public Library, Denmark – A community pearl by the lake

Written by Library Planet editor Christian Lauersen, director of Libraries and Citizen Services in Roskilde Municipality, Denmark. For how to contribute to Library Planet look here: https://libraryplanet.net/contribute/

The city of Hvalsoe holds a population of 4.000 and is located between the larger towns of Roskilde, Ringsted and Holbæk on the Island of Zealand in Denmark. Hvalsoe is a part of Lejre Municipality and the whole municipality has 5 physical libraries and an archive.

Driving into the city you find Hvalsoe Public Library being located in an almost equidistant triangle between the school, the sports arena and the lake. Especially the neighbor lake gives the library a quite unique location and the library has very well used the lake view in its efforts to create nice and uplifting experiences for the library visit. The Library shares the building with the local House of Culture which is pretty common in Danish public libraries.

The entrance of the library is delightful and welcoming with flower boxes in all the rainbow colors. Walking into the library you are smack faced with hundreds of book covers. It works excellent and inspirational and the wall of books with front covers out, actually serves as a great piece of library décor in itself. The front desk of the library is a front desk out of the ordinary; a light and practical desk made of euro-pallets. I was told it was a front desk prototype that they were so happy about that it got to stay. The euro-pallets are used different places in the library for making book displays and creates a great wodden do-it-yourself décor line through the library.

IMG_0413Colorful flower boxes by the entrance of Hvalsoe Public Library

IMG_0422Books. In your face

IMG_0415Such an utterly badass front desk

It’s hard to see which part of the building that is library and which part that is the House of Culture but I guess that is not important. Significant for the library is that the part that faces the lake is very transparent with a lot of large windows that makes the rooms connect with the outsides. Just outside the library, before the lake, there is a large terrace and a playground for kids. On this day the playground is buzzing with happy kids and their parents and it’s nice to sit inside the calm and cozy library, read a book and occasional look out on the scenario of the laughing children framed by big trees and the lake. The huge windows creates a great and warm light in the library room and the many plants connects with the green lawn and trees outside.

IMG_0416Nice spot. One could sit there all day

The library is organizational and physical combined with the Lejre Archive that collects and preserves materials about the history of the municipality; Stories of local companies, associations, people, buildings, villages and cities in the format of pictures, movies, sound recordings and documents like diaries, letters, accounts, testimonies, manuscripts etc. A key activity in the archive is activation of local volunteers. At my visit 7 elderly volunteers was busy examine and register various types of documents that was given to the archive. But it’s not only for handling documents the volunteers plays a great role. The archive facilitate stories of the local community told by people who have lived and experienced things which they share to their fellow citizens on walks, talks and different events. A brilliant way to activate volunteers and foster citizenship, belonging and local identity.

What else. Oh yes the children’s library had a huge orange cup that I just wanted to crawl into and read all day.

With only 13 people working the libraries and archives in the whole municipality Hvalsoe Library is not a big library. But it is a great library and I highly recommend a visit if one is around those parts

Library Planet greetings

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IMG_0423What a great place to hide and read all day


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