Written by Ekaterina Vasileva
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The Furuset Library and Activity House in Oslo, Norway, is quite far from the city centre but gets more visitors than some central libraries. That’s because this house – which has a library, a youth centre, and a volunteer centre – is deeply rooted in the local community.
We were in this library with my colleague when we were working on video stories about the Norwegian libraries. We did this for a project that is as called as this website – The Library Planet. I will talk about it below, but first I want to tell you about this wonderful, very conceptual library that impressed us.
A couple of years ago, there were some problems in the Furuset area. There were many gangs and a high crime rate. That is why various municipal and public organizations decided to organize a special youth center, where young people could spend their free time, socialize, attend educational and entertainment events, etc. So this center was meant to prevent crime among young people. And it was decided to organize it on the basis of the old library, which was renovated and modernized. Before the renovation, about 600 people came to the library daily. Afterwards – up to 1700 people.
Today, this library and youth center is a large, cozy, modern, multifunctional space, also convenient for children and older people.
It has a music studio, where local rappers work and teach youngsters, a dance club, evenings, where young people engage in creative work or just play games, and bicycles rental to encourage people to explore the nature around them.
All in all, young people are provided with various opportunities for leisure-time activities. This library has also a volunteer centre where youths can get help or practice how to help others.
The Furuset library has a café with an Italian chef and delicious food. Young people, for example those who have dropped out of school or lost their job, have the opportunity to work here and gain experience and references. The café is really popular, and the reason why it looks empty in the pictures is because they were taken early in the morning.
“Someone comes to study, do their homework. Someone comes to the cafe, have lunch. Someone is watching a movie, going to dance classes, learning Norwegian. But most of the people come here just have a place to be. To be alone, or with friends, or meet new people. So social function of this place is key. This is a very important function for our area”, – told the head of this library.
You can get more information about this wonderful library, watching the video report created by the Russian project, which is also named like this – the Library Planet: https://youtu.be/Xt07-F6FLmU
The Library Planet Russia is a project of the Russian State Library for Young Adults. With the colleague we visit interesting libraries of the world specializing in work with young people and make short videos about them. The goals is to show librarians and readers, best practices from different countries, best modern libraries, how they work with their communities, what resources and opportunities they give for education, communication, self-development and self-expression. Many people still think of libraries as dusty, boring spaces. Project Library Planet challenges this vision, inspires positive change in libraries, and motivates young volunteers, readers and creative young people to engage with libraries.
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To see all video reports from the russian library planet, you can watch them on our YouTube chanel.