Greve Public Library – a pirate ship loaded with literature, music and life-long learning

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:


Like anybody else I’m prejudiced about stuff. And sitting on the train towards Hundige Station in the outskirts of Copenhagen, Denmark, watching the grey blocks of buildings and gas stations float by my window, I was pretty prejudiced about what kind of library I was gonna visit entering a meeting at Greve Public Library. Gladly, as so many times before, the pictures in my head was proved to be very wrong.

Greve Public Library was just AWESOME!

Faced with music and a huge pirate ship

Greve Public Library is the main library in Greve Municipality located just by the station of Hundige. Besides the main library Greve Municipality got a branch library in the towns of Karlslunde and Tune. Greve is located about 21 km south-west of Copenhagen and can be described as a classic residential municipality functioning as a suburb for the Copenhagen area. Just about 50.000 people lives in the municipality. Coming from the station you have to cross a bridge over a road and then you meet the library in a large building connected with the local music venue, ‘Portalen’. Standing on the bridge taking a 360 degrees look at the surrounding it is not beauty that meets you.

Greve Library as seen from the bridge

Entering the library the first thing you meet is music. A small area of books and vinyls on displays and working stations are located just before the library desk and the area is perfectly filled with some nice tunes – not as loud that it is taking over the room and not as low that it is just ignoring – very nice play, Greve!

A combined turntable and CD player are playing some nice tunes at the entrance of Greve Public Library

Moving further into the library you are faced by a gigantic pirate ship. It really is huge and is dominating the room in a very cool way. The pirates ship is meant as a playground for kids in all ages, it is used for readings and I holds books and journals on display and smaller areas for hiding. UX Jedi Andy Priestner started a little while back that every library should be looking for some ‘wow-effect’ in the physical library design. This pirates ship is very much creating some wow for community in Greve.


Greve Library is almost like a huge one-room library in two floors. On the ground floor you got the pirate ship, kids library, collections, workings spaces, a makerspaces, librarians desk and a new ‘escape room’ just opend the day before my visit. On the second floor you find some great working spaces located by some huge windows, music collection and various other collections.

Lights in the stacks. A nice way to create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere 

A community co-created escape room

The makerspace is one of the better I’ve seen (I’ve seen many bad ones around); Quiet huge, loaded with all kinds of gear for making and pretty neat sat up but also indicating some serious usage of the place. It was both open on regular hours for the public but also highly used for collaboration with local schools and clubs. The ‘escape room’ was a very DIY kinda escape room (not that I have experienced many to compare with) and it was basically a 12 square meters room made of wood with different kind of elements to promote the story and atmosphere of the ‘escape’. An escape room is a mental and physical adventure based game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand. The escape room was co-created with local school classes and it will be interesting to see how the community takes it in.

The makerspace at Greve Public Library

Back office the library had a ‘green room’ for making of social media content enabling the library to work with different kinds of backgrounds in both pictures and filming. Looking at the libraries SoMe-profiles of Instagram and Facebook it seems as a good investment. We got to try it out a bit and it was a lot of fun (who doesn’t like to dress up?).

Yay! Dressing up in the green room

Besides the physical library experience Greve Public Library are investing lots of time and energy into different kinds of programming to face cultural experiences, literature, music and learning. I was told that the library was in the process of switching the take on the programming from facilitating content to actually do the content themselves. This move makes perfectly sense to me on the note that librarians and library workers often are brilliant promoters of actual knowledge about literature, music and cultural and learning engagement so why not put that directly into play.

Sitting on the train on my way back from Copenhagen I was one big smile. One big smile because my prejudiced ones again was being denied and I had an inspiring and great library experience. The community of Greve is lucky with their libraries.




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