Ringsted Public Library – Virtual Reality, a library container and the smell of coffee

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/

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Ringsted is located in the Eastern part of Denmark on the Island of Zealand. The city of Ringsted has a population of around 21.000. Lucky for those the city has a library – and a very fine and forward moving library that is.

Looking for the library you will not find it in the city center. The library is located a bit out of the center in a kinda normal Danish estate area. This could seem like a disadvantage but it dosen’t seem so – at least not judge on the use of the library the day I stopped by for a visit.

The library is basically a very big one room library with exposed steel construction painted red which gives the room a significant tough. When entering the library the first thing that meets you is not books, it is not the front desk, it is the smell of coffee and freshly baked bread and cake from the library café – nice move, Ringsted. In extension of the café area there is a very neat newspaper and magazine lounge. The lounge is visible connected through giant ‘peep holes’ with the children’s library by next to it, so that parents can take a break with some reading while the kids go nuts in the children’s library.

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The newspaper and magazine lounge with ‘peep holes’ to the children’s library

And what a library for children that is. The library has tapped into the idea of creating stories for the kids and there families through the physical décor of the library; Ships for exploring the sea, shelters in the forest for camping, castles to be little kings and queens. Connected with children’s literature it was all completed and a place you wanted to stay all day with your kids.

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Testing the children’s library

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Just across the children’s library you find the front desk (very friendly staff by the way) and moving on into the library you find the fiction and non-fiction collections on cool white shelves that goes great with the red steel construction. Besides the collections, you find a brand new Virtual Reality zone. The purpose of the VR zone is both to let citizens explore new technology but also to get into information and knowledge in a new way; while reading about the Himalaya in a book you might also like to ‘experience’. I took a trip to Tokyo and I loved it.

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Traveling without moving

Right next to the VR zone, you find some very cool mobile study zones which had the advantages of being bouth flexible and ‘rooms in the room’. The could be used solo or for smaller groups. The study zones where also in the signature red and white colors.

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Ringsted Municipality only have the one library in the main town of Ringsted but reach out to the local communities the have launched Mobibben as a test for the rest of the year. Mobibben is a library container (yes) the moves around different areas in the Municipality. It is unstaffed but the materials gets changed rapidly by the library staff. You access the library container by using the health insurance ID-card (everybody in DK got one of those). Will be interesting to see if the good people of Ringsted will make the library container a permanent solution – I was told that the circulation numbers was good and I hat-tip the creativity and willingness to experiment.

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The library container, Mobibben

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Inside the library container

All in all Ringsted Library was an awesome experience for this library tourist and is very much worth a visit

Cheers

Christian

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