Children’s Library of the Future: 10 Commandments

I just found the latest issue of SCL News.  There are some great articles, like the one on the opening of the first English children’s library in China. 

I was especially impressed by a list of ten recommendations issued by the Danish Library Authority on the future of children’s services in the public library.  Here they are (sorry about the weird spacing):


The committee’s main recommendations are set as

“Ten Commandments”:

1. New competences create new activities in the library

A new media landscape, new cultural habits and different demands

and expectations require the development of new competences in

the library. Library staff must be more visible on the net, facilitate

activities in the library and organise meetings and dialogue with

users where they actually are.

2. The library space must create surprise and inspiration

We need new concepts for the design of the physical library space.

The library must be attractive for children to be, learn and play in.

3. The libraries develop their net services

The libraries create new frames and facilities i.e. by exploiting social

technologies and using staff as hosts and resources in virtual

networks for children.

4. Children play – in the library

The library can turn play and play culture into a central area of

activity. The library can create space for play, make toys and games

available and advise on games and toys.

5. The library gives children reading experiences and reading


The library continues the work on encouraging children’s zest for

reading, reading experiences and reading skills.

6. Create assets in new forms of cooperation between school

library and public library

Schools and libraries can work more closely together and coordinate

services to children. Exploit the various competences of the two

library types by doing things together.

7. The library creates community feeling – also for those


The library adapts its services to children with special needs:

Handicapped, socially vulnerable and children with ethnic

background other than Danish.

8. The library supports learning and cultural development

The library supports formal and informal learning that enables

children to grow and develop competences in coding, creating and

exchanging text, sounds and images.

9. The library must reach out to children

The library reaches out to children and offer services where children

actually move around: Kindergartens, day-care centres, schools and


10. The library’s management focuses on children

The libraries’ management prioritizes staff, money and time – for

continuously rethinking, innovating and locally adapting the library’s

services to children.


I think the Danish Library Authority has it going on.  I think these recommendations are broad enough to apply to most library systems.  Next time (or, you know, if ever) I get asked my opinon about the future of children’s services in the public library- I’m going to whip this out as my starting point.



One thought on “Children’s Library of the Future: 10 Commandments

  1. Pingback: Good Children’s Spaces = Better Behavior « Library Voice

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