Posted by: bluesyemre | September 11, 2018

The School 7 Library in the Netherlands (KopGroep Libraries) named the World’s best new #PublicLibrary in 2018

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“You can get married in the theatre or celebrate your birthday in the café. Everything is possible in School 7,” declares Jacinta Krimp, director of the School 7 library in the Netherlands (KopGroep Libraries), winner of the 2018 Public Library of the Year award.

An application field of 35 libraries from 19 different countries across six continents was initially whittled down to five nominees – and then to one winner. The Dutch School 7 public library, placed in the city Den Helder and part of the KopGroep Libraries organisation, wins the 2018 award for Public Library of the Year.

Nominees for the award were:

This year’s recipient of the award has just been announced at the annual meeting of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“The recognition means a lot for School 7, but also for the whole KopGroep Libraries organisation. Winning this award shows that in a new building, with an open and functional architecture, you can undertake many activities that are appreciated by the public,” says Jacinta Krimp, Director of KopGroep Libraries, and continues:

“The inhabitants of Den Helder are proud of their new library, and it shows every day!”

“We want everybody to feel at home in our library”

The winner library was announced by Vice President Martin Brøchner-Mortensen of Systematic, which – together with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) – selects the world’s best new public library each year.

“At Systematic, we are really excited to provide this annual recognition to international libraries that make a difference for their users. As the supplier of a unique national library solution in Denmark – the Joint Library System – it is important for us to also be able to support library work in the rest of the world. We believe libraries play a crucial role in information and education, as well as being a focal point in society,” explains Martin Brøchner-Mortensen.


The winner is selected by an international panel of experts consisting of representatives from the IFLA’s many different member associations. For this year’s winner, it is particularly important that the library is accessible to all the different groups within the larger community.

“We want everybody to feel at home in our library: children, adults, seniors, immigrants and people with language difficulties. School 7 is a real ‘third place’ where you can not only borrow books, but also work, read, take courses or attend activities. You can even get married in our atmosphere-laden theatre, or hold a birthday event in the café. Anything and everything is possible in School 7,” points out Jacinta Krimp.

Becoming the community’s living room

The Public Library of the Year award is presented each year to a public library that is either newly built or set up in premises not previously used for library purposes. Applicants are assessed on six different criteria, including the extent to which the library considers new digital development, local culture and sustainability. In the case of School 7, it was the criterion of “interaction with surroundings and the local culture” that they considered particularly relevant when they applied to be considered for the prize.

“When we started School 7 we wanted to be able to serve as ‘the living room for the community’ – and we’ve already succeeded in that. People come to the library to read, to work, to attend a lecture or to take part in a workshop. Young people study in our library, and new Dutch citizens practice the language. Enthusiastic volunteers teach children programming, children are often read to aloud, and writers tell about their books. People drink coffee in our coffee corner (the Leescafé), read the paper and meet for a chat. All these facilities are now located under the same roof,” explains Jacinta Krimp.

When we started School 7 we wanted to be able to serve as ‘the living room for the community’ 

The prize must cater for the young visitors

The title of the world’s best new public library is accompanied by a USD 5,000 prize sponsored by Systematic. At the KopGroep Libraries (School 7), the prize will be used to accommodate the needs of younger visitors to the library, in particular.

According to Jacinta Krimp, “Children are important in society and therefore also for us. We have noticed that the material we provide for our younger users needs revitalising, so we will certainly spend part of the prize money on buying more children’s books. And, of course, we will organise a party for all our employees and volunteers. They do their best to make School 7 a success every single day!”

”Public Library of the Year” is an annual award presented to the best new public library in the world, embracing user wishes and local culture as well as digital development and functional architecture. The award is made by by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), while Systematic sponsors the USD 5,000 prize, which goes directly to the winning library.

Previous winners:

  • Public Library of the Year 2016: Dokk1, Denmark
  • Public Library of the Year 2015: Kista Public Library, Sweden
  • Public Library of the Year 2014: Craigieburn Library, Australien

The award was not presented in 2017. This year’s jury consists of 7 members coming from the IFLA departments Public Library Section, Metropolitan Library Section and Building and Equipment. The chairman of the jury is Jan Richards, who is Manager of Central West Libraries in Australia.

Read more about the jury members here.!/

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