Malmo City Library, Sweden

Malmo City Library.  Photo: Johan Kalen
Malmo City Library. Photo: Johan Kalen

Name of the Library: Malmo City Library
Parent Organisation: Malmo City

Street Address: King Oscars vag Malmo Sweden
Postal Address: 205 81 Malmo
Telephone :+46406608500
Web Address:
Library Email:

Type of Library : Central/ Main Library
Population served:320,000
Project Type:  Extension, Refurbishment
Size (square metres):15,000
Date of Completion:1999
Architect: Henning Larsen

Malmo City Library  Interior from the  Calendar of Light. Photo: Joakim Raboff
Malmo City Library Interior from the Calendar of Light. Photo: Joakim Raboff

The Library is characterised by its trisection with regard to both volume and light presentation. The name ‘calendar of Light”, Henning Larsen’s competition entry in 1992 is expressive and refers to the open reading room on the west side of the building as its undisputed heart. The ‘Palace’ on the east side which was built in 1901 as a museum and has acted as the main library since 1946 is now of secondary importance when it comes to competition and with its introversion contrasts well with the extroversion of the great hall. The ‘Cylinder’ in the middle of this composition of three distinct building entities, acts as the main entrance and the link between the two principal parts.

Flexibility was a key word during the entire planning period for the City Library, and that word has followed ever since. Each part of the Library must operate in different contexts. There must be flexibility that makes it easy to change settings and putting spaces to new uses.

Malmo is a cosmopolitan city. About one third of the population come from a different cultural or linguistic background, among young people the figure is even higher. The multicultural society is a reality.

It is also noticeable that only one third of the Library’s more than 900,000 annual visits result in a loan. This means that two thirds of visitors use the Library for other purposes. If the libraries are to involve more people, then it is important to accept that the Library is about more than books and borrowing, and that some of the resources previously tied to loan activities must be freed for other purposes.

Malmo City Library, night view. Photo: Lisbeth Svensson
Malmo City Library, night view. Photo: Lisbeth Svensson

Awards, case studies, further information
Kaspar Sahlin priset = Kaspar Salin Prize 1997  (år 1997)

Stadsbyggnadspriset = Urban Development Award 1997–bygga/Arrangemang/Stadsbyggnadspriset/Tidigare-ars-vinnare–av-Stadsbyggnadspriset/1997.html

Akademikerförbundet DIK’s award, “Library of the Year” 2003,-priser-och-utmaerkelser/aarets-bibliotek/

Malmö stads integrationspris 2006 = Malmö’s integration Prize 2006

Click to access Integrationspris+2000+-+2010.pdf

Kunskapspriset, nationalencyklopedien, 2006 = Knowledge Award, prize instituted by NE Nationalencyklopedin AB and distributed annually 2002-2011 to prominent distributor of knowledge.





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