Tag Archives: Sweden

Halmstad Library, Sweden

Halmstead 2
Photographer: Adam Mørk

Name of the Library: Halmstad Library
Parent Organisation: Halmstad Municipality
Street Address: Axel Olsons gata 1
Postal Address:300 04 Halmstad, Sweden
Telephone :+46 035-13 71 81
Web Address:bibliotek.halmstad.se
Library Email:stadsbiblioteket@halmstad.se

Type of Library :Medium size town library
Population served:95,000 (625,500 visitors per year)
Project Type: New Building
Size (square metres):8,000 sqm
Date of Completion:2006
Architect: schmidt hammer lassen architects

Photographer: Adam Mørk
Photographer: Adam Mørk


Halmstad Library is set within a park next to the Nissan River, overlooking the historic centre of Halmstad. With its atrium encircling a large existing chestnut tree becoming its fulcrum and the long concave facade with double-height glazing distended between the seemingly floating floor-plates, nature, the seasons and the city all become part of the library.

Inside, the library is essentially a single open space, flexible and highly legible: an open structure which allows an active interplay between the columns and the trees outside. The double-height glazing of the concave façade creates a welcoming, transparent ambience. The atrium is the focal point that creates an instant overview and connects the library’s three floors vertically.

Photo: Adam Mørk
Photo: Adam Mørk

Surrounding the atrium is the information plaza: a dynamic zone containing the reception area, computer terminals, exhibitions, a café, and stairs to the balcony and the stacks in the basement. Around this zone looking out in the direction of the façade and the views, the various sections unfurl, breathing their own tranquil atmosphere, affording users space to ponder or be drawn in.

The library is extended across the wide expanse of the Nissan River like a bridge linking the historic part of town and the new urban development area, formerly divided by the river for hundreds of years. A square in front of the library creates a new urban space which can host a range of civic activities.

The library is constructed of few and simple materials: concrete, glass and Nordic larch flooring that interact effectually with the exterior surroundings. The Library is raised above street level on a forest of columns echoing the trees surrounding the building. The grass roof of the building is a sustainable solution, reducing UV penetration and the need for drainage, as well as providing additional insulation

2006, Nominated for the Kasper Salin Award
2006, The Architecture Prize of the Municipality of Halmstad 2007, Awarded the Helgjutet-prize from Swedish Concrete Industry


Växjö City Library, Sweden

Vaxjo City
Photographer: Adam Mørk

Name of the Library: Växjö City Library
Parent Organisation: Växjö Municipality
Street Address: Västra Esplanaden 7
Postal Address:  351 12 Växjö, Sweden
Telephone :  +46 0470-414 44
Web Address: http://bibliotek.vaxjo.se
Library Email:  stadsbiblioteket@vaxjo.se

Type of Library : Medium size town library
Population served:85,000
Project Type:  Conversion, New Building
Size (square metres):3,850 m2 new build. 3,100 m2 conversion
Date of Completion:2003
Architect: schmidt hammer lassen architects

Vaxjo City 2
Photographer: Adam Mørk


Växjö City Library sits in the cultural centre of the city and comprises a new build extension and a sensitive refurbishment of architect Erik Uluot’s building from 1965. The extension is an independent circular volume that matches up with the existing square library.

With a base of light-toned natural stone terminated at the top by an unbroken band of glass, the new building appears as a simple, balanced juxtaposition of stone and glass. Visual weight below and an apparent lightness above – exactly like its sister building but with the order reversed. The interconnecting building sensitively mediates contact between the circular building and its quadratic counterpart.

Photo: Adam Mørk
Photo: Adam Mørk

The circular atrium is the new building’s unifying element. Extending up through the library’s three storeys, long flights of straight-run stairs present a linear contrast to the geometry of the circle. Between the atrium and the building’s façade are the library’s
many functions located, positioned as freestanding furniture pieces on the light-toned wooden floors at each level. 

2004, Växjö Municipality Architectural Prize
2004, Nominated for the Kaspar Salin Prize
2005, Kronoberg Län’s Architectural Prize





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: http://www.malmo.se/bibliotek
Library Email: stadsbiblioteteket@malmo.se

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
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasper_Salin_Prize 1997
http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasper_Salin-priset  (år 1997)

Stadsbyggnadspriset = Urban Development Award 1997

Akademikerförbundet DIK’s award, “Library of the Year” 2003

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.




Alby bibliotek, Norsborg, Sweden

The entrance of Alby bibliotek
The entrance of Alby bibliotek

Name of the Library: Alby bibliotek
Parent Organisation: Bibliotek Botkyrka (The libraries of Botkyrka)

Street Address: Albyvägen 6C
Postal Address: SE-14559 Norsborg, Sweden
Telephone : +46(0) 8 – 530 629 80
(incl Country code)
Web Address http://bibliotek.botkyrka.se
Library Email alby.bibliotek@botkyrka.se

Type of Library: Small Community Library
Population served: 12 000
Project Type : Conversion
Size (square metres): 450
Date of Completion: April 2008
Architect: SandellSandberg arkitekter (Erik Möller and Ida Wanler)

The interior seen from above with the characteristic green round shelves, the red ceiling and the place built study places to the right.
The interior seen from above with the characteristic green round shelves, the red ceiling and the place built study places to the right.

Consider such things as  external and internal design and features, location, partnerships, environmental sustainability, innovation, accessibility, programs and services

Alby bibliotek is a small community library in a multi-ethnical suburb to Stockholm. The entrance is spectacular with its round ceiling and big neon sign and the interior challenge the common view of a library with its roundly shaped green bookshelves and place built study and computer tables.

Alby bibliotek has a big range of activities, many of them in co-operation with other organizations of the local community, for example:
• Svenska med baby (Swedish with babies) – bring your baby to the library and practise Swedish together with other parents.
• Language cafés in English for youth.
• Film-making projects for youth.
• Help with homework in co-operation with the Red cross.
To ensure that the library is a safe place to be in Alby bibliotek co-operates with local organizations for ex-cons who make daily rounds in the library.

The entrance to the children’s department with windows towards the street
The entrance to the children’s department with windows towards the street

Alby bibliotek has 34 weekly opening hours between Monday and Saturday and is easy accessible by subway from the central parts of Stockholm.

Alby bibliotek is the world’s greatest library – for the residents of Alby!

Awards, case studies, further information
A case study that examines the new media presentation system in Alby public library (in Swedish): http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:721740/FULLTEXT01.pdf

Master thesis about the term elasticity and the relevance and function to apply it to public library organisations, with Alby bibliotek as one of the investigated libraries: http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:562588

Master thesis about librarians and library managers in the three Stockholm suburbs of Alby, Fisksätra and Rinkeby and how they think and reason about the role of public libraries in the integration process: http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:421703

Articles about Swedish with baby which 2014 got the annual Wendela award from the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet: