Now THIS is a true 21st Century Library!

The Nieuwe Bibliotheek (New Library) in Almere, Netherlands has built a Library that embodies the ideals of the 21st Century library! 

“They redesigned their libraries based on the changing needs and desires of library users.”

What they found led them to follow a model more relatable to their patrons:

“Guided by patron surveys, administrators tossed out traditional methods of library organization, turning to retail design and merchandising for inspiration. They now group books by areas of interest, combining fiction and nonfiction; they display books face-out to catch the eye of browsers; and they train staff members in marketing and customer service techniques.”

Based on feedback from their community they included a wide variety of services, spaces and programming.

“The library is also a Seats2meet (S2M) location where patrons are empowered to help one another in exchange for free, permanent, coworking space, and they utilize the S2M Serendipity Machine to connect library users in real-time. They also have a bustling cafe, an extensive events and music program, a gaming facility, a reading garden and more. The result? The New Library surpassed all expectation about usage with over 100,000 visitors in the first two months. It is now considered one of the most innovative libraries in the world.”

And the key:


“From the beginning, you involved the community to find out what they wanted from the library. What was the importance of taking this approach?”


“We wanted to create a customer’s library. Convenience for the librarian wasn’t leading, but convenience for the customer.”


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6 responses to “Now THIS is a true 21st Century Library!

  1. Amazing. Thanks for sharing. I just applied to a library customer service position yesterday and this makes me feel good about it.

    • Kimberly Matthews

      There is tremendous hope and potential in our profession’s future and we need energized, passionate people. Good luck with your application.

  2. Reblogged this on P. Joy Webster's Official Blog and commented:
    I guess this is the kind of library we should be aiming at. Maybe if our libraries were arranged differently, and books were easier to find, people would borrow more books.

    Food for thought.

  3. Pingback: Have a look at these blogposts and be inspired!  | LBPSB Library Resources

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  5. Pingback: Now THIS is a true 21st Century Library!- Sharing the content of other WordPress library related blogs. | Adriana's Library Studies Blog

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