Blågården (blue garden) library is nestled in a culturally diverse area of Copenhagen and plays an important role in the strong surrounding community. The library specialises in youth material, but struggled with attracting this audience. The most common user is the “power borrower”, that uses the online services of the libraries to reserve and book and makes brief visits to borrow and return. From this vantage point we looked at “how a book finds you” at blågården.

Through our initial prototypes we found that the people in the community were open to sharing, but didn’t all see the library as a base within the community. The youth interviewed even said that they believe young people are also more likely to share because they don’t hold the same sentimental attachment to their belongings. We decided to capitalise on these insights and developed a service for people to share their belongings with each other through the library. We called it Blåbyt, or the Blue Exchange.

The items donated are photographed and put onto the blåbyt instagram account. We used a system of #tags to keep track of what items were coming in or being borrowed. Conversations were also encouraged to start on instragram. If people had an item but didn’t know if they should bringing it in, they can place a picture up and #tag it, other users could then request the item. It could then be brought in and added to the library system.

Borrowing is just as easy as tagging it as borrowed on Instagram. After our initial launch we found that not just youth were interested, but the whole community. Blåbyt also extended beyond books as we some noticed residence tagging musical instruments on the service for people to borrow.

Our bare bones service leverages existing social media to connect people with the library. It enabled the blågården community to connect and share their books and belongings through the blågården library. They start conversations and provide valuable insights into trends, topics and what the community is really reading.

In the end the service out grew what our target was and proved that we were really on to something. None of this could have been possible without the amazing cooperation of blågården library for whom we thank for their time and patience in this project.