Eventyr Pakke

Eventyr Pakke connects the library to the Botanical Garden through an interactive story helping to reinterpret historical places for young children.

The project revolves around a backpack to be rented out at the library same as any book. The content of the backpack would introduce a story around the parrot ‘Papaya’ – inhabitant of the Botanical Garden. The interactive experience starts out with a book, and continues its path through an audiobook at different stations in the garden. Each part of the story reacts on the immediate environment at each station, and puts emphasis on imagination and playful learning.

In partnership with the Copenhagen Library we developed a concept over the course of three weeks that supports interactive knowledge exchange and expands the overall service of the library. Our brief was geared towards families with young children – specifically focusing on the question ‘How can families get smarter together?’.

During the first week we started to carefully deconstruct and discuss the initial research question given by the brief, trying to redefine which research objective to follow during the upcoming weeks. The final question read out as follows:

‘How do families with preschool children learn and teach together?’

Rephrasing helped to specifically determine the target group and elaborated further on what ‘getting smarter’ actually would imply in terms of education within families. We developed a research strategy to further identify opportunity spaces and prepare for the following in-depth interviews.

The second week was dedicated to the first iteration of interviews accompanied by more ad-hoc research methods in the field. We chose to focus on three multinational families at first to gain deeper understanding about family life in general, education, and the perception of the library. By running spontaneous guerrilla research sessions at locations such as the Nørrebro Library, the Absalon Kirke, and various playgrounds across the city of Copenhagen we could continuously gather empirical data.

In order to facilitate deeper reflection various research tools were brought into the conversation. We tried to encourage each interviewee to sketch their family structures and respective relationships in terms of learning and teaching in between family members to get an understanding of prevailing hierarchies and exchange of intellectual capital. Furthermore, we passed on an empty floor plan to let parents draw their own vision of the future library. Spontaneous talks in the field allowed for further examination upon the value of teaching and learning within families – investigating in particular the child’s capacity to teach her/his parents.

The analysis of the empirical data provided us six key insights:

Key Insight #1 – Languages
Copenhagen is identified as a favourable place for multinational families. While fulfilling the need of raising their children multilingual, these families develop strong cultural capital together with their children to pass on.

Key Insight #2 – Multicultural identity
Various existing traditions and customs within multinational families can create tensions in terms of social behaviours. By benefitting from an open and honest relationship towards their different origins parents seek to support flexibility and cross-cultural living of their children for the future.

Key Insight #3 – Kindergarten’s role in becoming a social citizen
Kindergartens have a fundamental role in children’s social imprinting. Both private and public daycare leverage ‘play’ and social interaction as important element in the upbringing of preschool children. Library spaces align with these values.

Key Insight #4 – Multifunctional space library
Libraries need to be aware of their role as protected place of integration, where for example non-danish families can occupy their children while following their acute life concerns such as learning a new language.

Key Insight #5 – Digital fear
Parents recognise the problems that come with the use of digital devices for children. However, time spent in front of screens and the progressing digitalisation are acknowledged as inevitable part of the technological development.

Key Insight #6 – Explore nature
Activities in nature are identified as important element of education in the child’s upbringing. Exploration stimulates curiosity, imagination, and physicality – educational elements that parents fear get lost in academic institutions.

We decided to focus on interactive ways of education without the usage of screens, furthermore, we tried to explore the idea of ‘The library beyond the library’. The opportunity space was defined as follows:

‘How might we design a platform of partnerships that expand the traditional offering of libraries in order to foster learning by exploration?’

By developing several experience prototypes, we tried to test different ways of connecting the service of the library to other experiences of educational value such as the Botanical Garden. We created a mobile bookoutlet using a Christiania Bike to give away books supplemented with fictive entrance tickets for entertainment places such as the Blue Planet. In addition, small scavenger hunts inside the Botanical Garden were conducted to test playful ways of book acquisition.

Fostering imagination and playful learning, we used huge posters and stickers to open up the palm house for an interactive conversation with its visitors. Children could question the space indicating their curiosity by labelling and posting stickers around the space. We realized that we provided an experience that would build the inspirational base for our story and concept.