Context

Students considered the following design issues throughout their explorations:

Mission: The government regards the library network as ‘intellectual infrastructure’ – a resource centre in a knowledge society. How does the network currently fulfill that mission and in which ways is it failing? What are the coexistent infrastructures that fulfill a similar role in society?

Inspiration: Libraries are currently designed as enshrined depositories of public information and knowledge. Library architecture tends to reference the classical temple – these are hallowed spaces in which documents are preserved and protected. How can we open the library up to inspire a new generation of users while preserving the tenets of fair and equal access?

Identity: To attract more visitors, the library system has extended its portfolio of services to include Internet access, concerts, art exhibitions, etc. Do these additional services transform the identity of the library or obscure its original mission and core value? If the library can be everything, what should its core activities encompass?

Usage: Surveys reflect a clear segregation between library users and non-users.
Current patrons include large numbers of small children and immigrants, while male private sector employees rarely visit. What accounts for this breakdown? What alternatives have non-users identified to replace the function of a library in their lives?

Community: Denmark’s national library network recently closed 140 municipal library branches and began experimenting with self-service delivery models. What role should libraries play within communities? Should libraries replicate a single set of services throughout the system or could neighbourhood branches reflect the character and usage patterns of local citizens?