Copenhagen’s municipal library system is in the process of transforming the ways in which it serves the information needs of citizens. Alternative access to books and shared public information has started to reduce the perceived value of the library system – at the same time that rising operating budgets reduce the ability of the system to deliver on its original mission. Legacy back-end systems increasingly eat up staff time that could otherwise be applied more directly to supporting users of the library network.

Despite these shifts, libraries continue to occupy a place of favour in modern society. In liberal democracies, libraries represent a commitment to fair and equal access to information. For its patrons, libraries inspire creativity, an awareness of the world at large – even public action. The Copenhagen library system is looking for ways to innovate service delivery to meet the needs of current and potential users in ways that connect more directly to their daily lives.