What is it?
Bogpausen is an extension of the library into the public space. It is an easy to browse and easy to use bookshelf being set up outside the library, where people have their daily routines.

Who is it for?
Bogpausen has the aim to involve people who usually don’t have time to go to the library or don’t even know about the variety of content the library can provide. Our research has shown that once a person stops going to the library, it becomes less present in that person’s mind. We hope that Bogpausen can bring back the presence of books and the joy of reading to peoples lives.

Why is it valuable?
The library’s goal is to reach every person at least once a week and the Bogpausen expands the boundaries of the library into those spaces belonging to the ordinary daily life of all citizens. In this way it offers the library a possibility to reach those users who have no relationship to the library at all.

Bogpausen frees up valuable storage space for the libraries and allows the library to create an experience that focuses more on quality than quantity. Additionally, adding a Bogpausen shelf to a company might be incentive for workers to share experiences, ideas, form book clubs, and strengthen the community feeling within the company.

How does it work?
Bogpausen consists of a cycle of satellite library shelves. It starts with the library collecting and choosing from its archive books, magazines, videos and CDs which are considered to be ‘good reads’. Good reads are defined as a mix of classics and newer classics, books / media that have value, but not the newest blockbusters. The material is set into small shelves and delivered to different subscribers, such as institutions or private companies. Once the shelves and the content are delivered, the library keeps the content updated, moving it from shelf to shelf and constantly adding new elements.

What were your key learnings?
Discovering the complexity and beauty of the Danish library system. Seeing how difficult it is not only to create good services, but also to make them visible and accepted.

Our Process

Week One – The Context

The library is an historic institution, it has always been there to store and share human knowledge, but it is also an institution changing and challenged by modern technology. It was very difficult to comprehend how vast and enormous the system is, hidden behind the familiar dusty shelves we are used to.

Approaching and analyzing this universe gives immense possibilities of development and exploration but it is as complex as it is inviting. Facing this system has inspired each of us to embrace all its elements and try to find an appealing hot spot to consider, analyse and develop.

Week Two – User Insight
After the exploration phase and the division into smaller groups, the process changed from a general approach to a more focused view of the system and the different stakeholders. The different backgrounds of the actors pushed us towards an open field exploration, which consequently led to the first rough ideas: Considering the library outside the library, merging its branches amongst the people all around the city.

Week Three – First Concepts

We hosted a series of brainstorming sessions in which we invited classmates to join in on the concept generation. This gave us a complete wall of crazy and creative ideas; sketches and thoughts to get inspired from. Clustering, tiling, tagging and moving them around the wall made us focus on different themes, and some ideas stood out for further investigation. The following are some of those ideas:

  • Just be your shelf!: Visualisation of which books you are made off.
  • Pull-down privacy pods: Have privacy even in a crowded place like libraries.
  • Kit of the day: Why not propose a book, a CD and a movie related all together.
  • Give it to your neighbors!: Before the loan ends, pass it on to your neighbor.
  • Follow my life strategy: The library knows important changes in your life, and can suggest related reading for new situations.
  • Audio books in trees: Books read aloud from trees in public parks.
  • Data visualisation: Showing the content of the library on the outside of the library.
  • Context visualisation: Connect different books and media across the Dewey decimal system.
  • Borrow an office: The library as an extension of your working environment, offering meeting facilities, workshop spaces etc.
  • Library on the road: The library comes to you, where you are.

Week Four – Experience Prototyping
We realised that the best support for our concept was to create an inviting and joyful browsing experience. Furthermore it should be easy to transport and set up. As a prototyping environment we chose a kindergarten, reaching the parents coming to pick up their kids. We thought this a perfect testing scenario. We gave ourselves a very limited time frame (everything happens in less than 10 minutes: parents arrive, wait for the kids and go away), and a small space (the waiting room). If our concept could work here, it could work most places.

We set up the shelf with 24 elements (20 books, 3 DVDs and 1 CD) and promoted the service through small pamphlets and personal welcoming on the first day of the service.

The feedback was extremely good, many people immediately started browsing the shelf and really appreciated the effort of the library to get closer to their life and daily habits. By the end of the day the first books started to disappear from the shelf.

Week Five – Solution/Concept
When introducing the service, we received very positive feedback from the first people approaching Bogpausen. By Wednesday in the final week we received confirmation of that feedback: More than 35% of the content of the shelf was taken in less then 3 days! It is great for the group to know that the service we created has been accepted and seems to be working. It now feels natural to think about a wider and more polished experimentation in more scenarios side by side with the Copenhagen Library.

A lot of focus should be put on designing and optimising the backstage of the service.
After many debates the overall view of the service cycle, and through sketching it in video, we reached some relevant technical elements that need to be explored further:

  • Fantastic opening promotion
  • Bogpausen shelves placed around public spaces in the city?
  • Refinement of selection process How do we define the ‘good reads’ better? And can we possibly automate the sorting process?
  • Recycling the book buses
  • Recently the “Book Bus” service of Copenhagen has been canceled. Could we somehow integrate these in our service?
  • On the road sorting. Refining and automating on the road sorting, to help the librarian speed up the service.
  • Book trading. Could we somehow implement the books of the users by allowing them to drop off used books in Bogpausen shelves?