Erik and Jaap, the Shanachies, run the Delft Library (DOK) Concept Center. DOK won an award for the best library in the Netherlands, which is largely due to the staff working there. The community is the most important part of the collection. For example, the pictures in DOK’s annual report are those of neighboring shop owners and their products. Everything in the future will be mobile. At DOK, for example, you can get audio books downloaded to your mobile phone by Bluetooth.
A library cannot be without games. It’s all about people and what they want. If we care for them and allow them to share their stories, we have done a great job. The library becomes the place to be. DOK even has a download station at the Schiphol Airport library (the first library in an airport in the world).
The library was designed by 2 architects–one for the outside of the building, and one for the interior furnishings, etc. The offices are directly connected to the library so the staff can see and hear what is happening. Bookshelves are made of cheap material so that moving them around or shrinking the collection is easy. In the youth department, the shelves are on wheels so the reading area can be transformed into an area for activities. Bookshelves have no top shelves because those shelves tend to just collect dust. All art works are digitized and can be borrowed for lengthy periods to decorate the borrower’s home. Floors are brightly colored and are hard, not carpet.
The entire library is self-service. Cards track loans, returns, charges, etc. The ILS was built in-house in 8 months by 3 programmers. It has been licensed to other libraries in the Netherlands.
There is always music playing in the library, but there are also quiet spaces for reading, research, etc. Most of the staff move around mingling with the users, so there is only one small reference desk.
Signage runs on the Nintento Wii. Branding is very important; the library has an old bus that is used around town.
Gaming has long been promoted in the library. Large companies sponsor games in the library, with the result that sales of games at local stores increased. A mobile game station can be put anywhere in the library.
We need more industrial designers of libraries.
4,000 people have come from all over the world to tour the library. Here are some of the things they have seen.