This year, four widely differing libraries have been nominated – from a library in the mountain-ringed city of Missoula in north-west USA to a library in the provincial town of Ogre in Latvia. The award is presented to a library anywhere in the world that best combines open, functional architecture with creative IT solutions and also takes into account both digital developments and local culture.
To qualify for the award, the library must be newly built or housed in buildings which have not previously been used as a library. The Public Library of the Year award comes with a cash prize of USD 5,000 (more than DKK 30,000), which is sponsored by Systematic A/S. The award will be presented at the IFLA’s world congress, which is being held this year in Dublin, Ireland, on 26-29 July.
Ithra Library, Saudi Arabia
Ithra Library in Saudi Arabia, designed by Snøhetta, is a stunning library where different types of stone have been used to create a highly distinctive look. In addition to the library, the 80,000 square meter building houses various cultural facilities including a museum, cinema, theatre, educational centre and restaurants. Eighty per cent of the building is underground, which insulates it from the heat and thus reduces energy consumption.
Ogre Central Library, Latvia
Ogre Central Library, designed by PBR, in Latvia stands out for its extensive use of wood both inside and out, and which, in addition to being sustainable, also creates a warm and inviting look. The windows on the second floor are designed as large plywood boxes with cushions, curtains and dimmable lighting where visitors can create their own comfortable reading booths with views of the woods.
Gellerup Library, Denmark
Located in a challenging area of Aarhus, Denmark, Gellerup Library is a multifunctional building that is characterised by its light, playful and welcoming atmosphere. It's designed by Schmidt, Hammer and Lassen Arkitekter. In designing the library, considerable care was devoted to its environmental, social and economic sustainability. During its construction, the project drew on the skills of unemployed local young people, which subsequently secured many of them jobs.
Missoula Library, United States
Missoula Public Library, designed by MSR design and A&E design, is located in Missoula, in the American state of Montana. The library is a climate-focused design which is inspired by its surroundings and the spectacular mountainscape. On the top floor, visitors can enjoy views of Mount Sentinel and the Missoula skyline.