Guest Blog Post by Christine F. Smith
From the beautiful spiral staircase of the Handelingenkamer Parliamentary library to the literal Book Mountain in Spijkenisse to the train station library in Haarlem, The Netherlands are an architectural haven for librarians and library-lovers alike. One library of particular architectural interest is the DOK Library Concept Centre (or “DOK”) in Delft. Built in the late 2000s the DOK is a veritable playground for the senses.
In 2008, blog “The Shifted Librarian” called the DOK the “Most Modern Library in the World” and Information Today did a cover piece on the DOK’s innovations. The following year, the library was highlighted in Architecture Week, and Library Journal named its creators Movers and Shakers in 2009. Indeed, Museum of the Future holds that even years after all of this recognition the library “still made a tremendous impression.”
So what is it that made the DOK so interesting in the library world? For starters, the Library Concept Centre came from a merger of art, music and traditional print libraries, each of which hold their own spot in the physical space, collections and programming. Library members can check out a book, a CD or a work of art while visiting the DOK. Beyond that, visitors can notice unique architectural qualities, from the red romance room to the children’s comic book space.
I had the pleasure of visiting the DOK in May of 2013, and while the DOK space is now a few years old, the DOKLAB — a workshop housed inside of the DOK– continues to embrace change and generate innovative library initiatives for the DOK and other libraries around the world. One of their most recent creations that was demoed for us during our visit was the Bookbuster, “a multitouch application to promote reading among primary school children”. And while the DOK, like all institutions had its shortcomings, it was great to see that they still continued to move towards innovation.
Christine F. Smith, MLIS, has a passion for supporting communities and connecting people with information. With previous experience in public, academic and special libraries, she currently holds a school librarian position in Quebec, Canada and is an active member of her provincial, national and international library associations. She can be found on Twitter @bibliosmith.