35 libraries from 19 countries were in the running, but just five have been shortlisted for the annual prize to be acclaimed 2018 Public Library of the Year, awarded to a public library that is either newly built or set up in premises not previously used for library purposes.
The jury consists of members of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and the main sponsor, Systematic, judging on six criteria, including the extent to which the library takes into account new digital development, local culture, sustainability and the wishes and needs of the users.
Two European libraries make the shortlist, along with one each from the USA, Brazil and Singapore.
According to Systematic –
Brazil’s Bibliotecha Parque Villa-Lobos is a,
bright and open environment…which makes it an attractive place in which to spend time. In addition, it is highlighted as a very active library, the interior design and architecture of which enable activities of many different types to take place.
As regards the Tampines Regional Library in Singapore, Systematic explains the library has been nominated because,
by facilitating sports and leisure interests, library and citizen services, this library has become a centrepiece for the citizens of Singapore. In addition, the jury emphasises the open space and floors of the library, which are targeted at different age groups.
For the Austin Central Library in Texas, USA, the nomination is,
for its focus on sustainability, featuring its own energy production and rainwater systems, as well as its high flexibility – in terms of interior design and furniture.
In Europe KopGroep Bibliotheken (School 7) in the Netherlands makes the shortlist,
based on the success of the library in integrating with its surroundings and the cooperation with the local theatre, café and university. Another explanation lies in the interaction between old and new architecture, which harmoniously emphasises the best of both.
And finally the Norwegian public library Deichman Biblo Tøyen in Oslo, is in the running for its,
extensive user involvement, which is reflected in the interior design. In addition, the library’s efforts for vulnerable young people for whom the library acts as a change agent, in cooperation with local organisations and professional specialists.
This image from Deichman Biblo Tøyen perhaps best shows the inclusive focus on young people:
The winner will be announced August 28 during the IFLA Annual Meeting in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur and a cash prize of $5,000 accompanies the award.