public library

The Public Library of the Year award

  • Public Library of the year
  • The jury
  • News and cases

Public Library of the year

The "Public Library of the Year" award is presented by the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) with the aim of honoring new public libraries.

The award is presented to a library somewhere in the world that has best managed to combine open and functional architecture with creative IT solutions and has included both digital developments and local culture.

To be eligible for the award, the library must be newly built or located in buildings that have not previously been used as a library.

The award ceremony will take place at the IFLA's annual meeting, and with the award comes $ 5,000. Systematic is the proud main sponsor of the award. 

Shortlist for Public Library of the year 2021

Shortlist 2021

Check out the shortlist for Public Library of the year 2021.

The application deadline is closed

To apply for the award, please complete the full-length application form in English. Due to last year's cancellation of the award, this year's application criteria have been expanded so that public libraries built in both 2019 and 2020 can apply in 2021. Be sure to meet all the criteria to be considered.

The application period runs from 15 February 2021 until 15 May 2021.

Members of the jury



  • Jakob Guillois Lærkes, Library Director, Gladsaxe Municipal Libraries, Denmark.

Members of the Public Library Section (IFLA)

  • Leikny Indergaard, Library Director, Bergen Public Library, Norway.
  • Sander van Kempen, Senior Adviser, KB, National library of the Netherlands, Netherlands.

Members of the Metropolitan Libraries Section (IFLA)

  • Siobhan Reardon, President and Director, Free Library of Philadelphia, United States.
  • Carme Galve Montore, Library Director, Jaume Fuster Library. Consortia of Libraries of Barcelona, Spain.
  • Stanley Tan, Director, Library Planning and Development, National Library Board, Singapore

Medlemmer fra Buildings and Equipment (IFLA)

  • Marian Morgan Bindon, Manger, Library Service, OxfordShire County Council, United Kingdom
  • Santi Romero Garuz, Architect. Head of Library Architecture Unit, Library Services Management Office, Diputació de Barcelona, Spain
  • Winner 2019
  • Winner 2018
  • Winner 2016
  • Winner 2015
  • Winner 2014

Previous winners

The hunt for the next winner of the Public Library of the Year has begun. But what do you as a library get out of being part of it?

Recognition and attention both internationally and locally.

Get to know more about what the previous winners have gained from winning the Public Library of the Year award and thus the title of the world's best, new public library.

Winner 2019

building in Finland

Oodi Helsinki Central Library, Finland

"Media coverage has made it clear to the public as well as various decision-makers how important a role libraries play in society. Helsinki residents, the mayor, and other public decision-makers are increasingly proud of their new library because of the award of this award."

Winner 2018

a small red brick building

School 7, Den Helder, Netherlands

"People from all over the world come to see School 7 with their own eyes. Winning the Public Library of the Year award was a wonderful recognition of our hard work, and it motivates us to continue on the long path. School 7 has become "the city's residence" with many activities dedicated to many different people. Both local and out-of-town visitors come to see School 7, which continues to happen, even months after receiving the award."

Winner 2016

Dokk1 in Aarhus

Dokk1, Aarhus, Denmark

"In press releases, this award is often mentioned as a stamp of positivity. It was an important recognition that made both employees and citizens in Aarhus proud, and which has helped to put libraries on the agenda. There has been great national and international attention around Dokk1, and at the same time, it has been clear that the award was a strong contribution to the narrative of how libraries are developing positively."

Winner 2015

children with computers

Kista Bibliotek, Stockholm, Sweden

"Since 2015, we have had 50,000 more visitors per year. We are still visited by students and companies who are interested in our library and who want more knowledge about how we work. After we won the Public Library of the Year award it became much easier for us to make new contacts and collaborations."

Winner 2014

a huge library

Craigieburn Bibliotek, Hume City, Australia

"The award gives so much international recognition. Winning the opening award of the Public Library of the Year was an extraordinary experience for us at Hume Libraries. It gave us recognition and confirmed that our thoughts on modern public library design are in line with the international expectations in this field."