public library

Public Library of the Year Award

  • Background
  • The jury
  • Previous winners

The "Public Library of the Year" award is presented by the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) with the aim of honouring 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 either be newly built, have added a significant extension, or be located in buildings, that have previously been used for non-library purposes.

The award ceremony will take place at the annual IFLA WLIC Congress, which takes place from August 21-25 2023 in Rotterdam. The winner of the award receives $ 5,000. Systematic is the proud main sponsor of the award.

Public Library of the Year 2023

To qualify in 2023, the library must be built and opened between January 1st 2022 and December 31st 2022.  

The Jury



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

Members of the Public Library Section (IFLA)

  • Sander van Kempen, Senior Adviser, KB, National Library of the Netherlands, Netherlands
  • Raneetha Rajaratnam, Deputy Director of the National Library of Singapore, Singapore

Members of the Metropolitan Libraries Section (IFLA)

  • Mathilde Servant, Project manager for innovative services - Library network of Paris, France
  • Flippie van der Walt, District Library Manager for the City of Cape Town, South Africa

Members of the Buildings and Equipment (IFLA)

  • Marian Morgan Bindon, Manager Library Service, City of Parramatta Libraries, Australia.
  • Santi Romero, Architect. Library buildings adviser, Lecturer and Teacher, Spain
  • Margie Kirkness, Manager Libraries & Museum, Shellharbour City Council, Australia
  • Winner 2023
  • Winner 2022
  • Winner 2021
  • Winner 2019
  • Winner 2018
  • Winner 2016
  • Winner 2015
  • Winner 2014

Award winners

What are the benefits that you, as a library, may gain from participating in the award? Perhaps your institution will receive attention and recognition 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 2023

Barcelona Libraries City Network

Barcelona Libraries City Network

“This recognition is not only for Biblioteca Gabriel Garcia Marquez It’s for the entire team of Barcelona libraries, the library team, the architects, and the municipality of Barcelona. It’s a gift for the citizens. The democratic and social rights and values are key to our library. This recognition is an award for the Barcelona people.”

Winner 2022

Building in Missoula

Missoula Public Library, United States

“The IFLA/Systematic award has renewed a sense of pride in our community for what can be achieved when we come together in support of a vision. Winning the award has presented us with countless opportunities to continue telling the story of how an investment in world-class design can result in something that both reflects the heart of our community and inspires visitors to see our community in new ways.”

Winner 2021

building in Norway

Deichman Bjørvika, Norway

“After being named the Public Library of the Year 2021, we have received positive media coverage as well as increased public awareness and recognition of our new library. We see the award as a brilliant way to promote and acknowledge all the hard work that we have delivered in regard to creating one of the best libraries out there.”

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."

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."

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