And the nominees for the 2019 Public Library of the Year are...
The jury has now agreed on the four shortlisted libraries for the 2019 IFLA/Systematic Public Library of the Year award. All four will now be considered for selection as the world’s best new public library.
Press release27 May 2019
A total of 16 libraries from all over the world applied to be considered for this international award. The many applicants have now been reduced to four shortlisted libraries, one of which will soon be named the world’s best new public library for 2019.
The shortlisted libraries have been selected by an international jury consisting of members from relevant sections of International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), which supports the award in partnership with the sponsor, Systematic. Systematic is an international IT company that develops software for both the public and the private sector, including library solutions.
The Green Square Library and Plaza, Australia (Read more about the library here) caught the eye of the jury for being both a square and a public space. This is the only open space in a densely populated area and plays a double function in a most playful and original way. The Green Square Library shows that the structure itself may be challenged and reads like the future in a most welcome way.
The site feels cool and sleek under the hard sun, yet warm and playful on the cold evenings. An active field of library and plaza programming bridges the indoors and outdoors. Highly efficient air conditioning systems that employ CO2 sensors and underfloor heating allow the site to be 100% naturally ventilated.
Bibliotheek LocHal, Netherlands (Learn more about the library here) sets the T in transformation and the jury is delighted to include it on the short list. LocHal’s repurposed train hall-library serve as a locomotive in urban transformation - a livingroom of the city that also attract new businesses. Large tapestries serve as flexible walls inside the building and tracks are left in the floor for giant community tables made from old pulleys.
“Work with what you have” is a motto that permeates the project and this adaptive strategy applies to both the architecture, structural systems, climate control and energy use. Even the programming and projects are composed like this. The six theme labs in the LocHal are all created and realized with local partners and citizens.
Soft and light yet rooted Oodi Helsinki Central Library, Finland (Learn more about the library here) earns a solid place among the top 4 libraries. Directly aligned with Finland’s Parliament, this house of the people bridges concepts of equality, participation, citizenship and sustainability. Designed together with the city’s residents, with a focus on the needs of its future users, this project is one for the ages. Iconic exterior qualities and breathtaking interior spaces host qualities like an entire floor for learning activities and a top floor book heaven. With a massive success in visitor numbers in its first months of service, Oodi will lead the way for central libraries throughout the globe.
The final nominee Tūranga – Christchurch Central Library, New Zealand (Learn more about the library here) stands out as a physical and social display of the resilience of both the people and civic life. After the great earthquake shook Christchurch in 2011 an outstanding user involvement process was undertaken for the new central library; and resulted in a place to be with people, for the people. The identity of the library is found in the staircases interconnecting the levels and world-leading structural design for withstanding future earthquakes. The open center invites visitors to move around and explore with beautiful use of materials and light. The library has a strong focus on both children and heritage.
“Public Library of the Year” is an annual prize awarded to the best new public library in the world, embracing user wishes and local culture as well as digital development and functional architecture.
The prize is awarded by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), while Systematic sponsors the actual USD 5,000 prize, which goes directly to the winner library.
The winner of the 2019 IFLA/Systematic Public Library of the Year will be announced during the IFLA Annual Congress, which will take place on 27 August in Athens Greece.
- Public Library of the Year 2018: KopGroep Bibliotheken (School 7)
- Public Library of the Year 2016: Dokk1, Denmark
- Public Library of the Year 2015: Kista Public Library, Sweden
- Public Library of the Year 2014: Craigieburn Library, Australia
In 2015 and 2016, the prize was awarded in cooperation with the Slots- og Kulturstyrelsen (Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces). The prize was not awarded in 2017. However, in 2018 the award was organized by IFLA, which is also the case this year. Systematic has been the main sponsor and prize presenter throughout.