Five libraries are in the running, which means there are at least five libraries left in the world, actually one more than I guessed.
I myself cannot enter a library in fear I’ll get caught for my unpaid late-return fines. Hungry Hungry Caterpillar is not a one-time read but apparently this isn’t a good enough excuse to keep the book for an extra couple of decades.
The libraries in the running are:
- Deichman Bjørvika - Oslo Public Library, Norway
- Het Predikheren, Belgium
- Ningbo New Library, China
- Forum Groningen, Holland
- And; Marrickville Library, Australia
Lets take a quick look at the winning factors each library holds.
This library has a gaming zone, secret rooms for children and views of the coast. It also has a secret hidden library. Apparently, Oslo is really into secrets. Is that appealing? Absolutely. Nothing is better than having a private spot at the library; imagine having a private spot no one else can find. If you’re not into the quiet, you can always take a piano lesson – which they also offer.
This library in Belgium has been described by the judges as “poetic” with a sense of “mystique”. It must be so nice. All I’ve ever described my local libraries as is ‘brick’ with a sense of ‘mould’.
Ningbo New Library
The New Ningbo Library is 31,800 square metres. I’ve never fully understood square metres and I should definitely borrow a book to read about it but I believe this means it’s huge. It’s also open 24 hours a day and will see approximately 8000 visitors a day.
The Forum Groningen in the Netherlands is based on the Roman forum. The building contains two towers where you will find the exhibition halls, cinemas, a multifunctional hall and something called Storyworld – I’m going to assume this is a full-blown theme park.
Marrickville Library, Australia
At Sydney’s Marrickville Library you can get food delivered to your lounge chair or you can sit in the garden while using the wifi.
Ok. So The Marrickville sounds a lot like being at home. Where are the theme park and secret rooms?
When looking at each library it is somewhat confusing as to how this little library made it into the top five.
According to the Inner West council mayor, Darcy Byrne, he believes it’s because their library has one thing the others lack – heart (a borrowable box set of Kath and Kim).
“It’s not just a library, it is the town square. It is the heart of Marrickville. It is such a lively place. There are so many young people coming in. It is not quiet or old or dead. It is lively and youthful,” Byrne told Sydney Morning Harold.
It might be a lot smaller than the other contenders but it is a beautiful building. It’s so beautiful it has won nine national architecture awards, three National Trust heritage awards and a landscaping award. I believe any garden where the wifi works will put you in the running for a landscaping award.
Well, fingers crossed our little Aussie library can use its heart to win over the judges.
I’m going to face my fears, pay my fines and start supporting my local library again. Admittedly I have missed being shhh’d by ladies in wool hats.
Main Image: Wikimedia Commons