The Netherlands has thrown up one of the more inspiring pieces of modern library design in the shape of Bibliotheek DOK (Library Concept Center) in Vermeer’s old home city of Delft.

According to the library architecture resource Celsius, DOK Delft was built “to become and remain the most advanced library in the world,” after the old Delft library was deemed too small and inaccessible for the town’s citizens. The result includes just about every AV, multimedia and connected resource conceivable, as well as printed books.

DOK is a modern, inspiring place where your books, music, movies, games and art borrows and information searching,” reads Google Translate’s version of DOK’s intro blurb. (Surprisingly for the Netherlands, there’s no English version of its website that I can find.) “DOK is also a great place to meet. Through the entire building are seats where you can read, as needed, quiet or a busier atmosphere for work or a nice cup of coffee. We offer you a warm welcome!”

Audiovisual resources within the library include “iPod chairs” with built-in speakers and video screens for streaming. “Patrons can use ‘Tank U’ stations to download Bluetooth content to their phones so they can enjoy it whenever they like,” while Nintendo, Playstation, and XBox gaming consoles are also open for use.

The library even has its own studio for students and community groups to use to shoot videos. Functional areas of the library are color-themed: red for the poetry room, yellow for the comic book and graphic novels section.

Bookcases in the children’s section roll on castors, so they can be rearranged. Tablets and e-readers are available for browsing. E-book lending and free Wi-Fi can be taken as read.

Visitors to the library have waxed lyrical about its benefits. And although it may not be a conservator’s dream, DOK Delft is surely a model for any library designer or city council looking to create a public library that the public will actually use, enjoy, and learn and benefit from.


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