What is a community center?

A community center in the Aarhus way is basically a rethinking of the classical library. Some of the elements are:
  • The classic library - collection, guidance, meeting rooms, exhibitions, activities on learning and reading
  • Open library (with no staff and people use the library on their own, from the age of 14)
  • Professional trained staff 
  • Citizens service 
  • Commits local community in new ways
  • Co creation of services with the community
  • Activities run by or in collaboration with local citizens, associations and companies
Depending on the local community you’ll see different variants of the community center as the most important thing is that it reflects the local community. You’ll also see that staff are visible out of the library eg for faires, supermarkets, summer parties as it is part of the community center strategy.

Aarhus Public Libraries are always looking for co operation and partnerships with organizations, schools, volunteers etc who have good ideas for the community and where it is possible for the library to play a part.

The definition of a community center is from the Policy for Citizens’ Services and Libraries, 2015-2018.
What do you need to create at community center?: 
Here are some of the elements we have experienced are important:
  • Knowledge about the local communities and interaction with local communities 
  • Relationships with communities – reaching out and be visible
  • Curiosity, gathering and learning from experience 
  • Knowledge about methods you can use for involvement of citizens
  • Prototypes, observations and more design thinking tools
  • Library rooms that support ways to be together in 
  • Time and planning 
  • Co-workers to cooperate with - interdisciplinary cooperation 
  • Colleges who can be involved 
  • Support from management and colleges
  • Common methods and sharing experiences 
  • Not be afraid to ask questions and to say “Yes, we made a mistake”
More information?
Questions regarding the community center can be directed to Head of library services: Susanne Gilling, email: sgi@aarhus.dk or to the library's main mailbox: post@aakb.dk