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A new form of citizen meetings

The Ministry of Culture and Local Government Denmark:
Involving citizens in the future planning of local libraries

What do non-library users think about the library of the future?

– Would the general public come to the library if there were free concerts?

– Do they use YouTube or books to look things up?

– What could a library be used for if there were no books on the shelves?

– And is there a need for a library at all when literature, films and music can easily be found online?

Libraries are changing. In order to plan the library of the future for local needs, local citizens must be engaged in a qualified dialogue. A dialogue that the Ministry of Culture and Local Government Denmark wanted to initiate – especially with members of the public who do not use the library.

Citizen debates with dialogue between the citizens

PLUS Agency planned a different type of citizen meeting in four municipalities to gather experiences, ideas and suggestions for the library of the future. Many people were invited, from school pupils to pensioners, and journalist Anja Bo was the moderator.

Over five different activities, people were given the opportunity to form their opinions by talking to each other and reflect on their need for information, culture and communal activities.

The activities ranged from a riddle based on fiction novels to budget prioritization and sending postcards.

Now the citizens were prepared to discuss with the Minister of Culture, the Chairman of Local Government Denmark’s Cultural, Business and Planning Committee and the Mayor of Rebild Municipality, Leon Sebbelin.

Knowledge gathering activities

The activities were so successful that the Ministry of Culture decided to roll them out to libraries all over the country so they could hold their own citizen meetings.

PLUS Agency, therefore, adapted the activities into a plug-and-play dialogue kit that the libraries could download. Complete with instructions and printable files of all the materials.

With the dialogue kit in hand, each library can hold a complete workshop that takes between 60-90 minutes, from welcome and introduction to summing up.

The workshop is designed for 5-40 participants.

Working with citizen participation?

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