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Knut Skansen

Director of Deichman Public Library, Oslo

Repositioning the public library – a case study of Oslo Public library Deichman

Short abstract of lecture ( 45 min):
Oslo public library, founded in 1785, consists of 22 libraries. During the last 10 years, almost all branch in the city have undergone an extensive upgrade and refurbishment. At the core of the design process is strong focus on social interaction and creating “public living rooms” for the communities. The development has repositioned the libraries in the city and made them more relevant than ever. This development culminated with the opening of the 20.000 square meters big Deichman Bjørvika, the new central library, in June 2020. Deichman Bjørvika has already reached the goal of 2 million visits per year despite the effects of the pandemic. In this lecture, the focus will be on the design process and development of the rooms as well as the change in staff competence, use of technology and user involvement. At the end of the lecture, I will draw up the major strategic lines for Oslo Public library for the next years.

Knut Skansen is originally from the town of Drammen, but now resides in Oslo, the capital of Norway. Skansen holds a Master of French philosophy and literature from the University of Oslo. From 2001 to 2009, Skansen was General Manager of one of the oldest hotels in Oslo – Hotel Bondeheimen, known as the hub of writers, artists and politicians from all over the country when coming to Oslo. In 2009, he joined Deichman, Oslo’s network of public libraries, as Project Manager for the city’s new main library. Skansen filled the position of Interim Library Director for Deichman from 2016 until 2018. Since 2018, he has served as Library Director for Deichman. On June 28, 2020, the city of Oslo opened its new main library, Deichman Bjørvika. The Deichman network currently consists of 22 libraries.

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