By: Honore Bray, Missoula Public Library Director
Storytelling is a fundamental part of both libraries and museums, and it should add to the magic visitors should experience at both. Kulturhuset in Stockholm offers such magical experiences for all ages.
Stockholm’s museum-library culture warehouse is alive with rich color, texture, and features that add creative excitement. Young children crawl through nooks and
crannies, finding the perfect place to settle in for an adventure of their choice, while others climb the spiral staircases leading to the perfect read for the day. Moving through the seven libraries in the Kulturhuset, the experience is special and varied for every age, a totally different feeling than the Central library, which offers a historical perspective.
The children’s storytelling tower is painted in deep blue, featuring a painting of fairy tale whimsy filled with the whine of the subway bringing the dragon to life. Since the 1920s, residents of Stockholm have had the opportunity to view this beautiful site. As Stockholm’s Acting Director of Culture Inga Lunden told us: “Every child has the right to have a story told to them and every child has the right to tell a story.” With the great spaces created in the Stockholm Libraries, children of all ages are experiencing magic every day.
Twenty-first century libraries will continue to meet the needs of the communities they serve as libraries have for the past centuries. As Lunden pointed out, the difference today is that partnerships will be driven by the needs of diverse users and communities. She feels the strength or muscle of the library will be provided by the strength of the partners’ creating the whole, which is certainly the goal in Missoula.