A Pop-Up Library in the Stockholm Subway

By Barbara Theroux, President of Friends of the Library


Stockholm subway art. Photo by Logan Castor-Parson.

Many foreign cities are known for their beautiful subways, but I had never heard Stockholm mentioned in lists of the world’s top subways to see.  Our trip to visit Bibliotek Kista involved taking a bus and the subway. We researched the bus route and had enough money on the bus pass to get us safely to and from the library.  As we checked the map at the bus stop, a woman asked about the trip, what we wanted to do, and mentioned that we should be across the street to catch the bus going in the right direction.  We arrived at the Central station and went down four levels to catch the train to Kista.  At each landing and station we noticed art, sculpture, carvings and even a waterfall—ways to make our minds off of how deep underground we must have been.

We were intrigued to visit because this library, located in Citycon’s shopping center, Kista Galleria has been awarded the “Public Library of the Year Award 2015”. We also read that since the library moved to Kista Galleria in August 2014, visits to the library have increased by 300 percent, and book loans have doubled.

Rebecca, our guide to the library, met us within a minute of the phone call stating we had just gotten of the subway.  We rode an escalator directly into the library—and what a location!


Stockholm City’s library outpost in the metro station. Photo by Logan Castor-Parson.

A few days earlier we had seen a subway library—one of several that the Stockholm City Library runs.  This small library had places to sit, places to charge phones, and displays of books.  There were “Fast Food Packets” and “Slow Food Reading Bags”—programs that recommend several books on one topic or by a popular author.  There was also a place to pick up reserved titles–library users could go online, reserve book and request subway stop for pick-up.  As the historic Stockholm City Library anticipates remodeling, they have been testing programs at various branches, including the subways.  All part of looking at the needs of the diverse users and communities.


View from the Stockholm City Metro Library. Photo by Logan Castor-Parson.




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