Hi y’all, it’s Phoebe the American again. Today we’re going to talk about libraries!
Libraries have always had a special place in my heart. When I was a kid, I could earn free baseball tickets from the librarian if I read enough books over the summer. When I worked as a tutor, the library was my office, copy-shop, and meeting place. As a university student, it’s where I go to do my reading when there are too many distractions at home.
Luckily for me, there are two amazing libraries here in Aarhus: the public library and the university library.
The Public Library
Dokk1 is a big, impressive building in the middle of the newly revitalized harbor area. It houses the main branch of the Aarhus public library, Citizen Services, and some meeting spaces and offices. There’s a lot going on, but I think that for most people, Dokk1 is synonymous with the library (and after extensive research, I’m confident that “dokken” is the most common pronunciation).
When I started researching Aarhus, Dokk1 was one of the first things that popped up, and I couldn’t wait to see it in person. In California, the libraries are so underfunded that they have to shorten their opening hours, close on certain days, or shut down altogether, while here in Denmark they’re dropping billions of kroner on new libraries.
Up close, it’s just as beautiful as it is from far away: well-lit bookshelves, cozy spots to read and relax, sleek Danish design, art installations, and a playground for kids. A lot of city events are hosted there, like the (cancelled) opening party for the new light rail line and the official welcome event for expats. Last week I stumbled upon their fall book sale and it was absolutely packed with people. It’s definitely a bustling space.
The University Library
The on-campus library was the “State Library” up until the beginning of 2017, when it merged with the Royal Library in Copenhagen. So now it shares the name Det Kongelige Bibliotek but the website is still statsbiblioteket.dk. Anyway, I’m going to call it the university library.
The main location is currently undergoing renovations, but it’s still a calm and quiet place. It’s a popular place, too — the reading room is usually packed. Students often leave their belongings on the desk to hold their place, which I find rather shocking (why would you risk having your laptop swiped?). I also think it’s pretty rude when people are away from their desks for an hour or more. Running to the bathroom is one thing, but I don’t think it’s fair to hold a seat for that long.
Like Dokk1, the university library is about more than just books. Perks at the main location include a basement with massage chairs, a gaming lounge, and a meditation room. There’s also a popular cafeteria that serves pretty good food for a pretty good price: 35 kroner for a small plate. I’ve seen some guys really get their money’s worth, piling up food so high it threatens to topple over!
Spread the Love
I noticed there haven’t been a lot of comments on this blog lately, but maybe we can get some discussions going again. What do you love about your local library? Do you have a secret for finding a good, quiet study place during exams? Would you leave your MacBook just sitting out on a table like that??