DOK, Delft best library in The Netherlands – celebrating stories
DOK is challenging the notion of library. Located in the commercial/retail precinct of Delft, within a pedestrian zone, it is the site of a former supermarket. As we wait for the doors to open at 10am, so do members of the local community. In the age of the electronic and the instantaneous, DOK has become an important part of the local fabric. A place where people gather, learn, connect, are entertained and inspired.
The culture is to make the library inviting and attractive and a place to belong. This is achieved through different spaces to work, read and relax. There is a cafe at the library’s heart and the coffee and cake can be enjoyed in the library. Interesting spaces are set up for children. Romantic fiction has its own red tinted room. There are no rules to be silent at DOK, but there are quiet places.
Almost like a spine, running through the middle of the building is a staircase, leading to a cafe area and onto the stage for community events. Concerts and activities are held most evenings and the library networks with cultural institutions in Delft. The community can receive benefits with their library card, like discounts for local theatre productions.
Furnishings have been selected carefully, with communal tables, quiet ‘caves’ and interesting comfy sofas and chairs. It is bright and inviting. New media is also available, xbox, wii and audio/video resources are available. This place is really a lot of fun, with friendly staff. DOK has addressed the issue of making libraries relevant in the 21st century, recognizing that it is a sector that has been slower to change. The leadership pushed through change and over time the staff could see the difference that it makes to the community.
The innovation section within DOK develops programs for all of Holland. DOK has been particularly clever at connecting with their community in tangible ways. The surface touch table has a unique software program developed within DOK that enables the community to look at the history of their street and precinct through a vast album if photos from the past and present that have been digitally linked to geographically within Delft.
All this within “the prettiest town in Holland”.