Danish Libraries (Part Three) – You say tomato, I say tomahto…

[This post is also published over at www.blogs.denmark.dk – the official
website of Denmark run by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

It’s no secret that I think Danish libraries are fab.  I mean, really, what’s not to love about our local library where children are allowed – nay, encouraged – to crawl along on top of the book shelves? ;D

(‘Where are we?’ Wednesday? – Climbing the Walls)  Or perhaps you’d prefer a free cuppa, in a setting that looks like your granny’s front parlour? (Tea with your Tolstoy?)

Danish libraries are overflowing with things you can borrow.  For free, selvfølgelig.  DVDs, Blu-Ray, CDs, Wii games, wooden jigsaws, kids’ boardgames, books on tape, international magazines.  And even books (and e-books).  And not just Danish books!  German, Arabic, Spanish, Swedish, Italian, Norwegian, French, Turkish.  Even in the children’s section.

But if, dear reader, you’re looking for a novel in English, prepare yourself for an extra hunt.  Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you’re looking for Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”.  You’d walk past 82.7 (Spanish Literature), 82.8 (Portuguese Literature) and expect to find it here in section 83 (English Literature).  Right?

Wrong!  You need to pass ten to fifteen bookshelves, filled with authors from A to Z.  And go round the corner…  To section 83.8.  “American Literature”.

Yep, those crazy Danish librarians split English books into British English and American English.  So you need to know in advance if the book you’re interested in is written in American or British English.  Isn’t that overcomplicating things?  Can’t they just put them all together?

“Aha!”, I said, to the librarian, sensing a tiny chink in the armour of the Danish cataloging system. “What if the author is Canadian.  Is that classed as British or American English?  Surely that’s a grey (or should that be gray…) area?  Books by Indian authors?  South Africa?  New Zealand?  Or books translated from Japanese into English?”

“Well,” said the librarian – playing the proverbial trumph card – “if you can’t find what you’re looking for on the shelves, we can always look it up on the computer.” 😉

Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday! 🙂


Tea with your Tolstoy? :)

I’ve already shown you the terribly high-tech, all singing, all dancing Danish libraries where you’re (literally – boom boom!) allowed to climb on the bookshelves, haven’t I? If you missed that post, it’s here…‘Where are we?’ Wednesday

But the other week I popped in to another local library as they were the only branch who had a book that DS10 needed the same day. Normally we’d just go online and order it to be sent to our nearest library…they send them for free from all over the Danish kingdom. This particular bibliotek (library) is a quaint little place with a white fence, a courtyard with a few tables and chairs and trailing plants…

Inside, it was like walking into a time machine…like stepping into one of those mobile libraries that used to drive round our area in Edinburgh. Oh, how I loved that van, it was one of the highlights of my week!

I found the book that DS10 needed and decided to have a quick look around. There were all the usual magazines and newspapers, Miffy DVDs, gardening books, doctor and nurse romances and, of course, the obligatory computers for use by patrons. There was also a cosy little corner complete with sofa, cushions and an old battered writing desk…

Above the desk there was a sign that said ‘Må vi byde på en kop kaffe eller te’ (May we offer you a cup of coffee or tea?)

And who can resist when the (Earl Grey) tea bags are so daintily presented on an old glass cakestand which is placed on top of a crocheted doily?

I didn’t see any biscuits… But, then again, who wants to find crumbs in between the covers of their library books? 😉

Have a wonderful Wednesday – with plenty of heavy reading and light refreshments! 🙂


‘Where Are We?’ Wednesday – Climbing The Walls

I was going to make this one of my “Those Crazy Danes” posts but, as it’s a dull, dreary Wednesday (in addition to being Hump Day) here in Copenhagen, I thought we should have a little bit of fun. Ready for another little Danish photo quiz? Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…

Here’s DS10 – already at the top – and DD8 climbing right up behind him. She’s wearing her pink ski suit. I took the picture about 10 days ago when we still had zero temperatures. Today, joy of joys, we’re going to reach 7 degrees (45f)! 🙂 But, as usual, I digress…

So where are we? Any guesses? Just so as you don’t cheat and look at the bottom of this post, here are a few gratuitous pics while you ponder. My favourite film….

And tulips I bought when it was DH’s birthday back in January…

OK, back to the quiz. You’ve had enough time, can you guess where we are? Give in?

It’s our local library. Which has book shelves that you are allowed to lie on (DS10) or sit on (DD8)…

Or climb and crawl on. From one end of the library to the other. Don’t forget to remove your boots! This is another picture of DD8. In her Carnival outfit, a dalmation dog 😉

Does your library look like this? It’s a pretty weird idea but is certainly popular with the younger customers 🙂

It’s also a ‘help yourself’ library. When you have a pile of books, DVDs, jigsaws and Wii games that you would like to borrow (for free), you go up to the computer station and plonk the whole pile on a pad. None of that old-fashioned scanning items one by one… And before you can say’ “Bob’s your uncle”, the machine is printing out your slip. When the time comes to return your booty, the library send you an e-mail and, if you like, you can renew the whole lot online. There is no set upper limit on the number of items you can borrow. And the Danes borrow a lot. I’ve often seen people with 30+ books. They even come prepared with a backpack.

When the world around us is changing, whether it’s computer technology, health reform or the bookshelves at the library, embrace the change. Don’t look back! 😉

Have a wonderful Wednesday! 🙂