Stockholm Public Library

Stockholm Public Library (Swedish: Stockholms stadsbibliotek or Stadsbiblioteket) is a rotunda library building in Stockholm, Sweden, designed by Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund. The library was prepared from 1918 and onwards by a committee in which Asplund himself took part. Construction began in 1924, and the library was completed in 1928. It is one of the most notable buildings in Stockholm and one of Asplund's most important works. In fact it was Sweden's first public library to apply the principle of open shelves. The visitor could from now on choose books without need to ask the library staff for assistance, a concept Asplund studied in the United States during the construction of the library. There was a group of young architects and artists around Asplund who collaborated on the building project. All the furnishings in all the rooms were commissioned for their specific positions and purposes. The parkland with its large pond, south of the library was also designed by Asplund and completed in 1931. The library was completed in 1932 with a west wing which completed the square form of the building.

The name Stockholm Public Library is today used for both the main library itself as well as the municipal library system of the City of Stockholm. It includes more than 2 million volumes and 2.4 million audio tapes, CDs and audio books.

The "international library" is the section for foreign languages, housed in two floors of an annex behind the main building, close to Odenplan. Its holdings comprise more than 100 languages with 17,000 volumes in Persian, 15,800 in Arabic, and 14,500 in Spanish. In 2007 the most borrowed languages were Russian (19,300 loans), Thai, Spanish, Persian, Chinese, Arabic, Polish and Japanese. For some of these languages, Stockholm serves public libraries in the rest of Sweden through interlibrary loans.

The design of Arnos Grove tube station in North London is said to be based on the Stockholm Public Library.

Future expansion

In 2006, an international architectural competition was announced for an additional library building next to Stockholm Public Library. On November 16, 2007, little-known German architect Heike Hanada's proposal Delphinium won the architectural competition for the grand expansion of the library. The plan includes a glass building, which connects to Asplund's library by a low, podium-like structure enclosing a circular garden. However, few serious architects bothered to apply in the competition, and the final decision on the expansion of the renowned library has been put on hold by the Stockholm City Council due to escalating costs.

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