If you ever visit Stockholm then one place well worth visiting won’t be found in most of the tourist guides. It isn’t an art gallery, it isn’t a museum, but it is filled with glorious treasures all the same.
Better than that, it is designed specially for its key audiences, and it is a model for ideas that you can take home with you to encourage all your fellow townsfolk and citizens to demand for your own town or city.
I am talking about the Children’s Libraries. And yes, that is in the plural, for there are three different libraries for different age groups. The first is for children up to ten years old. It’s called Rum for Barn (Room for Kids) and it is wonderful.
Tio Tretton is the second. No adults or younger brothers and sisters are allowed. It is solely for the age group mentioned, thus giving them the space and freedom that young teenagers crave. And there is a young adults’ library as well.
The library for those up to ten is amazing. We were greeted by a lady with a small dragon on her lap. Apparently dragons are always busy in the area around Easter and in fact there was a display of various sea and water dragons’ eggs in one of the auditoriums.
Some of them were getting ready to hatch and children were encouraged to take part in helping them. Apparently dragons need lots of stories and tales to hatch which is why they use libraries as nesting places for their eggs.
Children are encouraged to tell stories to the eggs and to name the dragons who are about to hatch and there are a number of other quests or activities that children can take part in.
There is also an Art and Design room for the more creative children and soundproof booths where parents can sit with their children to read stories without any distractions. Although there were clearly one or two parents and grandparents taking the opportunity to grab a few minutes chill out time in them as well! One person was chilled out so much that he was snoring. Fortunately the soundproofing worked superbly!
There are areas to let off steam and to clamber and explore, as well as a much used seating and eating area, where kids were refuelled before their next adventures. Oh and as befits every Scandinavian public area there were plenty of baby changing facilities and loos. If nothing else, could we all learn that from our northern neighbours!
I watched children trying to carry old suitcases or staring open mouthed at the old radio sets and the washing hung up in the kitchen to dry. And there was even a rowing boat they could clamber in and out of to see what it was like.
The book, Sister from Over the Sea, (Or its Swedish Title that I cannot remember) is well worth a read! Then it was time to pull on our shoes and coats and head home for a well earned rest!