Public libraries: A haven in our community

A library offers more than one may consider. The annual data on book loans only tell a small story about how public libraries are needed, and what their importance is to users. To find the true significance of what libraries offer we need to investigate deeper.

The Challenge

The success of public libraries is often measured on parameters such as loans and statistics on visitors. This data may give us insight into how often libraries are used, but not the value they have on communities and individuals. We teamed up with Roskilde Central Library (Roskilde Bibliotekerne) to help with broadening the perspective on libraries and offered a new language on how we talk about the actual value a library has.

The Solution

We developed a methodological framework to investigate and analyse the impact libraries actually have in Denmark. We have named it the Cultural Impact Compass. This foundation allows us to investigate more directly the experiences that culture brings to an individual in the community. Not surprisingly the results confirmed what we had anticipated but couldn’t validate without the (empirical) research. Along the way, we discovered new aspects. One may not have considered that libraries can offer more than book loans to their communities in Denmark and abroad.

We are also currently applying the Cultural Impact Compass on other sectors such as historical museums, art galleries, theatres and cinemas (and hopefully more to come).


Andreas Linnet Jessen
+45 31 15 89 45



Jorcks Passage 1B, 4.
1162 Copenhagen K
+ 70 27 03 10

CVR. 30708075
See our data policy here


Sign up and receive our newsletter with stories and inspiration related to our work

Stay updated

Sign up to receive our newsletter with updates 
on experiences and digitalisation.

Pssst. It’s in Danish - sorry foreigners