Three kinds of library (book, music, and art) were joined together to create Delft DOK. As former library director, Marikje Timmerhuis, explains, it was ‘a challenge to keep the character of each organization, but also create one organization with one service’.
There is still a large space where customers can visit, touch, and play with its art collection. As Marikje explains, ‘we create an environment with art objects that challenges kids to explore things themselves’. The Delft DOK philosophy for using art for learning is very simple - children can teach themselves. Teachers are encouraged to ‘take a backseat’ which is sometimes hard for them.
There are three artists who work alongside the children. They create new art objects with which the children can play.
There is a glass box with material inside to touch with rubber gloves – called ‘The Incubator’. There are sofas made from plastic – these are totally transparent. The sofas reflect the ‘transparency’ of Delft DOK – ‘we have nothing to hide’, Marijke explains.
The library uses its art collection in its other services such as the Vindplaats - a small school library where art objects are lent out to teachers and pupils. The Vindplaats have art hanging on their walls, sitting on shelves, and lying in piles. Each piece of art comes with information about the artist. Teachers are encouraged to discuss the artwork with their students.
Albeit reduced in size, from 5,000 to 3,500 pieces, the art collection continues to play an important role in the library. Over the next few years, Delft DOK will be involved in activities that help children learn languages – such as Dutch. (There are still many children who are not taught Dutch at an early age in Holland). ‘We invest in children’, Marijke explains. Language skills are a very important to us. How will art continue to play a role?