The Black Diamond (Royal Library) in Copenhagen was the first building that I visited on my tour of innovative libraries in Europe. It is a modern extension to the Royal Danish Library's old building on the waterfront. It opened to the public in 1999.
The addition of a glass atrium, which creates a bright and organic central space in the library, provides the library with a multifunctional entertainment space. Its facilities include an auditorium for 600, concert hall, theatrical performance and conference space. A travellator links the ground floor facilities to the main floor of the old reading library.
The library is well situated in a business community – the new atrium is an attractive spot to have a meal. It offers a café and restaurant as well as outside dining space.
At the time I visited, there were a few diners in the restaurant, mainly individuals having business lunches. The café was crowded with young professionals and students meeting over a light lunch. Some brave individuals were sitting outside on the waterfront – there is the option of buying sandwiches from the café and eating outside. There were about 30 individuals enjoying a stand-up buffet lunch on the ground floor.
What learning for UK libraries? In an age in which the ‘middle classes’ are attracted to coffee shops with wifi, which are easy meeting and eating spaces, one way of continuing to attract people to libraries is to incorporate reception, dining, and events spaces.