Launched in 2009 by Aarhus Public Libraries (Denmark), the Next Library® Conference is now a leading independent gathering of professionals exploring the ever-evolving nature of the public library in the 21st century. Held every two years, the conference spotlights libraries as versatile platforms and key players in modern cities and urban societies. Next Library® brings multipliers and decision makers from over 90 countries together to discuss how our access to knowledge will change over the coming decades. In the interim year of 2018, the leading global format was held for the first time in Berlin in the form of a satellite conference attended by roughly 400 library professionals and innovators.
The content of Next Library® Conference Berlin 2018 was handled by the Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin (ZLB), the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (Germany’s Federal Cultural Foundation) and Aarhus Public Libraries (Denmark). Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH was entrusted with organizing and carrying out the event in and around the Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek.
Kulturprojekte Berlin cooperated with raumlabor – a Berlin-based collective of innovative and interdisciplinary architects – to implement the conference. Their first task was to create a unique library campus in the form of a temporary building designed to strengthen and reflect the “workshop” character of the event both in its structure and its application of upcycling principles. The campus also aimed to function as a creative space that meets the concrete spatial needs of each individual format while also serving specific communication and presentation requirements.
The unique architecture of the Next Library® Conference Berlin 2018 seeked to embody and reflect the urban environment of the landmarked Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek, while also addressing key conference themes in an aesthetic-artistic manner and providing a tangible expression of Berlin’s creative potential. The organizers also planned a library festival to aid in publicizing the themes of the conference and make its unique architecture as accessible as possible to the general public.