Malmö City Library

Henning Larsen, John SmedbergSweden

Malmö City Library has almost 1 million visitors each year and is as well-known for its beautiful architecture as for how it seeks out new ways to offer knowledge and entertainment in a multicultural Malmö. The library has been rewarded with several prizes such as Library of the Year in Sweden, the Swedish National Encyclopedia’s Knowledge Award and Malmö City’s Integration Prize, among other things for using the services of multilingual upper secondary school students to help visitors who cannot speak Swedish.

The library has more than 600.000 media: books in some 60 different languages, magazines and newspapers from all over the world, cd’s, films, video games and talking books. There are special departments for the environment, travel and design. Using Malmö City Library’s webcatalogue users can renew loans, make reservations and subscribe to RSS-feeds to get newslists over new material. The catalogue is also available via WAP. Malmö City Library focuses on serving the needs of the business community and is also one of the European Commission’s Europe Direct information relay centres. Many free events for both children and adults are organized at the library every year.

Malmö City Library is characterised by its trisection with regard to both volume and light presentation. The name “Calendar of Light”, architect Henning Larsen’s competition entry in 1992, is expressive and refers to the open room on the west side of the grand glass building as its undisputed heart. The “Castle”, on the east side, which was built in 1901 as a museum and has acted as library since 1946, contrasts with its introversion with the extroversion of the great hall. The “Cylinder” in the middle of the composition of three building entities, acts as the main entrance and the link between the two principal parts.

The two new parts were opened in the spring of 1997, the old “Castle” was refurbished and reopened in the autumn of 1999.

Architechts: Original building 1901: John Smedberg
Extension and rebuilding: Henning Larsen Tegnestue A/S

Title of library in local language

Malmö Stadsbibliotek

Year of completion

Size of library: 

Category of library

Public Library

Awards and recommended reading

Sweden’s most prestigious architect award The Kasper Salin Prize
The Malmö City Architecture Award

Titel: Bokstavligt hundra år : Malmö stadsbibliotek 1905-2005 / [redaktör: Ulla Brohed ; redaktionskommitté: Acke Ericsson, Gunilla Konradsson-Mortin, Göran Schmitz]
Språk: svenska, danska
Utgivning: Malmö : Malmö stadsbibliotek, 2005

Titel: Tidernas bibliotek : [Malmös nya stadsbibliotek som vision och verklighet] / [av Sven Nilsson ... ; utgiven av Statens kulturråd i samarbete med Föreningen Kunskapsbanken ...]; [fotografier av Merja Vazquez Diaz]
Språk: svenska
Utgivning: Stockholm, 1997

Titel: A library for all times : [Malmö's new public library as vision and reality] / [by Sven Nilsson ... ; published by the Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs in cooperation with Kunskapsbanken Foundation ...], [photographs by Merja Vazquez Diaz]
Språk: engelska
Utgivning: Stockholm : Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs, 1997

Special features, external

Glass facade: Calender of Light, 1 400 m²

Overall Cost

€ 22.000.000
Front of building: 
Special view outside: 
Special view inside: