Urban Knowledge Hubs - Transformative Societal Spaces for Hybrid Libraries in the Baltic Sea Region

Creative workshops on improvements of the National Library of Latvia premises

24 January 2024
On 30 November and 18 December 2023, the National Library of Latvia (NLL), in cooperation with the association Young Architects Club “Atelpa”, organized two creative workshops – one for librarians, and another one for young people as young people are the target audience chosen by the Latvian partner within the framework of the BALTIC-UKH project.
Technical details


As part of its pilot project, the NLL plans to develop a functional improvement concept of the public area of the mezzanine (M) level of the building, and the prototyping of the building’s functional improvements for the youth reading room. This will improve the availability of the library’s public services, encourage more active involvement of young people in educational and cultural processes, as well as promote the development of creativity and digital literacy.

The workshop of 30 November was attended by 37 specialists. The NLL employees had the opportunity to brainstorm the things that bring joy and “pain” in providing services to library users on a daily basis. Various target audiences which are active users of the library were considered, and special attention was paid to the activities of the NLL youth room and ways to attract and motivate young people to spend quality time and to engage in useful activities at the NLL. Moving from the positive things to the challenges, deficiencies of the existing arrangement of the library premises and the equipment of the reading rooms were identified. It was concluded that the Level M has great potential for improvement, but it lacks a unified vison or understanding of the primary purpose of the Level M. The environment should be improved to be more attractive to young people for both individual and group work.

The workshop of 18 December was attended by 24 participants, most of them were young people in the age group of 15–24. Before the workshop, the participants had an improvised tour of the Level M of the library, paying attention to interior details and nuances that everyday visitors usually do not notice. As part of the creative workshop the following was determined: the average number of days young people spend in the library a year and the most important reasons for visiting the library. Young people shared their impressions of the activities and events they associate with the library. The factors that could motivate young people to visit the library and functional improvements that would promote the creativity of young people at the NLL were discussed. In the second part of the workshop, the participants modelled plasticine furniture that would make the Level M more attractive and suitable for their needs. The results of the workshop made it possible to conclude that it is really necessary to create a more attractive appearance of the youth room on the Level M by placing transformable furniture, large decorations, making different areas for both private and group work, relaxation, etc.

Both creative workshops show that the NLL has great potential and space for growth to be an even more open site for education, research and culture, where everyone is welcome both in person and in a virtual environment and where young people can learn and develop their skills.


National Library of Latvia