Commercialization of Oslo’s Deichman Library worries employees

An evening picture of Oslo's main library, Deichman Bjørvika. The building boasts six floors with literature, reading and study places, stages, a cinema hall and workshops for young and old. Photo: Ørn E. Borgen / NTB

A demand from the Oslo Municipality that the Deichman Library must generate NOK 12 million a year has rattled staff about the commercialization of a normally not-for-profit institution.

NOK 340 million budget blowout forces start of commercial activities

The recently newly opened Deichman Library, in Bjørvika, has won awards and praise worldwide for its design. Yet this design came at a cost. The construction budget was exceeded by more than NOK 340 million which has now forced the Oslo Municipality to demand that the library start commercial activities.

Deichmann must now generate, at least, NOK 12 million a year in commercial activities to try and help the Municipality with the excessive budget blowout.

Deichmanske hovedbibliotek library Bjørvika
Deichman Library has won praise for its design…but will it win praise for its new commercial activities? Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB

Public libraries are normally not for profit

Not everyone is happy with the new commercial arrangement for Deichman. Employees interviewed by Dagsavisen said that they were uneasy with the new demand for business.

They pointed out that a public library, on principle, should be a not-for-profit institution. Moreover, areas of the library would now be closed for the public as space is needed for these new commercial businesses. The foyer of the library, for example, has only recently started a pop-up gift shop that sells, amongst other things, tote bags.

However, Sports, Culture, and Volunteering Councilor Omar Samy Gamal (SV) believes that the new business requirement should help strengthen Deichmann. He does not agree with employees that this is a negative course of action for a public institution.

Source : ©️ NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayTravel

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