Press release -
Welcome to the new public library of Oslo, Norway – Deichman Bjørvika
The library of the future is finally ready to open for the public of Oslo and all visitors to the Norwegian capital. Located between Oslo Central Station and the Oslo Opera House, Deichman Bjørvika is an extension of the 235 year history of the public library of Oslo. It will also be an exploration of what a library can be.
Stretching over six floors and 13, 500 square meters (approx. 145 000 square feet) you will find books – 450,000 of them – but also other offers and activities. You can visit the children’s section with all its playful hiding places, watch movies with your friends, make podcasts, learn to play the piano, sew a dress, use the 3D printers, enjoy the view of the Oslo Fjord or just admire the architecture by Lundhagem Architects and Atelier Oslo.
The original plan was to open Deichman Bjørvika to the public on March 28th 2020. However, Covid-19 and the national lockdown in March put a stop to that. In a week’s time, on June 18, Library Director Knut Skansen can finally let patrons and visitors into the new main library.
“We are looking forward to letting this house fill with people. Opening a building such as this in Oslo is a great event. Finally the people of Oslo and visitors can come to us and start using the library. We are looking forward to show people this building which we are so proud of. I think people will be proud themselves because this is after all their building”, says Skansen.
Two million visitors
Deichman Bjørvika’s ambition is to host two million visitors each year, in a Covid- free situation. Among the safety measures in regards to infection control is a limit on the number of visitors who can be present in the library at the same time: 1,000, compared to the usual limit of 3,000. This limit has been set in consultation with local infection control authorities.
Increased loans and number of visits
Whoever finds libraries old-fashioned will have to think again. People enjoy libraries. From 2013 to 2019 Deichman experienced a 43 percent increase of the number of visitors. The reasons for these percentages are extended opening hours, upgraded and modernized facilities and a wide range of activities.
“It’s great to be here in this library that we have worked so hard for. I am proud of how the City Government of Oslo and the City of Oslo can offer this. The new main library is an addition to the other new and upgraded libraries in the city. We want Deichman Bjørvika to make literature, love of reading, and knowledge available to more people. With that we want to strengthen democracy and cultural heritage, and to even out social differences in our society”, says Vice Mayor for Culture and Sport, Rina Mariann Hansen.
Opening June 18th
Deichman Bjørvika opens Thursday June 18th at 5PM. The opening ceremony is a short, closed event with 200 guests, but it will be livestreamed on Deichman Bjørvika’s Facebook page. After the ceremony the library will be open to the public. Confirmed guests to the ceremony are H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Mayor of Oslo Marianne Borgen, Governing Mayor of Oslo Raymond Johansen and Vice Mayor for Culture and Sport Rina Mariann Hansen. Authors Camara Joof and Lars Saabye Christensen will be reading a prologue to the library. Musical performances will be given by Maria Lotus and Lars Lillo-Stenberg and the Norwegian National Opera Children’s Chorus.
Opening hours for Deichman Bjørvika:
Deichman is the agency for the public libraries in the city of Oslo. Founded in 1785, it consists of 22 branches all over Oslo and is Norway's largest and oldest public library. A Deichman library is a haven for you, no matter who you are; where you can read, work, relax, meet friends, or just be alone. You can borrow from our collection of over a million books, movies, CDs and other material. There is free wireless internet, and free access to computers and workshop tools. All you pay for is the paper and materials used when you print or copy. Our libraries are meeting places where you can experience or arrange everything from concerts and cartoon festivals to language courses and political debates. Deichman wants to contribute to a society where everyone has a sense of belonging, ownership and commitment – towards both the community and their own lives. No matter why you come here, you will leave with something.