Celebrating 60 years with various swapping markets

Not only will the Reykjavík City Library's 100th anniversary be celebrated this year, but it will also be celebrated that 60 years have passed since the Library in Sólheimar opened in its current premises. On the occasion of the anniversary, various swap markets will be held at the library, where users will have the opportunity to bring clothes, art objects and Christmas ornaments that they no longer use and take new ones with them home that others bring.

“This is our only building out of eight, excluding the city library in Úlfarsárdalur, which was built as a library” sais Guðríður Sigurbjörnsdóttir the department director. "Its predecessor was branch III at Hlíðarendi on Langholtsvegur, opened in 1948, so you can say that we are celebrating its 75th anniversary as well. The Library was there for a few months but then moved to one room in Efstasund and was there for 15 years before it opened in its current premises on January 4, 1963. Branch II was on Hofsvallagata.”

Small and personal

When asked what she thinks is the characteristic of the Library in Sólheimar, Guðríður says that it has always been the focus on children and the cooperation with the residents of the neighborhood.  

“The neighborhood was full of children when the Library opened 60 years ago, and in recent years the number of children in the neighborhood has increased again. I would say it's very much a local library, the vast majority of the visitors live in Laugardalur and the surrounding area, but there is also a good group of people who have moved but are loyal to the museum, people who spent their childhood here and have many good memories from that time.”

Guðríður says that although the library is rather small, it also has its advantages, people feel comfortable and cozy to hang out here and the communication with the staff is on a personal level. 

“In the past the staff has done all kinds of different, fun and nice things - for a while they baked waffles on Fridays and they have also brought books home to regulars who have not been able to come to the library due to illness. We also welcome preschool children from the neighborhood daily for story time.”

But it's not just the facilities and the books that visitors benefit from.

“We have made use of the large area around the library, both for events but we also to set up a vegetable garden where rhubarb, strawberries and chives have sprouted over the years, for visitors to take and use for themselves.” 

A circular economy in the spirit of the museum

The 60th anniversary of the City Library in Sólheimar will be celebrated throughout the year in a very environmentally friendly way.

“We thought about how to celebrate the birthday, what characterizes the library, and the conclusion was this great personal level, almost friendship with the users, but also utility. Among other things, the staff has through the years been to markets in search for books, and we also once bought a bread machine at the church's thrift market. In the spirit of the library in Sólheimar, in order to keep its values alive, it was decided to have many and varied swapping markets that visitors, the people in the neighborhood, can unite around, thus making a profit for all, people and nature!”

A seed swap market and a plant swap market have already been held, and now there is a board games and puzzles swap market taking place, till June 8th. Later in the year, there will be clothing swap market, toy swapping, a home decore and art swap market and a Christmas ornaments swap market

“The seed exchange market started a bit slowly, but after people got the hang of it, they have been fully involved and everything has been going very well. Most people bring something with them, leave it behind and take something new home with them, but you can also take something with you even if you haven't brought anything new to the table, there is always something extra.” 

The future library of dreams

But how does Guðríður envision the future of the City Library in Sólheimar, the next 60 years or so? 

“The dream is that one day we'll have a second floor on the building, that it will be expanded and a multi-purpose hall will be added, but that the library will continue to be a personal local one as it is now. It would also be nice to use the outdoor area more, even build a greenhouse where grapes and other good things would grow. What will happen, however, the future will reveal.”


UpdatedMonday October 16th 2023, 14:42