Our role, goals and guiding principles

Everyone is welcome at the library!

Libraries are an important gateway into the community and that’s why we welcome everybody. We put on a great number of events each week and have a good collection of books, films, music, newspapers, and magazines. At the library, for example, we now have about 500,000 books and magazines in addition to CDs, films, and multimedia material. A library is a place for people to meet up and for groups to gather. We provide free Wi-Fi at all of our locations for those who want to bring their own laptops and work online. We want to encourage people to form new social networks and build bridges between cultures and disciplines.


The Reykjavik City Library is a comprehensive information and culture institute and its primary function is to provide everyone with equal access to culture and knowledge. An emphasis is placed on providing residents of all ages good access to services, education, and events in the fields of arts and culture.

Guiding Principles

The Reykjavík City Library should offer services, equipment, and events on par with that of the best public libraries in the world. Its staff should display professionalism, respect, open-mindedness, and creativity.

Main Goals

Democracy: The Reykjavík City Library promotes democracy and equality. The library should serve all residents regardless of their age, sex, race, political beliefs, religion, nationality, or social status. That’s how it promotes democracy, equality, liberty, and the well-being of the residents.

Culture: The Reykjavík City Library is a hub for community and culture. The Reykjavík City Library is a cultural institution in the broadest sense of the word. It’s a meetup place for different groups who paint a true picture of our multicultural society.

Education: The Reykjavík City Library is a place for children, youth, and adults to explore and investigate the world and thereby develop their skills and increase their opportunities. Education, like culture, is a part of individual growth and development, no matter how it’s acquired.

Source: The Reykjavík City Library is a place for ideas, creation, and engagement. Individuals and groups have the opportunity to stimulate their creativity, through their interaction with others, participation, culture, and arts.

Model: The Reykjavík City Library, which models itself on the greatest libraries of the world, is an information and cultural centre that sets an example for other public libraries in the country.

The library was established in 1919 and began operating on April 19, 1923. The Reykjavík City Library operates six locations in Árbær, Gerðuberg, Grófin, Kringlan, Sólheimar, and Spöngin, in addition to the bookmobile Chief (Höfðingi) and storymobile Jester (Æringi). The Reykjavík City Library has a partnership with the Mosfellsbær and Seltjarnarnes libraries, which means that a library card with any one of these libraries is valid at the others. Children under 18 years old, the disabled and senior citizens get a free library card, but others must pay a small fee.

The Reykjavík City Library card provides access to Rafbókasafnið, an e-library for borrowing e-books and audiobooks.

The Reykjavík City Library is run by the City of Reykjavík and is governed by The Department of Culture & Tourism, which publishes a work plan every year. It operates according to library law number 150/2012, the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto of 1994, Reykjavík’s cultural policy and The Reykjavík City Library resolution of 2015.

Contact us

Reykjavík City Library
Tryggvagötu 15
IS-101 Reykjavík
ID number: 530269-7609

Phone: +354 411 6100
Fax: +354 411 6159

The office is open Monday to Friday from 10–16.

City Librarian: Pálína Magnúsdóttir