The four spaces – a new model for the public library

Henrik Jochumsen (Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Casper Hvenegaard Rasmussen (Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Dorte Skot‐Hansen (Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, Denmark)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Publication date: 16 November 2012



The aim of this paper is to present a model for the public library created by the authors.


The paper is divided into three parts. The first part emphasizes considerations regarding today's focus on both the virtual and the physical library. The second part describes the four‐space model, including examples of libraries as illustrations of the different spaces and examples of how the model is being used in the Nordic library‐world. The third part pinpoints some critical questions in relation to the model.


The paper shows how the four‐space model has been used in different ways in the Nordic countries since it was presented for the first time in a Danish report on public libraries in 2010.

Practical implications

The four‐space model can be a useful tool in relation to developing, building, designing, arranging and rearranging public libraries. Furthermore the model can be a tool for management and communication in connection with library plans and policy and not least a point of departure for the discussion of the public library's overall role in society.


This is the first time that the space model is presented to the library world outside the Nordic countries in a way where examples, usability and limitations are included.



Jochumsen, H., Hvenegaard Rasmussen, C. and Skot‐Hansen, D. (2012), "The four spaces – a new model for the public library", New Library World, Vol. 113 No. 11/12, pp. 586-597.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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