Stockholm Stadsbibliotek, the Rotunda Library

Her eyes widened and her cheeks glowed with excitement. Her face broke into a smile. “Have you seen the city library, its beautiful!” she exclaimed.

She was beautiful too, her dimples made her even more attractive…

But I digress. I had not been to the library yet and being an unabashed bookworm I certainly planned to visit the library. I hadn’t yet obtained the items I needed to apply for a library membership and I certainly hadn’t heard anything about a charming library building. But I decided to take her at her word.

I can see your judging face 😉

The Stockholm Public Library building is a structural icon of the city. It was designed by Gunnar Asplund, a architecture professor at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and is widely considered a key member of the Nordic Classicism school of architecture.

The structure was first proposed and constructed in 1924. Asplund was partly inspired by by the Rotonde de la Villette by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux and made the dome structure a centre piece of the building.

In designing this building, Asplund cut down on Classicist design into their most basic geometric forms and focused on a more functional blueprint.

This was important because it marked Asplund’s transition from Classicism to Functionalism.

The library was designed to have open shelves (the first in Sweden to do so), which allowed patrons to access books without approaching the librarian, a bold concept and a beautiful one too.

The library today holds some 2 million books, 2.4 million audio products.

It has an elegant design that is brilliant for studying and doing work, a sign of a great library.

A separate building holds the international collection in more than 100 languages.

But I needed a library card to read books whether in Swedish or English.

“Hej, I checked out the library you mentioned. I really was beautiful.”

“Yes! I really loved it, I want to go back but I won’t have time to go there again before I fly off…”

“When are your flying off? Let’s go for a fika before you leave.”

“I’m flying off tomorrow morning”


Fika or no fika, I was going to get a library card.

A few weeks later, I returned to the library to set my library account and get a library card.

“Hej, I’d like a library account and card.”

“Certainly, fill in this form please.”

“Here you go…”

“Okay, we are all set, and heres…(Staring at me, and looking back at the form) your guide book on the library system.”

“Uh, yea thats great tack!”

I spoke in English to borrow books in Swedish and was given a Mandarin guide.

Imagine how awkward it would have been if I was Korean or Japanese 😉



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