The LIBER Architecture Group (LAG) brings librarians together with building projects, and helps to focus concepts and planning processes.

LAG is part of LIBER, the Association of European Research Libraries, which is the voice of Europe’s research library community.  LAG operates as part of LIBER’s Working Groups within its Strategic Direction on  Research Infrastructure.

The purpose of LAG is to promote an exchange of experience about library building projects between librarians and architects throughout Europe and also to raise awareness of new projects and trends.  The aim is to provide help and inspiration to anyone planning a new library, an extension, a restoration project or a reworking of library spaces -large or small.

LAG achieves this collaboration in two main ways: the LAG Seminars held every two years; and the Library Buildings in Europe website.

About Library Buildings in Europe

The Library Buildings in Europe website was launched in 2020 with the aim of providing librarians, and architects, with case studies of new library buildings from across Europe.  The examples include new buildings, renovations, refurbishments and extensions with the intention of showcasing current trends, disseminating new ideas and enabling those involved in such projects to learn from, and make contact with, each other.

The website is intended to be both a benchmarking tool and a source of inspiration. The project is the response to a request from the participants of the LAG seminars, who expressed the need for the website both as a very valuable library design record and an important tool for sharing knowledge and experience.

The development of the current database and website has been carried out by La Tempesta .

LAG Seminars

Every two years since the inaugural event in Paris 1996,  a seminar specifically on a topic relating to library buildings has been held in a key library building in Europe.  Over the last 25 years seminars have been held in Paris, London, Warsaw, Leipzig, Venice/Bolzano, Utrecht/Ghent, Budapest/Debrecen, Madrid, Prague, Helsinki, Freiburg and Vienna.

The seminars not only enable participants to hear presentations from librarians and architects but also to visit exciting new buildings. The next seminar, delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, will be held in Luxembourg in 2021.  The documentation relating to these seminars is available on the LIBER website.

Origins and evolution of Library Buildings in Europe database

After many years of producing printed documents  on the occasion of LAG biennial seminars, in 2012 the National Technical Library in Prague developed for LIBER LAG a database that is accessible here, and here in its updated version. It contains detailed documentation of more than 60 new or refurbished library buildings from 17 European countries collected from 2012 to 2016.

In 2020, with central funding from LIBER, a new website was launched, with new information about recent library buildings,  a user-friendly interface and some visual discovery tools,  such as tags that organize images thematically. This version doesn’t delve  deeply into the data but focuses more on finding ideas and inspiration.

It contains information on projects and images from the original database. New content on  approximately 15 projects completed since 2016 has been added and this will grow as new libraries are added every year.  The types of libraries that are eligible for inclusion are national and university research libraries, libraries of institutions conducting teaching and research at a post-graduate level, public libraries with major research collections, and national archives.