Science creates space: Libraries as Third Place

News I Image: 2023 Nikolaus Schäffler

While the number of library visits has continued to increase until the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic (2015-2019 +5.8%), the number of libraries as such is decreasing (2015-2019 -5.0%). This leads to an ever greater concentration in a few institutions. Parallel to the increase in concentration, the users' expectations of a library visit have changed towards a science location with a quality of stay.

In order to meet this changed requirement, libraries have developed conceptually and architecturally - many would like to transform themselves into a Third Place, for example. These public places, which serve to decelerate, are characterised by low-threshold accessibility, accompanying infrastructure (e.g. free WLAN) and a "feel-good" atmosphere. In addition, third party locations are suitable for additional uses, e.g. music schools or theatres. Synergies between users can arise here: For example, rooms that are used by library visitors during the day are available to theatre audiences in the evening.

A current example is the Hugenottenhalle in Neu-Isenburg; in 2020, actori accompanied the further development of the Hugenottenhalle into a cultural and educational centre; the event area and library are to be interwoven - a third place is to be created.

The idea of transferring the concept of the "Third Place" to museums and theatres is also exciting. The Royal Opera House in London, for example, has been able to reach new audiences by opening up to the outside world and is increasingly establishing itself as a social meeting place.


A contribution by Amélie Strobel, Project Management and Franziskus Linsmann, Consulting.

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