On a football pitch in one of Stockholm’s southern suburbs, a group of children gather on a blanket in the grass. Someone is reading to them – an occurrence that is unfortunately becoming rarer in our communities. Statistics show that the gap between those who read and those who don’t is widening, and the country’s libraries face the challenge of attracting new user groups.

Tuesday’s activity with pop-up libraries in Tantolunden (a park in the city center), and in the suburbs Högdalen and Rågsved attracted a lot of attention. The activity was a collaboration between design consultancy Veryday and the Stockholm Public Library, who during the day worked side by side using different creative methods to connect with people going about their daily lives. The aim was to collect information that could be translated into insights about the needs, constraints and wishes that people carry with them, then use these valuable insights to solve the problem of increasing gaps between those who read and those who don’t, and inspire more people to pick up a book.

We know that we need to step out of the library building to meet and talk to people in order to get them interested in reading. We need to find out what could inspire those who don’t read to suddenly become curious. We have learned a lot from the exciting collaboration with Veryday, for example the importance of emphasizing that reading should be something pleasurable and that it is our duty to convey that joy to people.

Elisabeth Aldstedt, Director of the Public Libraries in Stockholm

The design consultancy Veryday, whose designers have experience from past voluntary initiatives, contacted the Public Library with the ambition to “give back to Stockholm.”

Design is a powerful tool for addressing societal challenges and we know that reading benefits everyone, so we wanted to dedicate a volunteer day to encouraging people to read more.

Diana Africano Clark, initiator of the collaboration and VP Creative Operations & Design strategist at Veryday