The Third Space is working towards a social learning platform

In the future library the traditional bookcase and reading table evolve into a dynamic meeting space, both digitally and physically. A place where people can find knowledge and inspiration, where they can keep developing themselves, and are encouraged to keep participating in society.

It isn’t just the libraries that are changing, our lives are changing as well. The line between the on- and offline world is dissipating rapidly. Where we currently still go ‘on’ the internet, in the future we might go ‘inside’ the internet. As libraries, we are evolving along with that development.

The online world makes us more accessible, sees us accomplish our social tasks better and more broadly. We won’t aim to build a digital copy of our physical services, but to redefine the library service as such. Eight libraries have joined forces with The Alignment House and begun the transformation to a hybrid library model. The project is titled ‘From Third Place to Third Space’ and aims to increase the reach and interaction between public libraries and the communities they serve.

Participative Design

The Third Space can’t be designed by libraries alone. The residents, as experts of their own experience, must also think along and participate in the design and development of The Third Space. Together with them, a prototype is designed and implemented in the library in five phases.


The library’s TTS ambition is established, and the design process planning is determined

Analysis Phase

During this phase, we conduct research into the library’s TTS ambition. Qualitative and quantitative data is collected. Discussions take place, both internally with colleagues and externally with the target audience.

Synthesis Phase

Information collected in the Analysis Phase is brought together in the Synthesis Phase. A hypothesis for the TTS-ambition is determined. The design criteria are established. In other words, the wants and needs of the upcoming design are decided upon.

Simulation Phase

Possible solutions are proposed for the TTS ambition. These solutions are tested in a closed environment. This phase ends with one or more prototypes that are tested in the library.

Evaluation Phase

One or more prototypes are tested in the library. The tests involve both the end users and the library employees.

Decision Phase

There is a review of the design process, and a decision about whether to implement the design. If the design is implemented, an implementation plan is made. Lessons learned throughout the design process are potentially implemented in the next design cycle.

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