A department store of knowledge

A department store of knowledge


Lelystad built a whole new library, but how do they ensure that they are getting a wider audience than the traditional library member who’s soon to be extinct?


Already 10,000 Lelystad residents are library members. Yet where is the youth? The objective is to generate 25% more members. This could only be accomplished by dusting the rusty character of a repository like a public library.

Target Group

  • Residents of Lelystad who aren’t members, preferably a younger audience.
  • Residents who once were members of Library Lelystad.


In collaboration with interior architect Aat Vos, we developed a concept where the library has fewer barriers in both its interior and communications. The core is that people are averse to libraries but they love shopping.

Why is that? Simply because in shopping, marketing techniques are used to please the shopper and have him / her stay longer while buying things. We took a look at this concept of shopping, ‘Why We Buy’, and distilled a few basic rules as a blueprint for the new library.


Lelystad Library is transformed into a department store like HEMA, Walmart and Carrefour, but where only knowledge can be consumed in the form of books, magazine, CDs, DVDs and the like.

New to libraries are:

  • the shopping lane (speed track for finding popular books)
  • the conveyor belt (a drop-off and pick-up rotating belt for books)
  • the shop-in-shop system (themed blocks)
  • the ‘ballenbak’ (complete kids area in age sections)
  • the digital signage (flexible routing signs on screen)
  • the shopping baskets
public library of lelysyad strategy
public library of lelysyad strategy
public library of lelysyad strategy

public library of lelysyad strategy
public library of lelysyad strategy
public library of lelysyad strategy


The number of new members has increased by more than 35%; the target is therefore amply met. The Library has really become a center where members not only get their books, but also direct on-site consumption of different media. This makes it become a vibrant library.

Being silent is a standard requirement in a library, but people were definitely not silent about the revamped library outside its doors: The new library of Lelystad was chosen number 4 of the most-inspiring public libraries of the Netherlands within a month after its opening.

How may I help you?

What is your challenge?
You can call me at +31 (0)20 4233 555 or leave a message.
I will respond within one business day.
Hugo Kalf - Managing Director

A protest campaign