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LIBER 2023 Library Innovation Awards

Multiple colleagues within the Future Libraries Lab had the honour of receiving an award for innovation in libraries from LIBER, one of the major organizational bodies representing research libraries throughout Europe. During the annual conference in Budapest in early July 2023, Martijn Kleppe and Jeroen Vandommele spoke about how the KB is opening up library collections for creative re-use through a series of projects run within the FLL and beyond. Further details are available through the LIBER website:

ArtMind - Inspiration-driven Interfaces by Shunqi Tang

On the 27th of September Shunqi Tang successfully completed her MSc graduation project exploring novel interfaces for artists looking to be inspired by digital museum collections. Shunqi’s work represents an exploration of how existing digitized artwork might be used in the creative processes of artists, including i.a. evocation of moods (in the artist and/or the work), associations of shapes and semantic connections. She calls her final prototype ArtMind, and you can try it out here. Some of her earlier prototypes are also usable via GitHub, and you can find her thesis report and a demo video in the education repository.

IDE Interactive Environments Students' Design for KB's Digital Collection

In the Fall semester of 2021, 29 multidisciplinary TU Delft bachelor students took part in the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering’s Interactive Environments minor, giving them the opportunity to collaborate with the National Library of the Netherlands and create prototypes for a living library. Keep reading to find out more about the course and the Living Library collaboration.

Read more

Dr. Christoph Lofi @ Digital Memory Seminar

Dr. Christoph Lofi of the Future Libraries Lab, presented his work on “Describing Images for the Visually Impaired” at the Digital Memory Seminar organized by National Library of Estonia.

Watch his talk.

Event: "Opening Spaces" - An Online Labs Symposium on 24th November 2021

The Austrian National Library (ONB) recently presented its Vision 2035, titled “Wir öffnen Räume” (“Opening Spaces”). The ONB Labs Symposium 2021 will take up the theme of openness and relate it to questions concerning openness in Labs of cultural institutions (GLAM Labs):

• What does openness mean for GLAM Labs? Is providing open data enough?

• What are the criteria and requirements for openness?

• What does openness mean for different user groups?

We will discuss these and related questions in three sessions, addressing different perspectives on openness.

In the first session, we will discuss the perspectives and requirements of research and education. We will take a closer look at open data for creative use in the second session, with a special focus on the EU co-funded project “Open Digital Libraries”. Finally, we discuss strategies for openness in international GLAM Labs.

The symposium will happen on 24th November 2021 from 10:00 till 17:00. Register here.

Call KB/Future Libraries Lab Researcher-in-Residence 2022

Are you an early career TU Delft researcher, interested in the future of libraries, museums and archives? Please consider applying as a Future Libraries Lab Researcher-in-residence 2022.

We invite early career researchers of the TU Delft to become a Future Libraries Lab Researcher-in-residence. This program offers a unique chance for early career researchers of all TU Delft disciplines to work in the library with the Digital Scholarship team and KB data. You will be assisted by one of our research software engineers, an advisor, and collection and data specialists. The output of the project will be incorporated in the experimental platform of the KB, the KB Lab and showcased on the website of the Future Libraries Lab.

The KB and opening up our digital collections

The KB, National Library of the Netherlands, is a research library with a broad collection in the fields of Dutch history, culture and society. As a national library we aim to collect and store all (digital) publications that appear in the Netherlands, as well as a part of the international publications about the Netherlands. The KB is planning to have digitised and OCRed its entire collection of books, periodicals and newspapers from 1470 onward by the year 2030. Over 100 million book, newspaper and magazine pages are currently available via the search portals Delpher and DBNL, and we also offer born digital collections, such as our web archive, which contains 47 TB of data and consists of more than 21.000 websites.

Furthermore we play an important role in the public library field. We host the Online Library servicewhere each member of a public library in the Netherlands can lend e-books, we monitor the developments of the public library field, identify trends in the public library field and facilitate several policy programs in the field of digital inclusion and digital citizenship. We also encourage the re-creation and reuse of digital collections, whether or not involving immersive technologies, e.g. artificial intelligence, AR/VR, 2D/3D, etc.

The FLL Researcher-in-Residence project will be carried out in the Research department of the KB and there will be one placement in 2022.

What kind of projects are we looking for?

We’re open to all kinds of projects that benefit your research and other users of the KB or public library field. All early-career researchers from TU Delft can apply. We specifically invite proposals from researchers of the following faculties: Industrial Design Engineering, Architecture and the Built Environment, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science and Industrial Design Engineering.

We encourage you to define your project by:

  1. Formulating a fundamental research question that stems from your field of expertise, and can be linked to the themes of the Future Libraries Lab.
  2. Formulating a project that makes clear which datasets you are planning to use. You can create your own datasets or use existing datasets from your field. You can also use existing KB data, such as papers, magazines, web archive and/or ground-truth sets. For more information about other possible collections, see our Data services website. We also offer derived datasets on our KB Lab and you can browse through our collection of newspapers, magazines, radio bulletins and books on Delpher and DBNL.
  3. Formulating a project that is different from the previous projects of the Future Libraries Lab.

Who are we looking for?

We’re looking for talented early career researchers of any nationality who are:

  • A PhD student in the final stages of their PhD project or researchers that have obtained their PhD between 2017 and 2021;
  • Working at any of the TU Delft faculties;
  • Interested in using one (or more) of the digital collections of the KB;
  • Available for 0.5 fte over a period of 6 months (preferably from Q1 2022 or Q3 2022);
  • Able to spend at least 1 day a week at the KB premises for an on-site residency.

We wish to specifically invite researchers from underrepresented communities to submit a proposal.

What can we offer you?

  • A secondment or short-term fixed contract with the KB for 0.5 fte for a period of 6 months based on your current salary with a maximum of 4514 euro gross per month for a fulltime position;
  • Access to all datasets of the KB;
  • Office facility;
  • Travel expenses (up to a reasonable amount for the one-week visit in case of the remote residency);
  • Support from a research software engineer, advisor, and collection and data specialists.

How do I apply?

Please use the template to formulate your research proposal and submit this as a pdf before 15 November 2021 via the email address, after having carefully read our terms and conditions. The form contains the following elements: details, project description (including research question, theoretical background and applied methods and techniques), outcomes, work plan, personal background, your availability in 2022 and a checkbox on our terms and conditions.

Before you start working on your proposal, we strongly advise you to contact in advance of proposal submission to discuss eligibility, project details, prerequisites, and KB support with the Digital Scholarship team.

Review process

All proposals will first be reviewed on eligibility by an internal KB committee and then forwarded to an committee of members of the Future Libraries Lab:

  • prof. dr. Alessandro Bozzon (TU Delft)
  • dr. Cynthia Liem (TU Delft)
  • dr. Martijn Kleppe (KB)
  • Marjolein Oomes (KB)
  • dr. Irene Haslinger (University Library TU Delft)

All entries will be judged on:

  • Originality and quality
  • Link with the research themes of the Future Libraries Lab
  • Feasibility (technically, legally and practically)
  • Whether the end results are of use for a wider community

You will be notified of the outcome of this call by mid-December 2021.

For answers to more questions, read our FAQ. Please also read the terms of this call and placement.

FLL Community Event on 8th October

The Future Libraries Lab invites you to a community event on Friday, October 8th from 15:00 to 18:00.

The main purpose of this event is to bring together the community that during the last two years has shaped and fostered the vision & activities of the FLL. The event will open with a keynote talk by Bob Stein – a pioneer on the democratization of internet archives and the director of the Institute of the Future of Book. We will then showcase a portfolio of projects that have kept us busy during the past couple of years, and we will conclude with a discussion aimed at informing future initiatives and research directions of the FLL. 

The event will be held at the TU Delft Campus in the IDE Faculty, Hans Dirken Hall.

1500-1515: Welcome from Alessandro Bozzon (Lab Director) and Martijn Kleppe (KB)
1515-1600: Opening talk on Books and Libraries in the Future by Bob Stein
1600-1615: Interlude (coffee break)
1615-1700: Poster mingle – FLL members will give 3-minute pitches followed by informal discussions
1700-1730: Town hall discussion on future directions for the FLL
1730-1800: Closing remarks and borrel

Kindly write to Himanshu Verma if you are interested in participating in this event.

Pica grant for Olindo Caso in the MAKERLAB Project

January 2021 – The Pica Foundation promotes and stimulates the provision of scientific and public information in the Netherlands. It does this by subsidising projects and activities that transcend the interests of individual libraries and promote cooperation among libraries. Pica recently granted a subsidy for the MAKERLAB project: a collaboration between National Library of the Netherlands, TU Delft, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, FERS, Hoeksche Waard Library, Hengelo Library, Rivierenland Library and Gorredijk Library. The TU Delft participation is coordinated by Olindo Caso, who has had a key role in the elaboration of the project proposal, by connecting Architecture + Built Environment (A+BE) and Industrial Design (IDE) in a Research Through Design setting under the FLL umbrella. The total project budget amounts to 450k, of which 120k is for the TU Delft.

Experimental gardens for the making culture

MAKERLAB builds upon previous research experience like Olindo Caso’s NWO-KIEM funded Performative Spaces in Dutch Public Libraries: Stepping Stones of Inclusive Innovation (2017-2018), in partnership with National Library. The project aims to set up ‘makerspaces’ at four public library locations in the Netherlands, in which to experiment with different forms of programming, equipment, spatial configurations and local embedment. MAKERLAB is therefore intended as a testing ground for innovation around makerspaces in libraries. Within the two-year project, design research is conducted into the programming and design of makerspaces informed by their specific local context, and new methods will be developed for monitoring the impact of makerspaces. The approach will become part of national library visions and programs such as Lifelong Development and Digital Literacy, and provide (research) instruments that will be made available for the entire library sector. The project will run from January 1st, 2021 to December 31st, 2022.

Collaboration and network

Collaboration is central to this project. The four libraries will function as living labs: they will experiment with the design, layout and programming of their makerspace. Within the project, monitoring of the impact is an important element, as are networking and knowledge sharing. A peer group is formed with forerunners in the sector who will act as critical friends. The knowledge gained is shared at various times with the library field and with experts from other sectors, so that everyone benefits from this project.


A makerspace is a publicly accessible creative DIY space where people can come together to create, invent and learn. They are in line with people’s natural need to learn through experience. In the context of lifelong development, libraries are the ideal places to nurture lifelong curiosity.

Smart Humanity TV

30th November 2020 – During the program “I van Innovatie”, part of Smart Humanity TV, Rosemarie van der Veen – Oie (KB) and Arnold Vermeeren (TU Delft) took a seat at the table to discuss the cooperation between TU Delft and the Royal Library (KB) in the field of innovation and libraries. Xenia de Graaf (Bibliotheek Hoekse Waard), Marianne Hermans (KB) and TU Delft student Diana Vardanyan joined the discussion via Zoom.

Watch this event here.


NWA funding for Cynthia Liem and the Future Libraries Lab

8 July 2020 – The project proposal ‘Recommender requirements for pluriform perspectives in local public
libraries’ of Cynthia Liem, written in the context of the Future Libraries Lab, and including the
National Library of The Netherlands as a project partners, has been one of the 40 successful
projects that were granted EUR 50,000 of funding under the NWO ‘Idea Generator’ 2019-2 call.
This call is part of NWO’s funding schemes of the Nationale Wetenschapsagenda (NWA): the
national science agenda. NWA Idea Generator projects should distinguish themselves by their
innovative character and possible impact on society.
In our increasingly digital information society, the role of the local public library is changing.
While it may not be the primary source for knowledge anymore, it still is a valued, accessible
social gathering space for demographically and socio-culturally diverse local communities. It
also still is a place where people can encounter new literature in physical and digital form.
Public libraries do not have a commercial mission. As such, they can afford confronting citizens
with a more pluriform and polyvocal set of perspectives, opinions and expressions than
naturally would be encountered on their own. Being confronted with such contrasting perspectives may not necessarily be pleasant.

However, as libraries are not as strongly driven
by short-time engagement optimization as their commercial counterparts, and as they offer
trustable, relatable and local in-person support, they may be able to get citizens out of their
comfort zones in more nuanced and tolerable ways than would be possible through commercial
online services.
Several public libraries are interested in novel recommender systems technologies, that can
offer pluriform and contrasting perspectives to users, and offer society a more diverse and
inclusive information environment. Such recommenders are delicate to build. Before doing this, it is important to get clear what users would naturally be (un)willing to see, and to concretize what diversity and inclusion would mean in the context of library collection curation and personalized filtering, and within the ultimate technical framework of a recommender system.
Dr Liem will tackle these questions through a 12-month research and co-creation project,
supported by assistants in the Future Libraries Lab. Capitalizing on recently centralized and
digitized data on library collections, consumers and loan records, we will seek to understand
past and current consumer behavior (which has not yet been affected by digital
recommenders), and use this understanding to engage with local professionals and citizens, to
jointly establish requirements and success criteria for the desired future library recommenders.

From bibliobuses to community librarians

7 April 2020 –The system of public libraries has been under pressure for years. The corona crisis once again shows what value libraries have for municipalities and individuals. “Instead of hoarding toilet paper, I am hoarding books.’

KB and TU Delft launch Future Libraries Lab

6 February 2020 – Today, the KB and Delft University of Technology are launching the Future Libraries Lab, where designers and computer scientists think about the library of the future. What new forms of services can libraries develop? And how can they continue to offer their physical and digital collections in innovative ways? These and other topics are being researched in the Lab.

Lab Director
Alessandro Bozzon

Prof. Alessandro Bozzon