Who we are

The Ministry of Imagination is a collective of creative thinkers and doers who jointly use their knowledge and imagination to help libraries and other cultural institutions make their future plans reality.

With our versatile expertise and talents, we complement each other perfectly and are able to support in all aspects of a change process. Whether it concerns vision and strategy development, a contemporary interior design, the introduction of a new working method or the setting up of surprising programming, we put together the best team for every assignment.

  • Inspiration
  • Creation
  • Participation

What we do

We help libraries and other cultural institutions to develop a future proof  vision, including the strategy and working methods that go with it. We then translate this into a high-profile design with its own unique identity that matches the character of the surrounding community.

We have broad experience with libraries, but also work for other cultural and collecting institutions. With our vision and the innovative work process that we have developed, we know how to bind partners to a shared ambition.

Whatever the reason: cutbacks, a merger, a new building … it starts with a clear vision of the significance of the library or cultural institution for the local society. What developments are occurring, what role does the organisation want to play in this and what does that mean in practice? We look for answers to these questions in an open and active collaboration with our clients. In a number of workshops we explore the changes in society, we investigate the core values of the organisation and we map the DNA of the local environment. We also organise excursions to special places and organisations where management and employees can gain inspiration for their own vision and focus.

No concrete plans yet, but you need a vision that the municipality can build upon? We follow closely what happens in society and are well aware of trends and developments in library construction and furnishing, both in the Netherlands and in the rest of the world. We are happy to use our knowledge and experience to organise inspiring excursions, give presentations and draw up clear and convincing vision documents.

We translate the vision into a building and / or furnishing plan that provides the building with a strong, distinctive identity. Because we are inspired by the location, character and possible history of the building, our designs are never a copy. We deliver a unique and high-profile design that meets the needs of the local community and the role that the partners want to play.

In consultation with our clients we create a narrative; a clear and appealing story that describes what the main drivers of the organisation are and how they are expressed in the new building. This creates a coherent and guiding story that can be used to communicate with the outside world and that helps internally to stay on track and motivate employees.

Present times require a different way of working, whether that involves a new interior or not. We help management teams to sharpen their strategy and switch to a different work process and a different organisation. In a number of workshops we take the employees along in this story and we teach them to understand these new working methods.

We advocate “learning by doing” and support libraries and partner institutions in prototyping new work methods. Together we look for valuable experiments, supervise implementations and organise critical reflection, so that a sustainable new work practice can gradually develop.

In addition, we have the expertise to help set up and implement meaningful programming and organise (opening) activities.

With our writing and design talents, we can provide various means of communication, from appealing presentations to policy documents, public brochures, models and other conversation pieces that portray the story of the new organisation.

Boekentoren

A book on public library architecture

For several years now, we’ve been developing new forms of public library work at the  Ministry of Imagination. Our aim is to design libraries that actively use the collection; where space is created for a new work process in which co-creation, knowledge sharing and participation are fundamental. But what does this mean for the architecture of public libraries? Existing programs of requirements offer no solutions, so we embarked on an exploration into the new role of the library and, in particular, into the architecture and form language that goes along with it.

As a result of our exploration, we are making an English book about the future architecture of public libraries, called: Imagination and Friction: a Dutch vision on public library architecture. The central question in the book is whether the changing role of the public library could lead to a new typology, a new building type with its own readable architecture. With this richly illustrated book we aim to inspire librarians, architects, planners and policy makers to bring about a truly innovative architecture that reflects the new role of public libraries in society. The book will be published by nai010 in mid 2021. You can read more about it in the project plan.

Manifesto

More and more public libraries are realizing that it is no longer sufficient to modernize or improve their existing range of products and services. A radically different approach is needed that focuses not only on personal development, but also on promoting the collective intelligence of the local community. This involves stimulating the exchange of knowledge, promoting insight and actively using the collection. To demonstrate what you can achieve with this as a library, we present five responses that you would like to receive from your visitors. They show you how different forms of interaction and co-creation can ensure that the collection is constantly enriched and that visitors really feel involved in the library:

  • The library is important in my life
    If you adopt an questioning attitude and actively respond to ideas, stories and creative expressions of visitors, the involvement of the audience will increase. That involvement then concerns both what you have to offer (your collection, your activities) and the well-being and survival of the library.
  • The library and its collection provide me with the necessary context to understand certain themes and developments and leave room for my own view
    By presenting multiple stories and viewpoints, you help the visitor to form his own vision and to reflect on it from different perspectives.
  • I always have a reason to go back, because there is always something new to see or experience
    If you offer people the opportunity to share ideas, knowledge, stories and experiences during their visit, you ensure continuous change and in-depth experiences, without having to incur high costs for expensive presentations, etc.
  • I experience the library as a creative environment where I can express myself by producing something myself
    Not everyone just wants to passively consume what you have to offer. Offer visitors the opportunity to make something themselves using the materials (the collection) you provide them with.
  • It is a pleasant meeting place where I like to go to exchange ideas with friends and strangers
    Create space for meeting, conversation and dialogue, but make sure you are distinctive compared to a debate center or a community center by always making a connection to your collection.

Projects

Advisering Stadsbibliotheek München20190226115113
Bibliotheek Deventer20180715133112
Prototypen voor een nieuwe collectiepraktijk20170415160416
Collectievisie20170215153604
Hereford library, UK20170215151101
Bibliotheek Uden20170115142522
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Team

We complement each other perfectly with our diverse expertise and talents and can support all aspects of a change process, whether it is concept and strategy development, contemporary interior design, the introduction of a new way of working or the design of surprising events: we put together the best team for each assignment.

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