I really liked the graphics library at the Stuttgart Library. You can check out books as well as works of art and switch them out for other paintings every week. They have a catalogue where you can select the picture you want to take home. All the images are insured and if you're late with your return there's a late fee taken directly from your credit card. The time limit for borrowing a picture is two months. They have books, sheet music, CDs and even a piano with headphones so that you can play and not disturb others in the library. They have two mobile libraries named Max and Moritz. They travel to schools, kindergartens and parts of the city where there isn't a branch library.
I took note of how they'd thoughtfully arranged the children's area with furniture suitable for small children and with books placed so the children can reach them by themselves. Generally speaking the libraries I visited didn't follow the typical Ukrainian arrangement of separate sections for children and adults. Most of the centres were child-focused, applying the concept that it's children who bring everyone else—parents, grandparents—along with them. Also, in a departure from the way day-care is managed where children are left with care-givers, these centres encourage parents themselves to spend time with their children playing, reading, and engaging in some creative activity. The Aarhus Library, for example, has a large children's area where you can play football or tennis, a 3D printer for teens, a start-up incubator for schoolchildren, and a knitting circle for grandmothers – in other words, something for everyone and a space that's welcoming to everyone.
It really impressed me that a library that had open ten or fifteen years ago still looked like it was brand new. It was well thought out and constructed with only the best materials. Ukraine is so far behind, especially when it comes to public libraries, and it's a little sad when you see the difference. True, some older buildings are under reconstruction, but we still register people on paper while in Europe everything has been automated for years already and the system is even capable of re-shelving books. It will take a long time to make up this gap. I should also point out that their collections contain high quality, recent, costly editions, and archives that include graphic novels, LP records and game cartridges. You can check out the latest Marvel Comic or play on a PlayStation.