Man in front of a computer, in a library.
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Librarian Gustav Almestad is spending an increasing amount of time helping people with IT-questions. Credit: Ulla Engberg/Sveriges Radio
Portrait of a woman in glasses in front of a dark background.
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Stina Hamberg, head of public affairs at the trade union DIK.

Libraries become primary source for public's IT-questions

5:53 min

Librarians end up spending less time talking about books and literature with visitors, and more time helping people with various digital problems.

When banks close their offices and insurance companies exist only online, and government agencies don't have time to help people fill in forms or they demand print-outs from bank statements, the libraries end up picking up the pieces, according to the trade union DIK, which organises the vast majority of Sweden's librarians.

"It's not a problem that people go to the library and say 'help me'," says Stina Hamberg, head of public affairs with the trade union DIK.. "But it's a problem when you look at how the responsibility for a client at the bank is not taken care of by the bank. But the bank expects the library to do it."

Librarians tell Radio Sweden they need to help visitors with everything from applying for an apartment to banking issues to printing out important documents from their personal emails. 

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