Working at Helsingborg Library


I have arrived in Helsingborg, Sweden and have begun my internship with their public library. My tasks thus far have primarily entailed shelving and sorting books, but this morning I got to ride on their bookmobile, which parks in different places around the city so people who live far away from the library can more easily check out and return books, which is a really helpful service, particularly to the elderly.

My Swedish is terribly rusty, but everyone has been very polite about that at the library. Everyone in Sweden is very polite generally.

Some observations and descriptions of things at the library:

  • Citizens here take advantage of their public library, far more so than with our public libraries in America. Everyday the library is packed with every age group and the book mobile was full of people for two hours today. Ann Arbor is pretty atypical, but I’ve always found that most public libraries in America are uncrowded, and that many of the patrons are only there for the free computers. They seem to read more fiction here.
  • The Helsingborg library is set beautifully in the middle of a large city park, right in the center of town. The park is replete with towering, flowering trees, small duck-filled ponds, gardens, and a playground. Something that I think is really cool is that people with library cards can rent out hammocks for 2 hours at a time and set them up in the park if they want to read outside. One can also check out a large blanket and a wicker picnic basket, and get lunch in the library’s cafe and bring it outside for a picnic. I think that’s so cool!
  • Helsingborg is a city with a large immigrant population, especially Middle Eastern and Russian immigrants. As such, the library has a substantial selection in Farsi, Arabic, Russian, and Urdu, as well as a smaller selection of about 20 other tongues. They also have an enormous English section; I was amazed to see how many English novels they had, even new ones.
  • I got to join a group of librarians who went to local bookstores yesterday and bought for the library. The book stores basically closed down when we came in, because we bought hundreds upon hundreds of books in about ten minutes. They gave me free rein to grab whatever I wanted, and they bought it for the library. It felt like being a millionaire, pulling books off the shelf with no regard for price.

Suffice to say, I’m really enjoying this internship so far.

William Petrich


One thought on “Working at Helsingborg Library

  1. Neal Lohse

    Hey William, glad you are enjoying my father’s city! Although, you may have moved on.


    When you want to know something..ask a librarian!

    Perhaps you can help unravel a family mystery. You are in the right place!

    We are trying to find out the history of a wealthy industrialist Dr. Gustav Lohse who died in Sweden in 1937. His son, my father Sven-Erik Lohse was born in Helsingborg in 1930.

    Old photos etc tell us they were very wealthy and were involved with soap products.

    Here is an extract from a letter to a soap company we believe he worked in:

    *** I hope you can shed some light on our family history.

    My father, Sven-Erik Lohse was born in Helsingborg, Sweden in 1930 and died in Perth, Australia 2001.

    He often told us that his Family’s history was related to Cremosin Soap products as it is now. I have some he brought back to me when he last visited his mother in 1980s. The industrial growth of Helsingborg during the 1920s and 1930s was the time his parents met. And he often told us his father worked in soap products and they were appointed to the Royal court.

    His father may have worked for Fabriks AB Victoria. His name was Dr. Gustav Magnus Lohse. He died in 1937. My father was 7yrs old. His wife Svea Lohse lived to a grand old age and died in c1989.

    Very little is known about him that we can find.

    We do not know how common the name Lohse is in Sweden now or at the time of Fabriks AB Victoria. What we do know from some very old photos were that Dr. Lohse was very wealthy and his wife was able to live a very comfortable life, by investing his inheritance, for over 50years without needing to work. It suggests to me they may have been prominent people in Helsingborg during the 1930s industrial growth. ***

    Any small piece of information or direction to send us would be much appreciated.

    Thanks William.

    Neal Lohse


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