Exhibiting, Disseminating, Teaching: Digital Literature in Danish Public Libraries

Malthe Stavning Erslev

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Danish public libraries have since 2010 exhibited, disseminated, and taught digital literature. This paper lays out the general trajectory of their work, and introduces the notion of a post-digital literacy: a theoretical lens through which to conceptualize and articulate the importance of teaching digital literature in K-12. In fruitful dialogue with a variety of other parties and institutions, including Aarhus University and the ELO, a handful of public libraries have developed considerable and impressive expertise, grounded in practice-based experimentation. Their efforts, which have taken place in the course of six projects, are the case into which this paper inquires. The case represents an astute continuity in terms of exhibiting and communicating digital literature to the general public, yet the decade of work has hitherto not been presented or analyzed collectively. In doing so, this paper not only collects the efforts made by multiple librarians in multiple libraries and documented in a variety of places and formats, it also considers the general trajectory of the work carried out as an ample case for charting areas for future work. In particular, the paper covers the projects: Open Work, 2010 (Danish: ‘Åbent Værk’); Literature Takes Place, 2011-2013 (Danish: ‘Litteraturen finder sted’); DigiSpace, 2015-2016 (Danish: ‘DigiRum’); Turn on Literature, 2016-2018 (Danish: ‘Tænd litteraturen’); Advisory Board for Digital Literature, 2016-2018 (Danish: ‘Advisory board for digital litteratur’); and Literature in Digital Transformation, 2019-2020 (Danish: ‘Litteratur i digital transformation’). The paper introduces each of these projects in chronological order, thus collecting and communicating the collective efforts made to an international academic audience. Furthermore, the paper demonstrates how there has been a shift in general focus, from early projects focusing on the possibility of exhibiting digital literature in public libraries per se (Open Work & Literature Takes Place); over projects mixing the exhibitions with an extensive focus on (informal) dissemination (DigiSpace & Turn on Literature); to later projects focusing explicitly on (formal) K-12 teaching, while maintaining public exhibitions as a fruitful way to conduct such teaching (Advisory Board for Digital Literature & Literature in Digital Transformation). Indeed, the latest project, Literature in Digital Transformation, included the development of a teaching platform intended for higher levels of K-12 education, which enables teachers to integrate digital literature into their teaching as well as examinations. The teaching platform itself is introduced in some detail. Finally the paper discusses the importance of teaching digital literature, not only as a contemporary kind of (multi-modal) literature, but also as cultural computation, setting the stage for the development of a post-digital literacy. As part hereof, the paper argues for the importance of situating digital literature as part of the current push for teaching computation and computational thinking in K-12 education. Based on the last decade’s worth of work, the paper offers reflections on the possibility of public libraries to take on a central role in teaching children and youths about cultural consequences of mass digitization – through a practice of teaching digital literature.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date13 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2020
EventElectronic Literature Organization Conference and Media Arts Festival 2020: (Un)Continuity // Virtual Edition - University of Central Florida, Orlando, United States
Duration: 16 Jun 202019 Jun 2020


ConferenceElectronic Literature Organization Conference and Media Arts Festival 2020: (Un)Continuity // Virtual Edition
LocationUniversity of Central Florida
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • post-digital
  • electronic literature
  • digital literature
  • digital literacy
  • Public library


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  • LiDT: Literature in Digital Transformation

    Erslev, M. S. (Participant)


    Project: Consultancy

  • Turn on Literature

    Pold, S. B. (PI), Erslev, M. S. (PI) & Erslev, M. S. (Participant)


    Project: Consultancy

  • Poems About Things

    Erslev, M. S., May 2021, Electronic Literature Organization.

    Research output: Other contributionNet publication - Internet publicationResearchpeer-review

    Open Access

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