From Rotterdam to Lempäälä – Community bus, multi-professionalism and the library

By Jarkko Rikkilä, CPDWL SC member, Kirjastopäällikkö / Library Manager
Yhteisöpalveluiden palvelualue / Community Services

I have been a member of the IFLA CPDWL section for a couple of years now. Although IFLA’s internal working methods are only beginning to take shape for me, I have been sure of one thing since the beginning. Professional development and workplace learning are the most important themes for the library field. As customer expectations change and the complexity of the world increases, skill development is a fundamental issue in our world.

The library professional also needs multi-professional support and cooperation even more. At the IFLA WLIC conference in Rotterdam, Princess Laurentien talked about this very nicely. According to him, libraries are the opposite of loneliness. The library is a contact point to something bigger and the first connection to culture. Above all, however, the library is a link for cross-border cooperation. The future is not created from ivory towers.



While listening to the princess’ wonderful speech in Rotterdam, I thought about my own work as a library manager in Lempäälä municipality. Our municipality has 25,000 inhabitants and multi-professional cooperation is present in everyday life in many ways. In our community services, we meet employees multi-professionally every day. Library services, cultural services, sports services and youth services aim at the same thing: work that promotes well-being and health. We want our citizens to be well.

One of our interesting new concepts is called the Community Bus. The community bus is a bus that, in addition to library services, offers a place for young people, exercise guidance and cultural events. The community bus operation has started this spring and we expect success on the autumn routes. The bus is a platform, and I think it has been more important to encourage platform thinking for multiprofessional discussion.

Multiprofessional cooperation can be easier in a small or medium-sized municipality. Knowing someone else’s work teaches you a lot about your own work and increases the trust of the work community. In addition, multiprofessionalism is customer-oriented. In order to guarantee the highest possible level of services and common visibility, we must have common and shared practices and values. The bus has already attracted a lot of national interest. Maybe someday we’ll get to share thoughts about it in international arenas too!


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