Tag Archives: Finland

And the nominees for the 2019 IFLA/Systematic Public Library of the Year Award are…

The jury has now agreed on the four shortlisted libraries for the 2019 IFLA/Systematic Public Library of the Year award.

All four will now be considered for selection as the world’s best new public library.

A total of 16 libraries from all over the world applied to be considered for this international award. The many applicants have now been reduced to four shortlisted libraries, one of which will be named the world’s best new public library for 2019.

The shortlisted libraries have been selected by an international jury consisting of members from relevant sections of International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), which supports the award in partnership with the sponsor, Systematic. Systematic is an international IT company that develops software for both the public and the private sector, including library solutions.

The Shortlist

Photograph Tom Roe

The Green Square Library and Plaza (Australia) caught the eye of the jury for being both a square and a public space. This is the only open space in a densely populated area and plays a double function in a most playful and original way. The Green Square Library shows that the structure itself may be challenged and reads like the future in a most welcome way.
The site feels cool and sleek under the hard sun, yet warm and playful on the cold evenings. An active field of library and plaza programming bridges the indoors and outdoors. Highly efficient air conditioning systems that employ CO2 sensors and underfloor heating allow the site to be 100% naturally ventilated.


Photograph Lieselotte Pennings

Bibliotheek LocHal (Netherlands) sets the T in transformation and the jury is delighted to include it on the short list. LocHal’s repurposed train hall-library serve as a locomotive in urban transformation – a livingroom of the city that also attract new businesses. Large tapestries serve as flexible walls inside the building and tracks are left in the floor for giant community tables made from old pulleys. “Work with what you have” is a motto that permeates the project and this adaptive strategy applies to both the architecture, structural systems, climate control and energy use. Even the programming and projects are composed like this. The six theme labs in the LocHal are all created and realized with local partners and citizens.

Soft and light yet rooted Oodi Helsinki Central Library (Finland) earns a solid place among the top 4 libraries. Directly aligned with Finland’s Parliament, this house of the people bridges concepts of equality, participation, citizenship and sustainability. Designed together with the city’s residents, with a focus on the needs of its future users, this project is one for the ages. Iconic exterior qualities and breathtaking interior spaces host qualities like an entire floor for learning activities and a top floor book heaven. With a massive success in visitor numbers in its first months of service, Oodi will lead the way for central libraries throughout the globe.


The final nominee Tūranga – Christchurch Central Library (New Zealand) stands out as a physical and social display of the resilience of both the people and civic life. After the great earthquake shook Christchurch in 2011 an outstanding user involvement process was undertaken for the new central library; and resulted in a place to be with people, for the people. The identity of the library is found in the staircases interconnecting the levels and world-leading structural design for withstanding future earthquakes. The open center invites visitors to move around and explore with beautiful use of materials and light. The library has a strong focus on both children and heritage.

What happens next?

The winner of the 2019 IFLA/Systematic Public Library of the Year will be selected from among these four nominees. The Award is an annual prize given to a public library that is either newly built or set up in premises not previously used for library purposes. The Public Library of the Year Award is accompanied by a USD 5,000 prize, sponsored by Systematic.

The winner of the 2019 IFLA/Systematic Public Library of the Year will be announced during the IFLA World Library and Information Congress, which will take place on 27 August in Athens Greece.

Pirkko Lindberg


This morning we  introduce you to Pirkko Lindberg from Finland. Pirkko has just completed her first term on the Standing Committee and is seeking re-election for a second term.




Name: Pirkko Lindberg
Institution: Tampere City Library
Country: Finland 


What experience will you bring to the role of Standing Committee Member?
As a director of a big city library, Tampere in Finland, I have a good overview of a modern and active library. Tampere City Library, as many libraries in Finland and Scandinavia are living in a big transition – actually the change has been going on for several years. Libraries are important actors in the society as helping people in everyday needs as it-skills and civics. Of course in Finland we have still a lots of lendings in our libraries and reading is still going strong!

Also one important task in Finnish libraries is to advance democracy and equality. We have a new Library Act in Finland, which was introduced 1.1.2017, and I was happy to be a member of the group which prepared the act in the Ministry of Education and Culture. The act is very important for libraries, because in defines our existence in the society and gives us our tasks, possibilities and frames. It also defines that using libraries is free of charge, which is one very important way to advance democracy. I am happy to share my information in the IFLA Public Library section of the impact of the Library Act.

I am the Vice President of the Finnish Library Association and a member of the board and many jobs in the national level. I have just been elected to the group which is preparing an IFLA statement on digital literacy.

I am happy to share my wide information of the modern libraries in the Public Library Section. I think my long career, 35 years in library field, gives me good professional experience and understanding how to develop libraries in a modern society.

Nordic News





Here comes blog number 2 from Sweden or shall I say from Scandinavia (Norway, Denmark and Sweden ). One advantage of speaking Swedish and live in Scandinavia is that you can understand and read Norwegian and Danish if you really want to do it. Of course the Swedish talking people in Finland also can do that. The Nordic countries includes also Finland, Iceland and Faroes Islands and Greenland and Åland .

It´s a long tradition between the Nordic Countries and their libraries to co-operate.

My friend Peter Alsbjer works as a Regional Library Director in Örebro county but is also a blogger. In his blogs (mostly in Swedish) you can follow impulse from the libraries around the world. I choose to present Peter Alsbjer as a guest blogger today.

Please read and enjoy

Anette Mjöberg
ibrary Director
Hässleholms Public Library


Meanwhile in Scandinavia: Winter 2016   


Here are some recent postings and news connected to Scandinavian libraries etc.:




Links and blogs (in English):


New Library Act and New Strategy for Finnish Public Libraries







License to cure – the new Finnish Library Act gives a mandate for better citizenship

Library services are the most used cultural services in Finland, 50 % of all citizens use the library at least once a month and 20 % use it weekly. A national user inquiry from 2013 showed that experiences of the users according the benefits of the library are remarkable. Nine out of  ten respondents told that libraries have made their life better. Finnish people are also heavy library users, last year my library, Tampere City Library, had 22.5 lends/inhabitant. Lending is not decreasing, for example children´s loans went up 6 % last year!


Finland is one of the few countries in the world that has own Library Act, the law that defines tasks and official guidelines to public library`s work. The first Finnish Library Act was published 1928 and it has been renewed several times during decades. The Act must live and develop with the society and it has to reflect surrounding environment and changes in the society. Digitization, economic crises and the changes in the municipalities requires authorities to update the Library Act in Finland.

I had an opportunity to be in the group which prepared the proposal for the new Library Act. The group consisted of the specialists of different institutions like Ministry of Culture and Education, library sectors, library associations and universities. We started our job in Spring 2015 and the work was finished in May 2016. The proposal had been admitted to the Ministry of Culture and Education and will be decided in the Finnish Parliament next autumn. Before that it has a wide statement round in Finnish authorities, libraries etc.


Equality and democracy – basis for the act

The new act enhances in the new way libraries’ tasks in the society. The act´ s goal is to promote among other things citizen´s equal possibilities to civilization and culture, possibilities to lifelong learning, active citizenship and democracy. To implement these goals the baselines are commonality, diversity and multiculturalism.



The former Library Act defined very strictly qualifications for library staff, in the new one we don´t have such exact requirements anymore, just the mention that the person who is in charge of library services in the city or municipality must have higher academic degree and a good experience and knowledge in the library field. There is also mentioning that in the library must have enough staff to take care of the library.

Library services are free of charge in Finland and that matter is crucial and has a long tradition. Libraries and their services must be open and free to everyone despite of destitution or poverty. This paragraph is also in the new law and not just for free lending – also reserving material must be free of charge.

The Library Act is very important to libraries and librarians in Finland, because it gives public libraries rights and at the same time possibilities to act and do their important work in the society and for the society. Of course it is also important for guarantee funding to public libraries. With the act we have a license to make better citizens.


Finnish Public Library Strategy 2016-2020

Another remarkable document for Finnish public libraries was published this year: Library for Citizens – The Way Forward for Public Libraries 2016–2020. There are many similar basic elements in this paper as in the new Library Act, only this is more like a tool for every librarian to cope in everyday work.








Working together in Lielahti District Library, Tampere, Finland


Game room in Lielahti Library

Game room in Lielahti Library


Finland is a good library country, we have 5.4 milloin inhabitants, and according to Finnish library statistics in 2013 every Finnish citizen borrowed 17.2 books. We also have great libraries! One of the newest is Lielahti District Library in Tampere. Tampere City Library consists of 19 libraries and 2 mobile libraries. We lent almost 5 million items and had about 3 million visitors during the year 2013.

Lielahti District Library with bright and modern architecture was opened on 19.May.2014. It is the first library in Tampere which has been built into a shopping mall. Previously branch libraries were often built with schools or youth houses, but the new trend in library building seems to be “be there, where the people are”.

What is special in Lielahti library, is also that its neighbour in the same building and floor are health center, services for elderly people, dentist and children and maternity clinic. There are a lot of plans about what these partners could do together. In the autumn there will be game evenings, where older people can take their grand children and they can practice together computer sport games to improve physics. A physiotherapist from health services can guide them.

Already a doctor sent his patient to library to lend talking books, because she couldn´t see very well anymore. Many courses are planned, like health council and, new technology courses. Many of these bring together the different partners in the building eg blood pressure and cholesterol measuring, lectures on health or maternity care.. And all including book and database information on these same subjects. A win-win situation!

Of course the library also provides the “traditional library services” including fairy tale lessons, book talk etc. The sky is a limit what people can do together, if only they find suitable partners and ways to do things.

Writer: Pirkko Lindberg, Director of Libraries, Tampere City Library

Pictures: Susanna Lyly


The public library’s collection in a digital age

ebook lady

The Latest edition of Scandinavian Library Quarterly focuses on collections in the digital era. Lots of good reading.

Of particular interest for public libraries is the article ‘The public library’s collection in the digital age’ written by Jakob Heide Petersen from Copenhagen Central Library.

Jakob describes how media development and the expansion of the Internet pose a challenge to the public libraries’ traditional approach to their core service, (ie the collection) and the digital age produces a veritable media glut. Is it, therefore, relevant for the public library to offer the public access to just part of the media? Or should the library in fact ensure access to all media for all citizens? The question is whether focusing on the collection and the media is the right point of departure for the public library’s future development?

Another ‘must read’ is ‘National cooperation in Finland’   by Aino Ketonen.  Since the end of February, the public libraries in Finland have had the opportunity to join a consortium agreement and approximately 60 municipalities have joined the consortium since the initiative was introduced.

Finally Rikke Lind Andersson talks about Denmark is reading  the national campaign initiated in 2013by the Danish Minister for Culture, Marianne Jelved. DKK 20 million has been allocated to the initiative over the next four years. A central element of the campaign is a competition between the 98 municipalities to become Denmark’s best reading municipality. 46 municipalities entered the competition by submitting their applications describing the creative ideas to leverage fiction reading amongst nonreaders. The national reading campaign is called Denmark is Reading. Recently 12 Danish municipalities were awarded the title ‘reading municipalities’ by an independent jury, based on their creative and innovative reading activities.