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