10 November, 2008

Helsinki Libraries

Helsinki is a charming city, it puts me in mind of a small Melbourne, with the green and gold trams, a wide main boulevard reminiscent of St Kilda Rd, and some lovely old buildings. Helsinki was our second stop on the Great Library Tour, and we visited Sello Library, just out of Helsinki, which I wrote about last week. We also visited 2 libraries that belong to Helsinki City - and they look a lot different from our normal concept of what a library is.

Library 10 is a combination of two libraries - a technology/internet library and a music library. The Cable Book Library was the first public internet library in the world, and attracted great attention in the 90s when it was set up. It grew and evolved and in order to meet demand, moved into larger premises with the music library to become Library 10. This library is situated right in the middle of town, in the old Post Office building and is open from 10am to 10pm. It is a place where people create content, meet, listen to music and borrow books. There is a music studio, a radio station, musical instruments for loan, a stage for performances and books, cds and dvds for loan.

Meetingpoint@lasipalatsi is an information desk for internet services and technology – run by the library. It provides courses and information session, employment and recruitment services, workspaces with multimedia workstations, and WiFi. There is even a laptop doctor who will fix your laptop for free.

These 2 libraries are pushing the boundaries in defining what a public library is. They are very popular, they are informing, connecting and learning places highly appreciated by users.

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