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Services for a new generation of library users
 

Services for a new generation of library users

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A description of the public library service in Finland. Presented by Barbo Wigell-Ryynänen at the CILIPS Centenary Conference which took place on Tue 3 Jun 2008.

A description of the public library service in Finland. Presented by Barbo Wigell-Ryynänen at the CILIPS Centenary Conference which took place on Tue 3 Jun 2008.

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    Services for a new generation of library users Services for a new generation of library users Presentation Transcript

    • Services for a New Generation of Library Users
    • A diligently used network
      • 19 loans,11 physical library visits and 7 virtual library visits annually per capita – the Finnish network of public libraries is diligently used.
      • 45 % of the entire population have a library card. The most frequent users are the young and the educated.
      • Virtual services complement, but do not replace face-to-face services.
      • Users expect even small, local libraries to offer high-quality services and collections.There are 19 provincial libraries, well-resouced city libraries serving the smaller libraries in the region. Helsinki City Library is the Central Library for Public Libraries. State grants are allocated for these assignments.
      • Logistics are essential, nearly all libraries belong to a regional network,with joint catalogues on the web. Users easily locate library material on the web, bypassing traditional channels (provincial libraries, interlibrary lending).
    • A new generation of library premises 1)
      • The public library service network comprises 895 libraries and 166 mobile libraries. Some15 years ago there were 1125 libraries and 234 mobile libraries. What happened? Budget cuts, sure, but there are also new service expectations. The old style rural library with a limited book collection and very few aquisitions annually is simply not attractive any more. Users expect versatile collections and services, premises suitable for reading and listening to music, for studying and distance learning, for finding information and for carrying out electronic transactions.
      • The library is a citizens´meeting place, easy to visite, easy to use. Users benefit from the wireless environments, bring their own laptops, spend more time than ever in the library. Many libraries lend laptops and MP3-players, users are drifting around, browsing the shelves, looking at exhibitions.
    • A new generation of library premises 2)
      • Books are still important, 84 % of aquisition is still books, 72 % of lending.
      • Still, the first thing one sees when entering – a multitude of computer terminals, users looking for information, googling, surfing the web. Today´s user wants to look for information and knowledge independently, professionals are needed for more complicated search – sessions are longer than ever.
      • The information seeker is an expert, too, knows what is adequate in the context, knows what is needed in the current situation, for the current purpose. Information search should be carried out side by side, the counter should not be a barrier, the user should see the screen, too.
      • Space is needed, working space, reading space, space for moving around, space for doing group work as part of studying.
      • Automatisation – library staff is needed for more demanding tasks.
    • A new generation of library premises 3)
      • Sello Library in Espoo is spacious and well-furnished, situated in the midsth of a shopping mall in a multicultural neighbourhood. Young immigrants are enrolled in the library staff – it obviously functions. There are lots of activities for young people, there is a big music compartment with studios and special group rooms for certain computer games. Even young male immigrants seem to enjoy visiting the library (not an easy group to please).
      • Staff cooperates with youth workers by keeping up avatars at the Habbo hotel, here young people can discuss even difficult things behind the shields of their own avatars.
      • There is a physical service point for young people in the library.
      • A librarian can be "borrowed" for 45 minutes of unhurried information service by filling in a form in advance.
      • http://english.espoo.fi/
    • Equal opportunities – regardless of domicile, economic cicumstances
      • the objective of public library work is to promote equal opportunities among citizens for personal cultivation, for literary and cultural pursuits, for continuous development of knowledge, personal skills and civic skills, for internationalisation, lifelong learning - -- the development of virtual and interactive services (Library Act since 1928, amended in 1998.)
      • Picture, Asikkala, 8000 inh,
      • 19 loans/inh
    • the Library Policy Programme (2001)
      • "The library´s traditional cultural and enlightening mission will not disappear, but will merge with the new services."
      • Public libraries build and promote the community spirit and strengthen democracy. They are learning environments, and they promote comprehensive literacy as well as media or digital literacy. They network with partners and contribute to the success and welfare of their region.
      • "(...) the added value of personalised information services derives from interaction and the possibility to verify and specify the need. Face-to-face encounters with the client make the most of the accumulating expertise of the library worker."
      • The Programme studied the state of the library network, defined problems, suggested solutions.
    • Library Strategy 2010 (2003)
      • The Library Association, the Association of Finnish Regional and Local Authorities and many big and small public libraries were invited to take part in the process of preparing a library strategy to ensure access to information, knowledge and experiences.
      • "A first prerequisite for developing information provision for all is that skilled staff be available; then, an up-to-date standardised technological infrastructure must be in place for all types of libraries. After that, the emphasis falls on developing web-services that correspond to the citizens´ need for information."
      • "In the information and knowledge-based society libraries are perceived as places where knowledge and culture flow freely, in contrast to the selective offerings of media and the educational system."
    • 1,7 million euro is allocated annually for
      • producing contents and userfriendly services on the web.
      • Centrally produced services level out differences between the regions:
      • the National Library: access to university catalogues and copy-cataloguing. National network services: material in electronic format for public libraries
      • Central library for public libraries (Helsinki City Library):
      • libraries.fi, home-page of all public libraries, with Ask a librarian services, subject guides, citizens´gateway to information, statistics database, library catalogues.
      • The national portal for young people will soon be opened (wiki, web 2.0)
      • Libraries also apply for grants for local and regional library development, for producing contents of local and regional interest on the web.
      • Reading promotion, authors´ visits, reading diplomas, book-talks...
      • Teaching literacy skills and a media-critical attitude is part of daily work.
    • The Library Development Program 2006-2010
      • A rural, but technologically advanced country, seventh biggest of European countries but with only 5,2 million inhabitants – 69 % of Finland is still forest, there are 188 000 lakes ("the land of a thousand lakes..."). Major change in rural areas - smaller farms have to look for alternative livelyhoods, and people like to spend more time in their summer houses (with a sauna by the lake...).Technology makes it possible to work and study from a distance.
      • The provincial areas´developing industries, diversifying agriculture and tourism, and the new lifestyles require educated library staff and high-quality information services. Distance working and learning is part of the future in rural areas.
      • Local librarians cooperate with the local administration, with schools and other educational institutions, with kindergartens and cultural institutions, but they also have to be information specialists – even in small, rural libraries.
    • Pornainen, 4800 inhabitants, 17,4 loans/inh and year
    • The postmodern library user
      • It is 30 years since Jean-Francois Lyotard´s The Postmodern Condition – A Report on Knowledge was first published – it may actually be now that we really see the sweeping change.
      • Meta-narratives; overarching social structures, religion, philosophical and political systems,have lost their former obvious legitimacy - most anything can be called into question.
      • Life is segmented into localized roles, each with particular contexts, particular judgements concerning knowledge and action.
      • Postmodern library users rely on their own expertise, and want to participate and contribute. Wiki-thinking - swarm intelligence, the wisdom of the crowd – or simply web narcissism?
    • Hämeenlinna (provincial) wiki-library
      • Director, Inkeri Jurvanen, was told: "No essential changes have occurred in the library since the incunabulum". Thus provoked, she started planning Hämeenlinna Library 2.0 – Your Library, divided into sections according to how the content is produced, with a library space, patron´s own space, a news center,a wikipedia-style Häme-wiki and a new design for the already existing, extensive, high-quality subject guide, which is used nation-wide.
      • There will be virtual exhibitions, recommendations lists, groups and blogs.
      • Library users can login and start editing, saving searches, making favorite lists, adding search terms and making comments, creating social contacts with like-minded.
      • "Our goal is to form a functional library-minded Internet community for the whole region...If we can meet this challenge, the library will live strongly and forever."
    • Librarians have long since discovered
      • that especially young users often know more about computers and net contents than the average librarian.They might feel diminished in their role as professionals – although their skills are still highly in demand. The wiki-philosophy goes one step further, challenging librarians to let users into the very core of library work, to accept them as equal partners.
      • Web 3.0 is just around the corner, there will be new concepts,new sites, no way libraries can compete, keep up with all the swift changes.
      • They lack the money and the resources, in the first place, but librarians are also professionals, they have the requirement of trustworthyness and deep skills to defend, and should not be ready to sell their souls...
      • Still, discovering new ways to reach out to the users is stimulating and also necessary, as is continuous professional assessment. Turning into a postmodern librarian is more about new thinking than anything else!
    • A national asset
      • In the Prime Minister´s Finland in the Networks-campaign public libraries were brought out as gateways to a wide range of web-services. Libraries offer free use of the Internet and have the advantage of skilled staff, used to teaching media literacy and Internet use. By openmindedly broadening the service supply (e-government, e-citizen) librarians were branded as web-specialist. There were library nuggets in between commercials all evenings in television, presenting libraries as conveyors of reliable information and knowledge, as centres for teaching e-citizenship. The everlasting image of the book-library was definitely diversified.
      • The 3rd national knowledge society strategy mentioned libraries as a special national asset, other assets being regional equality, a high educational level and an open mind towards new technology.
    • To know more about Finnish libraries
      • The Ministry of Education, trilingual site
      • www.minedu.fi
      • choose English, choose Libraries!
      • http://www.libraries.fi/
      • also trilingual, home site of Finnish public libraries