LibWorld – Finland

The next stop in our LibWorld journey ist Finland, which is one of the most northern countries in the world. It is famous for its opulence of lakes, the complexity of its language and for its excellent educational system.

Libraries are in the center of the cultural life in Finland and libraries are used to borrow books, read newspapers, use the internet for free or just to meet some friends.
More information about Finnish libraries you can find on the homepage

Reetta Saine, who’s blogging as Kirjaston antitäti hyssyttää, provided valuable information for this article. She’s an expert in Finnish public library blogs.

Our guest author Päivi Hollanti is working as a librarian at the Suomen Virtuaaliammattikorkeakoulu, the Finnish Online University of Applied Sciences and is mainly blogging on eAineistot oppimisen resurssi.

Finnish Library Blogs

It appears that the history of Finnish library blogs is even younger than in other Nordic countries. Among the first library bloggers was Jenni with her Jemory that started in 2004. In the beginning it was more library related. Since the birth of Hämeenlinna town library blog Jenni has done much of her library blogging there, keeping Jemory as a more personal blog.

In 2005 a few library students joined together to create and update Näkymätön kirjasto (Invisible Library). It started as a place where people told about books worth reading, but today it also incorporates other library-related stories.

There seem to be no more than a few dozen Finnish library blogs in existence at the moment, most of them librarians’personal blogs. Good examples of these include Kirjastossa töissä [Working in a library], Kasenkan metsä [Kasenka’s forest], Kirjastotäti [Library Lady] and Kirjaston antitäti hyssyttää [Library’s anti-lady shushes]. Antitäti is a children and youth services librarian who welcomes her readers behind the scenes of a small local library. Her individual, good-humoured style has made her one of the most popular librarian bloggers in Finland.

Also worth mentioning are the professional blogs kept by some of the high-profile librarians in the public library sector. Maija Berndtson’s blog deals mainly with international co-operation, while Heikki Poroila focuses on music library and copyright issues. Vesa Suominen, a lecturer in information studies in the University of Oulu, blogs about the development of our profession. The latest addition to the world of high-profile bloggers is Kimmo Tuominen who co-authors Parlamenttikirjasto [Parliament Library]. Tuominen provides insightful comments on the use of social media in libraries.

There seem to be only a few blogs directed at library patrons: the already mentioned Hämeenlinna town library blog and possibly Viisahampi vierelläsi [Wiser by your side]. Both Tuhat elämää [Thousand lives] and Kirjasto Omenan kirjapuutarha [Library Apple’s book garden] introduce books worth reading. Kirjavinkit [Book tips] started as early as 2002 and has an excellent keyword list.

An interesting mixture is Opinelli [Learn Nelli], a project blog that concentrates on a Metasearch portal (a.k.a. Nelli) and its use in the Turku University of Applied Sciences. Apart from reporting on the project, Opinelli also provides information for library patrons.

Another project blog is Kirjastosuunnittelijan muistiinpanoja [Notes from Library Planner] that deals with library service development on the Helsinki University Central Campus. eAineistot oppimisen resurssi [eCollections as Learning Resource] is a project blog aimed at the library staff in Finnish polytechnics (or, universities of applied sciences) and focuses mainly on library marketing and the advocacy of information fluency.

An example of specialized library blogs is Digijulkaisut [Digital publications] by the experts in the National Library on all things digital. A few librarians involved with IL education have started edublogs like Tuutori [Tutor]. It seems likely that the number of edublogs will increase in the future, at least in the world of higher education.

All in all, there is no doubt that the public library sector in Finland has been more ready to embrace blogging. The first library services based on social web technology will almost certainly be introduced in the public libraries. University libraries together with the polytechnic libraries are only beginning to awaken to the possibilities of Web 2.0.

List of mentionened blogs: