The impact of libraries...
Summarized by Titta Baer
The impact of libraries
When it comes to libraries, the following two figures are the focus of attention: the number of users and the number of loans. An essential question, however, is the impact of libraries. How do libraries influence a customer’s life or the surrounding community? In addition to volume, one should also discuss the impact of libraries. What do we possibly get, experience or learn when using library services? Once we know the answer to this question, the volume will also have more significance.
Denmark’s first self-service library began as an experimental project at the library of Silkeborg in 2005. In connection with the country’s municipal reform, the number of municipalities was reduced from 271 to 98 and many small neighbourhood libraries were simultaneously closed and replaced by “open libraries”. These libraries are staffed only part of the time, but customers can use them based on a self-service concept almost 24/7. In Denmark there are 177 libraries that are open from morning to evening and operate part of the time as self-service libraries. The number is continuously rising. Volunteer work at libraries is also among the topics handled in KirjastoPro 4/2013.
Leena Aaltonen, a new Counsellor for Cultural Affairs
Three counsellors for cultural affairs are responsible for public library issues at the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (Division for Cultural Policy at the Department for Cultural, Sport and Youth Policy). The newest Counsellor for Cultural Affairs, Leena Aaltonen, is in charge of government subsidies for developing library operations and the evaluation of libraries. Media education, multiculturalism and promotion of education in the field are also part of her job description. According to Leena Aaltonen, the value of work at a ministry can essentially be measured based on the good it generates for people. Projects, policy programmes and statutes exist only in order to guarantee that citizens have better opportunities for a good life. “I think we have good administrative traditions in Finland. The authorities are really there for the citizens”, Leena Aaltonen summarizes.
Regional Library Director Terttu Lehtola is soon retiring.She maintains thatlibrary directorsneed education in the field, extensive knowledge of municipal issues and experience of municipal administration. Library collections must not be forgotten even in the digital era. Cooperation and meeting people face to face are still valuable.
Merit Lahnaoja, a recent graduate,reflects onhowstudies and library work interact. Education is a solid foundation, but on-the-job learning is also crucial. ”Would, for instance, the suppliers of library systems be interested in delivering demo versions to schools, so that future professionals could try at least some system before they graduate”, she asks.
Mobile library content
KirjastoPro tested the mobile collection services of libraries. The test covers alternative films, periodical services, e-books and online music services.