Helsinki's new Central Library (Oodi) already has a first class award to celebrate.
The most popular library in Finland was designated as the winner of the 2019 Public Library of the Year Award. The decision was made in the World Library and Information Congress of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), which is taking place in Athens (Greece).
Oodi explained in its website that the Public Library of the Year award is presented annually to a public library that is either newly built or set up in premises not previously used for library purposes.
In 2019, a total of 16 libraries from all over the world applied to be considered as candidates for this award. The other libraries that competed with Oodi in the final were Green Square Library and Plaza in Australia, Bibliotheek LocHal in the Netherlands and Tūranga –Christchurch Central Library in New Zealand. The award’s sponsor, IT company Systematic, awarded 5,000 US dollars to Oodi.
‘Oodi was designed together with customers for a long period of time. We received more than 2,000 ideas from customers to serve as the basis of the architectural competition. ALA Architects designed an amazing and unique building that takes all the elements most desired by customers into account. The customers immediately made Oodi their own, which is our greatest success. The Public Library of the Year award tells us that the world has also taken notice of this,’ explained Director of Oodi Anna-Maria Soininvaara.
100,000 items collection
Oodi treasures a collection of 100,000 books, magazines, films, music and games. And books can be found there in 17 languages.
According to the information shown in its website, "Oodi is a meeting place, a house of reading and a diverse urban experience. Oodi provides its visitors with knowledge, new skills and stories, and is an easy place to access for learning, relaxation and work"
Oodi’s is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 22:00. On Saturdays and Sundays it opens from 10:00 to 20:00.
For more information, you can access Oodi's website in English HERE
Finland's public libraries network
In Finland, the use of public libraries is still high compared to other countries. However, the figures have been falling in recent years while Internet gained more and more users as a leisure alternative.
According to Statistics Finland, almost 2 million persons (over 35% of the country's population) borrowed something from a library in 2018. Those almost 2 million people who visited them in 2018 took altogether more than 84.5 million loans.Over the 2000-2018 period, the share of borrowers in the total population fell by nearly 12 percentage points.