Public Library offering a variety of digital services, such as borrowing & returning books digitally, eBooks, e-newspapers, digital education and 3D-printing
Digitalisation changes the ways citizens want to access the public services provided by their home towns and municipalities. In addition to their traditional role as a source of knowledge, the public libraries in Finland have been essential in supplying citizens with a growing number of digital services and education in forms of lectures and short courses.
Seinäjoki Public Library "Apila" (Clover) offers a variety of digital services, such as borrowing and returning the books digitally, eBooks, newspapers, digital education and 3D-printing, music from all over the world, and archives. The library is a modern building, with a relaxed atmosphere, and a lot to see and do for all, regardless of age or background. It is thus an easily accessible public library that attracts people from different backgrounds and age groups.
The library provides weekly guidance for digitally illiterate customers or people with special needs. They provide also equipment and guidance with digitazing of valuable analog materials, and thus preserving cultural heritage. In the digital workshop (Apila verstas) the customers can also get guidance in 3D-printing. Many of the basic services of the library have also been digitised. The library has been developing e-borrowing of books and other digital materials and they have also fully digitalised self-service desks. In addition the library arranges various open seminars and education events about the digitalisation issues.
The precise resources are hard to define. The electronic library system, Eepos, is used in 22 other municipalities; overall costs pa are approx €160 000 of which €46 000 is allocated for Seinäjoki. Library’s yearly budget is around €4.4M and it has over 50 employees; most offer e services
Evidence of success
The modern library has increased the influence a public service can have on the local citizens (population 61 000). The total number of visitors in 2016 was 318 027. In addition 402 education and guidance events were organised. In 2017 the library organized 394 education and guidance events that had altogether 6422 participants.
Potential for learning or transfer
The library in itself is a good example of how to attract visitors. The library has a new reputation as the resident’s living room. With its cosy and inspiring atmosphere it attracts people from different backgrounds and age groups. These factors are important when creating open spaces for innovation. In a way the library has great possibilities for becoming a creative space and an innovation hub in the region.
The library has also done a great job in educating digital skills for local residents that might be interesting for other regions as well.
Lastly the library is an excellent example of how it has responded to the challenges digitalisation has demanded from public libraries. The library is not only about lending books and a place for silent work. It is a centre of different activities such as seminars, workshops, public events, movie nights, quizzes and reading events.
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