Model Programme for Public Libraries

Kultur styrrelsen

Realdania

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Case: Entressen Library in Espoo

Introduction

Entressen Library is both a vibrant and lively local library, serving as a living room for the city district's multi-cultural population, and a relaxed shoppers' library directed at city dwellers who are used to picking and choosing among available offers by themselves. Users and librarians (who wear uniforms) move around the same spaces, so help is always easy to find. Half of the library is designed with particular attention to making sure that children and young people feel welcome.

The lively library

At Entressen Library, you are allowed to run, laugh out loud and speak on your mobile phone. The space buzzes with life, and at the same time it is a safe place to be because the uniformed staff are clearly visible in the space, where they are easy to contact if you need help to solve problems. It is an informal space with an emphasis on inspiration to borrow topical books, music and films. In the middle of the library, there is a stage with a big screen, which is used for events, teaching, meetings etc. The interior design is simple and functional with straight, white bookcases, but also inviting with comfortable seating in warm colours: red, orange and yellow.

The multi-cultural library

A large sign by the library's stage states that this is a ‘discrimination-free space’. It is to stress that everybody, regardless of their ethnic and cultural background, is equally welcome, and both users and staff reflect the city district's diversity. The staff speak a total of 13 languages between them, and they have extensive knowledge about many cultures and literature from different countries. New immigrants use the library for learning Finnish, and the computers are used to maintain old contacts and to build new lives.

Children's and young people's library

Half of the library's 3,000 m2 is designed for children and young people. The younger children can lounge about with a book on the soft carpet, while the older children play Wii games or hang out. The library's three youth staff happily participate in games and experiences and serve as mixers at music events, update social media and help fixing technical problems.

Staff and users at eye level

The library is located in a part of Espoo where there are many immigrants. The area also has more children and young people, single parents and low-income families than other Finnish towns. It is located on the third floor of a shopping centre where many users come already, and the users are seen to a great extent as ‘customers’ who can shop around on their own, but who can also quickly find help, as the staff are present in the same space. This means that there are no counters and that it is easy to get help when you need it.

The library considers it its main task to make the digital and the physical library interact, and not least to help users gain access to the Internet and work safely here. And as its most recent additional service, the library has acquired a digitisation station that makes it easy to transfer old sound and image formats to document format.

3,000 m2 floor space offer both openness and distinct zones with sub-divisions and installations. Photo: Signal Architects

18. Sep 2017 at. 13:31

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