Model Programme for Public Libraries

Kultur styrrelsen

Realdania

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Case: Meeting Point in Helsinki

Introduction

At Meeting Point, there is not one single book. Instead, people can get help from the ‘laptop doctor’ to solve computer problems, or they can become members of a ‘laptop club’, which has a new theme on its programme each week. Users can also find help with job seeking, or they can use the well-equipped ‘Urban Office’, where people can work if they need a temporary workplace. Meeting Point also serves as a small event place where different parties can organise recruitment, learning or thematic events. Meeting Point is a service that is managed by Helsinki's library system with funding from the Helsinki Innovation Fund.

The book-free library

This ‘library’ does not have a book collection. Instead, the objective is to offer the city's residents practical advice and support in their use of IT equipment and generally on how to live in an information society. It is a test unit, which is to develop new methods in collaboration with other public and private organisations.

Meeting Point has invested in wireless technology, and the library's many multimedia computer workstations, desks, terminals and other IT-related equipment are all equipped with wheels. Electrical outlets and data ports have been placed in the ceiling so that the space can be altered at any time in relation to the users' need.

Laptop club and laptop doctor

At the laptop club, a group of senior citizens meets once a week to improve their IT competences, be that shopping on the Internet or tuning in to Internet TV. Both Meeting Point's own staff and staff from other libraries serve as instructors. If someone has more concrete problems with their equipment, they can book a ‘laptop doctor’, who will help them diagnose and treat the user's problems with updates and software installations. Helsinki's job seekers' centre also has an office at Meeting Point, and job seekers can get an introduction to the use of Internet-based job search tools.

Urban Office

Urban Office is a free invitation to work or hold meetings at the library within a limited period of time. This enables young creative entrepreneurs or others who cannot afford an office in the city centre to book mobile offices or special chairs that shield against sound and have room for a portable computer. In addition to this, Urban Office provides everything that is needed in the work process, right from paper clips over technical assistance to lending projectors and other equipment.

Meeting Point also makes rooms available for the weekly meeting of a network for creative entrepreneurs, and it aims to improve the feed chain to the creative industries by giving ‘competent amateurs’ a boost within technology and media, so that in the long term they can get a foot inside the doors of these industries.

The newest offer is a Fab Lab where users can learn how to make prototypes using a 3D printer. This is part of the development of a ‘DIY Maker Space’, which makes it easy to design and produce objects, products or services with help from the user network. The main idea is to create an intelligent workplace where ideas, information and competences meet.

18. Sep 2017 at. 13:42

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