I went to return the books I had borrowed, and noticed my favourite library has come up with something new again! They have build a reading area to their inner court. Full of colors, pillows, hammocks and cute details. The place is like an oasis in the middle of the city.
They have games like a fooseball table, coloring books for kids and free coffee, tea, juice and cookies for everybody!
The role of a library has drastically changed in Finland in a really short time. When they used to only lend out books, now you can borrow almost anything: music, sheet music, video games, DVDs, even game consoles. Some libraries have sport equipment or camping gear. Libraries have become more and more important as a place for social contacts and events. Libraries organize courses about using internet, how to code, language learning groups and music events – all for free. It’s not just a place where you whisper and sneak around quietly but a place that helps you with everything you need and where you can be who you are. Lately many libraries have for example added “rainbow literature” shelves next to the more conventional genres.
Libraries at least in Helsinki are also active on social media channels, and their Facebook campaigns are often very well organized and interesting. Right now I’m taking part to the reading challenge they started in the beginning of the year. I love the creativity that the people working in the libraries have!
Personally, I owe everything to the libraries of Finland. In 5th grade I pretty much lived in one, that’s how much I spend time in there. All of my literacy knowledge and my mental and emotional skills are learned from the books I got from the library. Nowadays I couldn’t complete my studies without libraries. I stand for the municipal libraries even when all other organizations fall apart and the world is about to end. I hope they can keep up the good work they are doing even in these times of economical crisis.