It is a really beautiful space, I was there with my child last weekend and shot lots of videos of the various areas. There are trees inside, play-areas for children, and many nooks for reading/resting/chatting.
This link (Finnish) has a brief video showing people cleaning the snow from the roof too, which is a semi-common occurrence in buildings/streets here in Helsinki:
Quote from Tommi Laitio, an executive director in Helsinki city:
“We often think that things like social cohesion or democracy are just words, but in spaces like these they really come to life,” Mr. Laitio said. “You need some social infrastructure for communities to work. You can’t build them on friendship, or this abstract idea of living together.”
'Oodi “fits very well into the Nordic story of how societies work,” Mr. Laitio said. “There are so few of us here, so we have to make sure everyone can develop to their fullest potential.”'
A perspective increasingly lost in Sweden.
* Finland has one of the best school systems in the world. Sweden one of the most deregulated and is average in PISA rankings.
* Finland is one of the few western countries to build a new nuclear power plant. Sweden is set to instead use taxes to deal with climate change while the price of electricity is the highest in a decade.
* While this library was being built they have been arguing about building the privately funded Nobel Center in Stockholm for years.
Finland is also able to take decisions such as working against smoking. This is one of those "nanny state" public health things Nordic countries are known for. In Sweden there are half a dozen commercials for online casinos every commercial break on TV, on billboards and in all the online newspapers.
I can see why especially Stockholm would be alluring, but if you look at the housing market (or outside of Stockholm) it isn't as fun anymore.
1) equal opportunities for everyone to access education and culture;
2) availability and use of information;
3) reading culture and versatile literacy skills;
4) opportunities for lifelong learning and competence development;
5) active citizenship, democracy and freedom of expression.
You might like a quite place to read, but if society pays it should get more than sleepy reading halls. I find that the fetishising of books and silent library spaces is a nostalgic fantasy championed by people that rarely actually use libraries, while they are unaware that libraries are the most used cultural institutions in many countries. There is not a single good reason to limit libraries to disseminate the printed book as the only document. Other than elitism.
In the UK, libraries are something like social centres: unemployed people go there to read; retired people read the daily papers; people without the internet at home come to use the computers; children come after school until their parents finish work.
It's important that there are public spaces like that. It's a lifeline for some people.
But most public libraries in the UK are, for those exact reasons, very poor places to study.
Studying is not a nostalgic fantasy. Giving opinions on how public libraries should be run, without any relation to reality is. If you go through the library act I posted you will find that providing silent study places is NOT an object that Finnish public libraries should fulfil. It makes no sense to criticise public libraries for not providing what they shouldn't provide.People that want silent study places can go to academic libraries.
>retired people read the daily papers; people without the internet at home come to use the computers; children come after school until their parents finish work.
All things that would be less of, if the public library room were to be a silent tomb.
>It's important that there are public spaces like that. It's a lifeline for some people.
Exactly. The nostalgic fantasy I'm criticising carlospwk for is that public libraries are "noisy, too relaxed and not geared towards actual studying". Not really a position that fosters the needs of the diverse population of patrons.
I could have maybe worded myself better. I don't really care what people do in a library, I just wish it was silent and peaceful like it was before.
I actually had a laugh at myself just after posted my second comment. As had to break up a group of patrons where having a teleconference with multiple laptops, on speaker, in study section. Guess there is a limit even in noisy libraries!
I don't fetishise books. I welcome e-readers, computers and whatever devices you can use to gather information. It's great that there's a 3D printer and all kinds of facilities. I'm just sad to see one of the last silent public spaces to die off.
I wouldn't really make sweeping generalisations on the state of Finnish libraries based on one modern example intended to be different. Besides, if we're going to have yet another library in the centre of Helsinki, why not make it different?
If you need to study the university library is just around the corner. Or the library of the national archives if you prefer a tomb-like silence. Or the one on Rikhardinkatu for the more classic milieu. Choice is good.
>If you need to study the university library is just around the corner. Or the library of the national archives if you prefer a tomb-like silence. Or the one on Rikhardinkatu for the more classic milieu. Choice is good.
Thanks for these recommendations, I have to check them out. The only problem is that to go to a university library is that they are mostly (afaik) in the city center. Kind of a trek for someone from neighbouring counties.
Disclaimer: been to Oodi and think it’s great. I’m not a regular user of libraries in any sense, though. I used to be, 20 years ago, and appreciate the current trend exemplified by Oodi as something perfectly befitting Finnish societal values and ethos as I understand them. Ymmv, of course.
There are no such expectations since most of the libraries are a bit empty when there are no exams so it makes sense that some of that space is used for other means rather than allocating empty study rooms IMHO.
Helsinki has exceptionally good libraries for quiet studying. If you have a book and need to sit down, read and study, I would recommend National Library, Rikhardinkadun library or Kaisa library. All of them are walking distance from Oodi.
Granted, these libraries had dedicated study or reading spaces but I guess I prefer the more traditional outlook of a library and it'd be nice if quiet was strictly enforced in libraries and they were not made into some hybrid public communal spaces with books, research and studying as an afterthought but that's just me.
I visited not long after it opened when it was very busy, even then it seemed to me there were a lot of quiet places for studying?
But Oodi is also not so much of a library than an indoor public space. That is probably fine and that I think is where libraries are going in general. However, being born decades ago it's libraries I like.
I'll much rather find my "books and crannies" to spend some quality time a few blocks the other way in this old library: https://goo.gl/8sEdSS (more pictures on FourSquare: https://foursquare.com/v/rikhardinkadun-kirjasto/4baa99a3f96...). It's as cramped as homely, quiet, smells of old books, and offers a sense of a place unlike the new showroom of design.
--a librarian software engineer
They encouraged a chess club which was what got me in the door (shamefully for someone who reads as much as I do I rarely went) and now I use their other services, it's got a nice little cafe attached and upstairs they have a maker space.
It's surprisingly progressive for my local council.
As to why I like the library, it provides useful services beyond lending books (which in the world of Amazon and e-readers isn't enough - however I'm happy to pay taxes towards the people on low incomes been able to check out books), mostly it's the people who run the place, they are almost universally lovely to interact with.
So much for trying to do any remote working or studying for things like AWS at the library without your own 4G connection, unless you're content just reading the docs.
Who knows, maybe I complained enough that they fixed it? :)
Small world ..
Including how you make reservations for the rooms in this library building: https://github.com/City-of-Helsinki/varaamo
Whatever they ought to be called instead, it looks to me like the space is not lacking in them--curves and inconvenient angles in particular.