Espoo City Library shortlisted for The Library of the Year prize

The London Book Fair awarded for the first time international The Library of the Year prize last year. Espoo City Library has been shortlisted as one of the finalists for this year’s prize. The other candidates include Lubuto Library Partners (Sambia) and Parque Villa-Lobos (Brazil).  The winner will be announced at the London Book Fair on March 12th 2019.  

Espoo City Library brought attention in the prize bid to the easy accessibility of its libraries. The larger branch libraries are located in shopping malls amidst people’s everyday routes. The library network is comprehensive and the smaller branch libraries can be accssed early in the morning and late in the evening without the staff being present. The book mobiles bring library services even to the remote locations within the city of Espoo. The outreach services reach those living in nursing homes and with help of the digital services having access to library services is no longer confined to time or space.

The libraries in Espoo have developed more into a living space for people. The youth spaces are for spending time and meeting friends. In the extremely popular ukulele workshops people learn to make music together and gain new experiences. Immigrants and asylum seekers come to the libraries on a regular basis to learn Finnish at languages cafes and to get assistance with the Finnish bureaucracy. Makerspaces are learning environments where all kinds of practical skills are gained. Everyone is most welcome to the Espoo City Library.

Another distinguishing feature about the Espoo City Library is the openness of the working culture and the agile experimental approach towards developing new services.

Jaana Tyrni , the Library Service Director describes her feelings about the Espoo City Library being shortlisted for the prize:

“Espoo City Library welcomes with joy the honor to be shortlisted for The Library of the Year Award. At this point, we are thrilled to focus attention to the recently reformed Finnish Library Law, which encourages and enables libraries to be diverse, resourceful and ingenious part of society. Libraries are expected to take an active role not only in improving reading culture, information literacy and active citizenship, but also in developing cultural and social interaction. We in Espoo are constantly working to achieve these goals with compassion and a pedagogic approach to library work as our main tools. Meanwhile, we try not to forget that learning together with the whole personnel and the society should be extremely fun!” 

The 2018 prize was awarded to the Latvian National Library. The other finalists included Biblo Tøyen (Norway), Dokk1 (Denmark) and São Paulo Library (Brazil).

Espoo City Library received the Finnish Library of the Year prize awarded by the Association of the Finnish local and regional authorities at the Helsinki Book Fair in October 2018.

For more information:

The Library of the Year Award finalists 2019

Espoo chosen as the Finnish library of the year

Espoo City Library´s Youtube channel