Jonna Toukonen, Riikka Rajala and Lisa Engström: Flexibility and Equality of Access, Self-Service Libraries in Finland 2022

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Live-stream recording from a conference “Nordic Libraries Annual 2023”. This live streaming video includes a presentations by Jonna Toukonen, Senior Officer at Finnish Regional State Administrative Agencies, “Flexibility and Equality of Access, Self-Service Libraries in Finland 2022”. Video includes also comments and discussion by Riikka Rajala, Organizational Planner, Finnish Library Association and Lisa Engström, Senior Lecturer, Lund University, Sweden. Discussion was moderated by Päivi Jokitalo.

Jonna Toukonen works as a Senior Officer of Library Affairs at Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland and has versatile experience in both public and academic library services.

Riikka Rajala works as an organizational planner at Finnish Library Association. She has studied the use of safer place principles in libraries and she also advises and helps libraries in drafting safer place principles. She has worked with library professionals in Finnish Library Association for over a decade.

Lisa Engström, senior lecturer in library and information studies at Lund university. Lisa Engströms’ research concerns public libraries role as social infrastructures in urban environments, particularly for vulnerable groups. She is also involved in a research project investigating public libraries’ democratic mission in times of political turmoil.

Nordic Libraries Annual is an annual conference looking at topical issues in public libraries and library development. The conference examined the self-service use of libraries. In 2023 the conference was organized November 2. The conference was organized by the Regional State Administrative Agencies in Finland in collaboration with Kirjastokaista (Library Channel) and Espoo City Library. The conference was funded by the Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture. This year’s conference was streamed from Espoo’s new Lippulaiva Library.

What happens when customers have the freedom to decide how and when they use library services? Self-service means inclusion, community and ownership of the spaces, but also permissiveness and trust. It requires practical solutions, safety and tolerance, as well as adaptation of personnel and patrons. The customers’ self-service also affects the professional identity of the library personnel.

What can self-service libraries offer users? What does the freedom of self-realization mean and do we have limits for it? What does the library space allow and enable for independent use with others? What interesting examples can be found in Nordic libraries?

The conference was related to the report on self-service libraries in Finland, which was published in June 2023. The report is available in Finnish (.pdf), Swedish (.pdf) and in abbreviated version in English (.pdf). A blog post about self-service libraries is also available.

Read more:
All videos from the conference

See also:

In 2022 the conference was organized 2nd to 3rd of November in Helsinki, at the Central Library Oodi, and the focus was “Literacy, Libraries and The Civil Society”.
All the videos from the NLA 2022 conference

In 2021 the conference was organized online from the 3rd to 4th of November, and the focus was on libraries as well as democracy.
All the videos from the NLA 2021 conference

“Nordic Libraries Annual: Towards Sustainable Futures” was organized for the first time on the 5th and 6th of November 2020.
All the videos from the NLA 2020 conference

Live-stream: Mikko Helander and Joonas Nevalainen
Producer: Riitta Taarasti
Produced by Library Channel (Kirjastokaista), 2023

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