As a library student at Simmons College, Boston, USA, I am currently working on a project about Finnish libraries. After examining the Finish library system, I am now interested more closely in the fact that public libraries in Finland are encouraged to offer their services not only in Finish but also in Swedish. Here, I am interested how public libraries manage to offer services in two languages. Additionally, I am interested in if and how they manage to offer services to Lapp and Russian speaking minorities.
I would be very greatful for any help because I am stuck at the moment and because I am currently not finding information about this topic.
Finland adopted a new Constitution in March 2000. Like its predecessor, the new Constitution states that Finnish and Swedish are the national languages of Finland. According to the Constitution, the public authorities are required to provide for the cultural and societal needs of the Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking populations of the country on an equal basis. In practice, this means that various social services, education and information must be provided in both languages. The law also ensures bilingual government in Finland. This means that all legislation and other important documents must be available in both Finnish and Swedish.
The Sámi are an indigenous people living in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia. Known widely in the past as Lapps, the term "Lapp" is now considered derogatory by many Sámi. The Sámi have their own language, of which there are several variations. The majority of the sami, some 4,000 persons, still live in their native area, known as the Sámi Homeland (Sámiid ruovttuguovlu), which is northernmost municipalities in the Province of Lapland, namely Utsjoki, Inari, and Enontekiö plus the northern part of the municipality of Sodankylä. Only in Utsjoki do they constitute a majority of the local residents. Overall, the Sámi constitute approximately one third of the residents within the Sámi Homeland. This area is of relevance for the implementation of the Sámi Language Act as well as the Act on the Sámi Parliament.
In the Helsinki City library the swedishspeaking staff do quite a lot of translation to ensure the information of patrons, as do the russianspeaking staff.