According to the Finnish library law, every municipality and city MUST provide library services. Does it mean that library services (or cooperation with library) is the duty also of every village with couple of hundred people? Or how Finns define MUNICIPALITY?
Thank a lot
Yes, even the smallest municipality in Finland has to provide some library services. There are some municipalities with a couple of hundred inhabitants in Finland: Sottunga (122 inhabitants), Kökar (258 inhabitants), Kumlinge (371 inhabitants), and Lumparland (391 inhabitants), and each has a small library. For example, the Kökar Library has about 7 600 books, and 36 loans per a customer (in 2007).
If there are many villages in a municipality, there is no need to maintain a library in every village. Usually, the library is located in the biggest village, or in the center of the municipality. Municipalities can also provide library services together, but many municipalities prefer to maintain their own library.
The Finnish term “kunta” (‘a municipality’) is defined in Kuntalaki (‘the Municipality Law’). A Finnish municipality must offer services defined by the law, but there are no limits about how many inhabitants a municipality should have. Of course, providing services can be easier for a big municipality, and there have been a lot of discussion about the sizes of the municipalities in Finland. The Finnish Government would like to see bigger municipalities so that they would be more capable of fulfil their duties, but small municipalities aren’t very willing to join bigger municipalities and to lose their independency.
For more information about the Finnish municipalities, please see the website of the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities at http://www.kunnat.net/k_etusivu.asp?path=1;161;279.