Oodi gots more and more attentions by foreigners as well. I (a travel guide) sometimes was asked general "library" questions by tourists. Following questions…

Posted
15.10.2019

Oodi gots more and more attentions by foreigners as well. I (a travel guide) sometimes was asked general "library" questions by tourists. Following questions are asked and would you please give some answer?
1. What kind of age ratio for the user of libraries in general? (Is the highest number of users of libraries are students?)
2. What is the role of library for Finns as a lifelong education?
(yes, sounds like no 1 correct answer, but what do you think as a Finn?)

Thank you very much in advance.

Answer

Answered
22.10.2019
Last updated
22.10.2019

General library statistics (both public and research libraries) and  do not include the age ratio of library users, see the pages of the Ministry of Culture and Education, https://minedu.fi/kirjastotilastot (in Finnish), other information in English, https://minedu.fi/en/libraries. Statistics for public libraries, https://tilastot.kirjastot.fi/index.php?lang=en and for research libraries, https://yhteistilasto.lib.helsinki.fi/index.php?lang=en

There are some researches about library users in Helsinki City area, and also some other areas, but they are published only in Finnish https://vaikuttavuus.kirjastot.fi/lainausdata.html and https://vaikuttavuus.kirjastot.fi/kayttajatilastot.html 

In the Youth Welfare report in Helsinki we can read that almost 53 000 young people (15-29 years) used their library card within 1 year. This is about 1/4 of all library users (which means hear also use of library card) https://www.nuortenhyvinvointikertomus.fi/indikaattorit/itsensa-kehittaminen/kirjaston-kaytto . The most part of the users in Helsinki City Library are not young people. 

The role of the library in lifelong learning is essential. It's role in securing a democratic access to information and knowledge and resources to education is very important. Without our collections open to everyone, our other materials and also possibilities to use computers, printers, 3D-printers and other means that can be important to the citizen, a big part of people could become outsiders. Libraries have also a very important role in selecting and opening resources for the users, both printed books and digital materials. In addition to selecting material, they also can recommend suitable material. If you need information, you can ask the personnel in a library or via services over the net (like this Ask a Librarian). I personally think that the role of  libraries and their expertise will still be more enhanced in this age where information for example on the net can look like true facts but can be total fiction. 

Since Finns use their libraries very actively (as you can see in the Statistics), the role of the Finnish library is a very important one, also in lifelong education.

About the Finnish Library and it's future plans, see Library for Citizens An essential part of the Finnish know-how https://www.kirjastot.fi/sites/default/files/content/yleisten-kirjastojen-suunta-2016-2020-web-en.pdf and some key figures and infos, https://www.libraries.fi/sites/default/files/content/in-finland-libraries-are-basic-service-for-everyone-brochure-web_0.pdf 

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