The Finnish nationwide e-library will become part of the National Library of Finland when an associated project funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture and coordinated by Helsinki City Library concludes at the end of 2023. The National Library will establish a separate e-library unit to develop and coordinate the service.
“This is great news. The National Library is a stable and reliable organisation and a respected partner for libraries and the publishing sector,” says Virva Nousiainen-Hiiri, Head of Library Network Services at Helsinki City Library and the e-library project owner.
After the e-library opens in early 2024, its development will continue based on feedback from libraries and customers. Initially, the e-library will offer e-books, audiobooks and digital journals on loan.
“The nationwide e-library ideally will provide all Finns with a more equal opportunity to use the digital content of Finnish libraries. Municipalities themselves will decide whether to join the e-library. If as many municipalities as possible get involved, development of the service will get off to a good start,” says Director Päivi Savinainen of Kuopio City Library, who chairs the Council for Public Libraries.
E-library to be developed and steered together with libraries
The National Library will establish a new e-library unit, recruiting specialists from various fields. A steering group will supervise e-library operations. In addition, various strategic working groups, such as a collections steering group, will help guide and develop the service. The efforts require effective collaboration with the publishing sector.
The e-library unit will collaborate closely with public libraries. Library professionals in municipalities will continue to work in groups to select resources for the e-library, oversee the accumulation of the shared e-collection and participate in planning book recommendations and resource highlights for the new e-library website. Libraries will also inform customers about the e-library and advise them on its use.
Regular open sessions will be organised for the member municipalities and libraries to present the e-library operations and development plans, consult members on current topics and select the steering group members. These sessions will promote library collaboration and allow municipalities to influence decisions. The e-library steering group will include representatives from municipalities of all sizes.
National Library already provides services to public libraries
The National Library of Finland is a cultural heritage organisation that is open to all and provides nationwide services to the public, the academic community and society more broadly. The mission of the National Library includes developing national services, providing them to public and specialist libraries along with those of both academic and applied science universities, and promoting national and international collaboration in the library sector. Among the National Library’s services is the search service Finna, used widely by Finnish libraries. The National Library operates as part of the University of Helsinki.
“The nationwide e-library will enhance democracy and equal access to information – themes that are strategically significant to the National Library. We’re happy to offer this resource, which is both important and consistent with our other services for public libraries,” says Director Kimmo Tuominen of the National Library.