Blog posts & articles

An ode to a new form of library

Oodi, meaning ode in Finnish, is Helsinki’s central library. However, books only fill one third of its large space, it is better described as a non-commercial, urban public space. It says about itself “Oodi is what you want it to be. Meet friends, search for information, immerse yourself in a book or work. Create something new in Oodi’s studios or the Urban Workshop.” Facilities include study, work and gaming spaces, audio-visual recording studios, a maker space, event spaces, a cinema, a small kitchen, a café and a restaurant. It is part of Finnish libraries’ experimentation with new services in addition to loaning books.

The concept seems to work, public libraries are the most popular cultural institutions in Finland: 50% of citizens use the library at least once a month, and 20% use it weekly. Oodi was developed in a participatory model with the community. “It wasn’t us professional librarians deciding to create this”, says one of the librarians. “It belongs to them. That’s clear if you look at how popular Oodi is now.” It looks like these services can make a range of contributions to the wellbeing of the community and visitors in Helsinki.

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Blog posts & articles

An ode to a new form of library

Oodi, meaning ode in Finnish, is Helsinki’s central library. However, books only fill one third of its large space, it is better described as a non-commercial, urban public space. It says about itself “Oodi is what you want it to be. Meet friends, search for information, immerse yourself in a book or work. Create something new in Oodi’s studios or the Urban Workshop.” Facilities include study, work and gaming spaces, audio-visual recording studios, a maker space, event spaces, a cinema, a small kitchen, a café and a restaurant. It is part of Finnish libraries’ experimentation with new services in addition to loaning books.

The concept seems to work, public libraries are the most popular cultural institutions in Finland: 50% of citizens use the library at least once a month, and 20% use it weekly. Oodi was developed in a participatory model with the community. “It wasn’t us professional librarians deciding to create this”, says one of the librarians. “It belongs to them. That’s clear if you look at how popular Oodi is now.” It looks like these services can make a range of contributions to the wellbeing of the community and visitors in Helsinki.

Interested in more stories like this? Sign up to our monthly newsletter.

Image: Kuvio / Oodi