Literature “The library is under threat if nothing is done” – A common digital library is planned for Finland

The application used is not enough, funding is also needed for copyright, the Writers’ Association says.

In Finland A project is underway to investigate the establishment of a one-stop e-library in Finland.

The goal is the entire Finnish digital library, whose collection can be accessed by the entire nation without hindrance.

Electronic books and audiobooks could be borrowed through the integrated service. Perhaps magazines and other digital material would also be included.

“It would be the one-stop shop for easier access for the customer,” says Vetävä Virva Nousiainen-Mouse, Head of Common Services in the Library Network.

Ministry of Education and Culture provided funding for the implementation of the survey in January 2020. The state budget provided additional funding of EUR 1 million in December 2020 to promote the project.

The project began after corona delays last fall. For example, it has organized workshops in which the best implementation has been considered with the “ecosystem” of the entire literary field.

The study project will be completed in April – May. If things move forward, a nationwide digital library could open in 2023.

It remains to be decided what the governance model will be and how the municipalities running the libraries will be involved.

It is important for the library customer that the platform is smooth to use. For example, in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area currently has many different services for consuming electronic materials. They are too complicated for many.

The intention is not to build a platform but to use existing services. The model for customer experience, licensing and administration is taken from, for example, Danish public libraries and the New York City Library.

Bridge services currently selling electronic material define the content available. In the future, the library should be able to decide in more detail what digital material will be offered to the customer.

“Content is the biggest challenge,” says Nousiainen-Hiiri.

Licensing models are reviewed with publishers, authors, and copyright holders.

The credit received by authors for quoting does not currently apply to digital material. It would be essential for the project that this be changed in Parliament.

Member of Parliament, former Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen has prepared a bill proposing to extend library borrowing fees to e-books and e-audio books.

E-books good accessibility would increase equality for citizens. There is currently much more electronic material available in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area than in many municipalities in Finland.

In the corona situation, the differences become more pronounced when more e-materials are used than before.

Their use has grown considerably throughout Finland last year. In Helmet, the number of e-journals increased by 118 percent, e-audio books by 41 percent and e-books by 20 percent.

Oodi Central Library in November 2020. The entire third floor is now reserved for reserved books.­

Finland It is hoped that the Writers’ Union will take into account the selection of diverse local material throughout Finland when moving to a national “one-stop shop”.

“It’s not enough that the software is usable. Sufficiently diverse materials are needed and, in turn, enough money for procurement, ”the Executive Director of the Finnish Writers’ Association Suvi Oinonen says.

Borrowing fees do not merely compensate for the decline in sales of physical works.

“The most important thing is to preserve the commercial market. The complementary role of the library is important, but the system must be made so that the commercial possibility remains, ”says Oinonen.

According to Nousiainen-Hiire, who is leading the digitization project, fears have arisen that the library could eat up all the turnover from the literature industry.

“It’s not meant to eat anyone’s livelihood.”

If an e-book is popular, it is still not directly available but must be joined to the booking queue, as is the case with physical books.

Ascendant-Mouse fears that the library will be threatened if nothing is done.

As the amount of print material decreases, there is no longer a similar need for a library filled with shelves.

The project is justified by the fact that it also helps library staff. The threat is that in the electronic age, physical libraries will be cut down.

“I don’t think the staff or physical offices will disappear, but the library needs to re-create itself,” says Nousiainen-Hiiri.

“Is the library collections or a place to be. In my view, it is both that. ”

Oodi Central Library has only been open to a limited extent during the pandemic. Librarians Mikko Neuvonen (left) and Paavo Partanen (right) advised customers in November 2020.­


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