€98m Helsinki library to open in December
In Finland, Helsinki’s new public library Oodi is set to open in early December, coinciding with the country’s Independence Day celebrations.
Oodi, which translates to ‘ode’ in English, was commissioned as part of the Finland’s 100th anniversary of independence from Russia.
The library was designed by Finnish firm ALA Architects, which won an international architecture competition to design Helsinki’s new central library in 2013. The €98 million (A$154m) project includes a cafe, restaurant, public balcony, cinema, audiovisual recording studios, and an ‘urban workshop’ containing 3D printers and sewing machines, as well as over 100,000 books for patrons to borrow.
Helsinki deputy mayor Nasima Razmyar told the Guardian earlier this year: ‘I think Finland could not have given a better gift to the people. It symbolises the significance of learning and education, which have been fundamental factors for Finland’s development and success.’
Finland is one of the world’s most literate countries and libraries are a highly used public service; it is one of the few countries in the world to have a Library Act, which includes legal provisions which dictate that libraries must remain free to use and that every library must have a certain number of qualified staff depending on the size of the population they serve. The country’s 5.5 million inhabitants borrow 68 million books per year; Oodi is expected to experience 2.5 million visits per year.
The grand opening of Oodi will be held on 5 December, the eve of Finnish Independence Day, with festivities to continue on 6 December with events designed especially for families with children. For more information about Oodi, visit the website.