Children and youth services have been a strategic focus area in our library for a long time. In library’s new strategy literacy emphasis continues this focus. We have invested heavily in material acquisition for children and youth recent years. The floating library materials, launched in 2016, definitely brought the acquisition of child material acquisition to the fore. The increase in this work will continue in 2019.

The euro-denominated level of Finnish and English-language material has increased from  € 224’000 to € 410’000 this year, over 80 %. With a total budget of around € 1.4 million, these investments can be considered very heavy.

The investments in children’s material has been good. It is like pouring water into a dripping soil: the earth absorbs water and screams for more!. The lending of children’ and youth material in Finnish-language has increased in 2015-2018 with staggering 24 %.  The development is also based on the presence of self-service libraries. Previously  local libraries that have had limited opening hours are now available from early morning to night. Collections are now available much better. However, the role of acquisition in increasing usage is essential: if there are no books available, they cannot be borrowed or read.

The distribution of finances is largely a zero-sum-game – when you invest in something, it is away from something else. Despite the emphasis on children, the overall review of adult literature has remained fairly steady in recent years. The focus has shifted somewhat towards non-fiction and both English fiction and non-fiction. Conversely, this meant that the strong demand for the newly published Finnish books was not fully answered, and there is no need to raise the stakes. Heavy-users of literature will have to wait for the latest Remes or Kyrö (top writers in our country) for a long time. Customer behavior shows that this is suitable for many. Some of the customers obtain the material other ways, which is also OK!

Recently, both in Espoo and nationally, we have woken up to the problem of literacy. It  is becoming a social problem. Adult literacy challenges and responses to this issue are being discussed particularly strongly this year 2019 in Espoo. Perhaps the most obvious notice of the debate is that there are no easy ways to tackle this.  We adults are tough to bite.

I myself would turn with this problem  again to  – surprise, surprice! – children and youth work and services. Nine-year-old girl Emma Catherine, is now an adult, 14-years -old boy  Tim Tony after ten years. Even in a long-term perspective, investing in their literacy skills is therefor also an investment in adult literacy. Finding solutions is much easier at an early stage when learning and learning are the main work of a person and when his personality identity are only in the process of being formed.

More than 9 %  is invested in Swedish-language literature, which is in line with the number of Espoo citizens speaking Swedish. In recent years, Swedish-language acquisition has also increased the emphasis on children and adolescents.

Within the framework of national special tasks, Espoo acquires a lot of Russian-language literature with separate funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture. Next most books are in Estonian.

The digital material is spearheaded by magazines: the Finnish -Language newspaper service ePress and PressReader and RBDigital. Commercial  actors have come to the e-audio book market , while the library has not always been satisfied with the supply provided.

The role of libraries as providers of e-books and audios is not in law as strong as in the field of printed books. This  problem has to be resolved with a legal solution at national and E.U. level – as the new term of our parliament  starts soon, this will give them an area of work. The Nordic countries are major libraries in E.U., so the initiative is best to come from here.The abandonment of summer time is an example of how a small country can quickly get results with a good initiative through the E.U. institutions.

What comes to the use of audiovisual material  is withering and acquisition taking the same path. The use of CDs has collapsed in a decade and the acquisition is now a trickle. Use of disc-like films is also dwindling, but the the way in which films are released and distributed is better suited to the demand for DVD and Blue-ray discs.

Console gaming was released only a few years ago and the collection and its users are still in the process of being formed. The next generation of Play Station and XBox is expected to be launched next year. It remains to be seen whether the machines still have a disk drive or whether the new generation will change to a purely digital one.




Miika Miettunen

Kirjastopalvelupäällikkö Espoon kaupunginkirjastossa. Vastuualueina kirjastoaineisto ja kokoelmat, logistiikka, talous.

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