Kopi fra DBC Webarkiv

29  Download (0)

Full text


Kopi fra DBC Webarkiv

Kopi af:

Oulu City Library offers tailored home services for the elderly

Dette materiale er lagret i henhold til aftale mellem DBC og udgiveren.


e-mail: dbc@dbc.dk


Theme: Social inclusion

No. 3. 2007


Equal opportunities.Barbro Wigell-Ryynänen 3

The Oulu City Library offers tailored home services for the elderly. Irma Kyrki, Maija Sarasre 4

From ‘book container’ to community centre

- lessons from Community Centre Gellerup. John Andersen, Martin Frandsen, Lone Hedelund 6 Simple user interfaces for advanced search technologies. Morten Tollefsen 11

From ‘Outreach library work’ to Social inclusion- a Danish perspective. Jonna Holmgaard Larsen 12 On the Value of Books.Barbro Thomas 14

Library services for the visually impaired and print disabled.Liv Torild Ellefsen 16 Old man's moped.Eila Telinkangas 18

Sampola Library Reading Project 19

Books in the kindergarten.Liv Beathe Bråthen 20

Library and community.The american way. Henrich Jochumsen, Casper Hvenegaard Rasmussen 22 Recent library developments 24

Scandinavian Shortcuts 25

Coverphoto: Nils Lund Pedersen

Integration work in a club for young girls in Vollsmose Library, Odense DK, became an enormous success.

The public service concept doesn’t reach everyone

Public library services are intended for everyone, commonly; perhaps too commonly in a world where the target communities are scattered.

Libraries have equally offered the same master keys to the world of information and adventure irrespective of one’s background, needs or abilities. These keys have been supplemented with face-to-face information services at the counter.

The public service concept appropriates everyone fairly well, but not very well for anyone and very badly for some.

Those with little education have always used libraries less than others. Moreover, offering services that are too universal does not satisfy those who wish to delve deeply into a topic or who are searching for a certain perspective on a topic related to their subculture.

Libraries have identified just two clear target groups; mainly children, the sick and the disabled have been served according to their own needs. The public service perspective has inhibited libraries from identifying target groups and creating services for them, for example for automobile hobbyists or hiphoppers. How much has this affected the decrease in the use of libraries?

Seppo Verho Translation: Turun Täyskäännös

Viewp int Edit rial

Seppo Verho Co-editor Editor,Kirjastolehti, Finnish Library Associa- tion

Barbro Wigell-Ryynänen Editor-in-chief.

Counsellor for Library Affairs, Ministry of Educa- tion and Culture, Finland

Tarja Mäkinen, Assistant editor, Administrative assistant, Ministry of Education



SPLQ:3 2007

“The objective of the library and informa- tion services provided by public libraries is to promote equal opportunities among citi- zens for personal cultivation, for literary and cultural pursuits, for continuous deve- lopment of knowledge, personal skills and civic skills ...”

This is how the Finnish Library Act defines the task of public libraries of promoting equal opportunities for personal development among citizens.

Libraries are avidly used in Finland.

According to a published study carried out some years ago, approximately 80%

of the entire population uses public library services. Above all, young people and well-educated persons use these library services. The remaining 20% are either too young or too old, but there are of course other groups that do not use the services. According to the study, professional groups, such as entrepreneurs and farmers, comprise the majority of those people who feel they do not need library services at all.

What about those citizens who want to use library services and who feel they need them, but, for different reasons, can't use the usual services?

The Library for the Visually Impaired serves visually impaired people and people who have reading difficulties.

Through new technology, activities and services are diversified to meet patrons’

needs. The idea behind Finland’s Libra- ry for the Visually Impaired is to pro- vide the opportunity to access infor- mation, study, and to cultivate an in- terest in literature and art – in other words, the goals are much the same as those in the Library Act.

Specialized services are being deve- loped in public libraries for user groups that need them. Home delivery service is not a new concept. Those using the delivery service are mostly elderly persons for whom going to the library is an impossible task. The home delivery service at the Oulu City Libra- ry has been developed into a full ser- vice, which takes the patrons’ wishes and needs into consideration.

Courses and instruction to learn skills needed in an information society are arranged for senior citizens. The digital gap is an age-related issue in a welfare society. Literature discussion circles and ‘book talks’ are organized for the elderly, and not only for children and the young.

Immigrants, new citizens, form a group whose cultural background does not always include the self-evident use of libraries. Furthermore, new citizens often have language problems and fa- mily situations and life backgrounds, which are unlike those of the main- stream population.

Espoo is one of the three cities in- cluded in Finland’s capital region.

Immigrants are hired there to fill spe- cial job positions, which do not require an education in the library field. Of all the employees, approximately five per- cent have a foreign back-ground. When I recently visited the Sello library in Espoo, I noticed how a young immi- grant custodian could bring added value to his work, functioning as a link and an assurance that the library is acting out of equality and with respect for other cultures.

Not only youths with immigrant back- grounds, but also youth in general, form a group which needs services specifically for their needs. For a young person, the library can be a very im- portant place that influences his or her development propitiously and provides aid in difficult life management. How- ever, we must develop suitable services for the young, otherwise they won't feel comfortable in the library - or they will go there only to have a roof over their heads and to meet their peers. Adults may also feel left out; many problems accumulate easily in certain residential areas. By investing in library services, we can favourably influence the area’s development and the residents’ lives.

In our countries, it is required to at- tend school until a certain age, but going to the library is voluntary. Libra- ry services are used if people feel they are useful or enjoyable. As it is expres- sed in the Library Act, libraries aim to promote equal opportunities for the personal cultivation of citizens. Avail- able resources, the size of the budget or project financing and sufficiency of staff, as well as creative thinking and enthusiasm for the issue, influence how diversely services can be developed.

Thorough knowledge of one’s own district aids in understanding the real needs and assists in tailor-designing practical services. The library offers an opportunity - the rest is up to the patron.

Barbro Wigell-Ryynänen Counsellor for Library Affairs Ministry of Education and Culture Finland barbro.wigell-ryynanen@minedu.fi Translated by Turun Täyskäännös

Equal opportunities

Barbro Wigell-Ryynänen

Edit rial


The library’s home services are intended for people who are not able to visit the library themselves for reasons such as age, illness, or disability. In 2004, the Oulu City Library had about 35 patrons to whom library material was delivered. For the most part, a small library bus visited the patrons about every four weeks and was responsible for the deliveries. Library staff chose material based on the patrons’

previous loans in an attempt to find some- thing new and interesting for them. The home service demanded quite a bit of work and was rather time-consuming.

Strength through cooperation At the beginning of 2007, there were more than 130,000 people living in Oulu, 7,072 of which were over 75 years of age. The proportion of elderly people in the population is still increa- sing drastically. As the population gets older and as assisted living increases, the need for home services grows. It has been estimated that 1-2% of the residents are in need of home services, which is about 130-260 people in Ou- lu.

New ways of carrying out home ser- vices were needed to help the library answer the demands of the growing needs for service. The thought that the development of technology could create new types of opportunities for organizing services arose. Opportuni- ties to develop Internet services for those who are independently active were possible, due to the fact that those reaching retirement age are used to using Internet services.

A joint project was initiated in 2005, funded by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (TE- KES). The goal of the project was to develop individual Internet services for the elderly and disabled, which would improve their chances to cope in their own home for a longer period of time.

Home services in practice

During the project, the Oulu City Li- brary adopted the principle of dividing the different areas of the city into di- stricts, which meant that each library was responsible for carrying out the home service to the residents living in its particular district. At the moment, a total of twenty clerks work for the library’s home services department.

Previously, elderly people became ho- me services patrons through their own or their relatives’ initiative. During the project, the service was effectively ad- vertised to family members caring for their elderly relatives and to the city’s public elderly care sector. It has also received much publicity in the media.

Through these channels, information has spread widely. The registration form on the Internet has also proved to be handy.

When a person who fulfills the criteria for receiving home services and has been approved for receiving the ser- vices, then (s)he is interviewed. During the interview, a permission slip is filled in, which gives the clerk the right to handle library matters on behalf of the elderly person. It also gives the clerk permission to store the borrowing

information and personal borrowing profile of that person in the library’s system.

The system chooses material according to the search profile During the interview, the patron’s reading preferences and previous reading experiences, as well as how often the patron would prefer visits from the library and how much mate- rial (s)he would like to have, are discussed. A personal search profile is then compiled for the patron based on the interview. When the clerk searches for material for the patron on the libra- ry’s database, a list of books that corre- spond to the patron’s profile, and which (s)he has not yet borrowed, ap- pears on the screen. The searches can be limited to just new library material as well. A random search provides the desired amount of material randomly chosen according to the search profile.

To facilitate the home services work, ready-made search templates have been created for material that interests the home services patron. The clerk can also edit the search templates for his/

her own patrons to suit their needs more appropriately.

Because elderly people are often inte- rested in older fiction, the description of it has been highlighted. Key words according to a literary genre or several of them, a certain theme, and key words describing a time and place have been added to the collection database used in Finland. Also, the library has used its own key words, for example 4 SPLQ:3 2007

Oulu City Library offers tailored home services for the elderly



‘large-print texts’, ‘Finnish fiction’, or

‘true stories’. The same principle has been used to supplement the descrip- tions of new material. This has bene- fited all of those who use the library’s network database.

Those involved in the project noticed that there are limitations as to how in- dependently active the patrons can be, and that the clerks are still needed for example in creating a search profile and in evaluating the material resulting from a search. The practical work itself, getting the material from the shelf, packing it and taking it to the patron needs someone to do it. The literary discussions with the patrons when vi- siting them are the most rewarding part of the job.

Literary discussions using a videophone As part of the project, the library parti- cipated in a videophone pilot project in the autumn of 2006 together with the elderly care service sector of the city of Oulu, the Oulu University of Applied Sciences, and Videra, a technology company for distance working. The pa- trons were five elderly people, to whom videophones were given, and who were chosen by the elderly care sector. The library contacted the patrons via video- phone twice a week with the intent to discuss the literature they had read.

Summing up, the experiment proved to be a bit troublesome as preparing for the video-phoning took too much time, and the technology created, for the time being, many types of pro- blems. Also, the target group involved in the experiment, which was chosen

according to social factors and not according to an interest in literature, proved to be the wrong one in part.

Discussion about literature in reading circles

At the beginning of 2007, reading circles were initiated in two homes for the elderly. They met every four weeks.

The works to be discussed were chosen together, and they were delivered to the participants beforehand. The partici- pants read everything from Finnish novels to short stories and memoirs.

The books prompted much discussion and reminiscing. The experience met with favorable reception on the part of both the participants and the leaders for whom the experience created a whole new perspective in library work.


One of the partners in the project was Audio Riders, a company that produces rehabilitative voice services for the elderly. The library compiled about 200 quiz questions associated with litera- ture into the company’s product, Sävel- sirkku. The questions dealt with not only Finnish and foreign classics, but also proverbs and the hometown of Oulu.

Thoughts about the results of the project The library received a new home ser- vices system in which some of the work of the clerks changed over to the libra- ry system. Not only can the home ser- vices patrons utilize the system, but other patrons can as well.

The descriptions of the material in the library’s collection database improved:

New key words were added, and the subject areas for fiction were defined especially for talking books, large-print books and new novels.

The home services were organized according to district. The delivery of material to patrons was made more facile. Connections to the elderly care sector in the city of Oulu were impro- ved, and new home services patrons were actively acquired. The number of the library’s home services patrons has nearly doubled during the project, but the goal is to further increase this number.

One of the goals of the project was to examine how electronic material ac- quired for the library could be media- ted to patrons to be used at home, and to test equipment with which patrons could easily use the mediated material.

However, this part of the project was not carried out because appropriate material and equipment were not available.

Those working with the library’s home services must be trained properly in using the system. The benefits arising from the new system (more individua- lized, reliable service for home services patrons and the staff ’s more effective use of working hours) will be evident only after people know how to use it.

Irma Kyrki, Librarian Maija Saraste, Assistant Chief Librarian Oulu City Library - Regional Central Library Translated by Turun Täyskäännös Photo: Pirkko Paakki


SPLQ:3 2007

Irma Kyrki Maija Saraste

Librarian Eeva-Liisa Rantala and Elsa Kolehmainen


create empowering networks to local welfare institutions and voluntary associa- tions, housing associations and citizens and sometimes invent new organizational forms. In shaping and adjusting their services in response to local needs and in close collaboration with citizens, libraries can be seen as examples of user-driven innovation worthy of interest way beyond the world of librarians.

This article presents lessons from the

empowerment evaluation of the project Community Centre Gellerup (CCG) under Aarhus Public Libraries (Andersen and Frandsen (eds.), 2007). The project was initiated by a local library branch in the disadvantaged neighbourhood of Gellerup with the aim of developing a new type of institution, a community centre uniting li- brary services, health promotion, counse- ling service for ethnic minorities and voluntary social work.

From ‘book container’

to community centre

Lessons from Community Centre Gellerup

Libraries in disadvantaged neighbour- hoods have redefined their role from serving as ‘containers for books’ to acting as agents in community empowerment processes. Libraries engage in a wide range of activities from creating open learning centres for information techno- logy to bridge ‘the digital divide’ to provi- ding homework assistance for local chil- dren from ethnic minorities. In the process of repositioning themselves libraries can DENMARK



Right now libraries are assuming a new role as players in community develop- ment. In an international context Chi- cago’s public libraries have i.a. been pioneers. But also in Denmark libraries in disadvantaged neighbourhoods are taking major steps to support enhance- ment of the life situation of the local community and ethnic minority groups.

CCG is interesting for a variety of reasons. First of all as an example of user-driven innovation, where em- ployees, volunteers and ordinary citi- zens have set themselves the task of developing the quality of not only a better public service, but also the democratic inclusion of citizens and voluntary organisations. Secondly, as a contribution to the development of integration and empowerment strate- gies in relation to vulnerable urban areas.

Empowerment and

local community development Common to community empower- ment strategies in marginalised urban areas is that one is working within a long-term perspective (typically 5-7 years). Citizen inclusion and a holistic and integrated orientation – typically a combination of physical town develop- ment and social, cultural and occupati- onal development projects (Andersen et al., 2005) – are being addressed, and CCG has been able to draw on the collaboration between the public insti- tutions in the area, which has been de- veloped since the 1990s in the ‘Gellerup model’. The model entails that new

employees in the area are introduced to common basic values and to the parti- cular history of the area. Apart from that, regular meetings at management level are arranged between the institu- tions (schools, day-care institutions, social centre, crime prevention work etc.). CCG is thus part of a broader community empowerment strategy to provide a lift to integration, strengthen civic mobilisation and the capacity for action among public employees.

The philosophy behind empowerment strategy is that the combination of an integrated orientation, civic inclusion and a longer time perspective are seen as the most effective principles for a permanent change of the situation in deprived local areas.

Community empowerment strategies are deliberate strategies for the strengthening of citizens’ involvement and positive affiliations to the local area. The most important methods are appreciative inquiry and empower- ment. In the following we will be intro- ducing the concept of empowerment.

The empowerment concept Empowerments are processes that enable people to counteract power- lessness and lack of control over their living conditions. (Andersen and Siim, 2004).

In the 1970s Paulo Freire’s book Peda- gogy of the Oppressedintroduced the concept worldwide. Freire defined empowerment as “learning to under- stand social, political and economic disparities and to act against these elements of reality.”

More precisely, empowerment can be defined as processes of mobilisation and change, “that improve underprivi- leged individuals’ and social groups’

ability to create and handle mental, material, social, cultural and symbolic relevant resources” (Andersen et al.

2003: 7).

Mobilisation processes in social groups and local communities can be descri- bed as horizontal empowerment. It is a question of internal processes within the area where you confront enemy images, lack of confidence and respect internally between various groups – including distrust and hierarchy be- tween ethnic groups.

Vertical empowerment has to do with developing the impact upwards and outwardly in relation to important decision-making centres outside the local community.

Sustainable empowerment strategies have therefore not only to do with getting the citizens involved from below. It is also a question of a positive interplay between government or mu- nicipal ‘top-down’ and local ‘bottom- up’ policies. Empowerment strategies range from individual self-confidence to the ability – at (local)community level – to influence society’s develop- mental direction over a longer period of time.

This is by no means a truism as part of the ‘ghetto problem’ may i.a. have something to do with the fact that the professionals in the area do not work together properly (e.g. day-care institu- tions, schools and crime prevention


SPLQ:3 2007

John Andersen Martin Frandsen Lone Hedelund


work) and do not always see them- selves as innovators in relation to trouble-shooting and as an important part of local community life. Before we take a further look at CCG we want briefly to describe the experiences from Chicago.

The lessons from Chicago

The public libraries in Chicago have over the past decade turned an omi- nous development into a success story.

The secret behind the success was the exploitation of the library’s potential as catalyst for social networks in the local community.

A study from the Asset Based Commu- nity Development Institute (Urban Li- braries Council 2005) also pointed to the fact that libraries can contribute with a wealth of resources: a ‘free’

meeting place, the most recent infor- mation technology, knowledge, a feeling of ownership among local citi- zens as well as a relationship of trust between people. On the basis of this study, the following recommendations to libraries were formulated:

1. Be investigative (outreach work).

2. Find the community leaders. A coordinated effort to find leaders and ‘community activists’ in the local community makes all the diffe- rence.

3. Be visionary in relation to what the library can do.

4. Highlight and contribute to the local community’s unique strengths and conditions.

5. Support local institutions and busi- ness life.

6. Turn the library building into a local community centre.

7. Create a local-community-orienta- ted culture among staff and volun- teers.

8. Investments in libraries can kick- start local community development.

The lessons from CCG

CCG is a partnership building on a vision of – through a holistic approach – facilitating empowerment of the ci- tizen. CCG endeavours to break down institutional barriers and works to- wards the fulfilment of user needs.

CCG started as a development project in 2005. During the past two years, employees have been focusing on common organisation- and staff de- velopment, which has resulted in the adoption of a common vision, set of values and collaboration models. In the project period CCG has been working on competence-, role-, and method development, where all employees have participated in joint courses (on appre- ciative inquiry, empowerment, conflict handling and learning) and in i.a. study tours to other local communities.

Public service and recruiting volunteers have also been on the agenda, as well as the role of facilitator.

The strategy behind CCG has thus been a combination of:

• Developing models and methods for cross-sectorial cooperation

• Focusing on civic inclusion and civic involvement

• Supporting local-community-based initiatives, projects and local trade and industry

• Contributing to creating cohesion between the urban area of Gellerup and the city of Aarhus.

CCG exploits the competences and resources of different organisations and administrations in a regular collabora- tion and includes voluntary organisa- tions, associations and citizens as part- ners in this. CCG builds on an organi- sational concept of knowledge and experience being shared, and where collaboration goes on across professi- onal borderlines in order to solve specific tasks, such as cultural activities, information services and informal learning sequences. This might i.a.

include language assistance, courses in IT, homework assistance, club activi- ties, as well as individual, anonymous advice on e.g. health, housing, labour market and family matters. It might also include advice to parents on the parental role.

The approach in CCG to the develop- ment of libraries as well as other insti- tutions and inclusion of citizens and volunteers has been appreciative inquiry and empowerment.

In organisational terms CCG is a colla- boration project between Gellerup Library, Health Centre and Public In- formation. These three institutions work closely together with voluntary organisations, associations and com- munity activists.

Health Centre:

The Health Centre is a collaboration between a number of municipal corpo- rations and Aarhus Midwifery Centre.

Health visitors had been experiencing encouraging results from their home visits to families, but also for a long time been lacking a place for the pa- rents to visit for instruction and gui- dance.

8 SPLQ:3 2007


When establishing CCG, focus was centred on the development of user- oriented activities. Courses in commu- nity comprehension and in the Danish language have been organised. There have been three theme days: a health day, IT-open learning, a day on folk high schools and continuation schools.

There have been one-off arrangements such as ‘Break the fast’ (an evening on Ramadan), a day on ‘Khat and clans’

arranged by young Somalis, a clean-up day, ‘Clean Ghetto’, a concert against deliberate fires in the area, ‘Gellerup wake up’, debate evenings on Palestine, presentation of candidates for the Inte- gration Council in Aarhus, sponsoring of jerseys for a football tournament, exhibition of library material on the theme days ‘Faith meets faith’.

CCG has entered into permanent part- nership with:

• The IT-guide association, a multi- ethnic association with a dual pur- pose: to bring together everyone with an interest in IT, and to make the members’ knowledge available to citizens without IT-literacy by way of free courses.

• Homework Help Association

‘Tusindfryd’ under the Danish Re- fugee Council, which consists of young people offering help with homework free-of-charge. You don’t have to book an appointment, but can just turn up. Homework help is for all citizens, whether they attend a language school, are studying to pass the theory test for their driving li- cense, attend primary or secondary school or are doing an upper secon- dary course.

• The Voluntary Centre, the purpose of which is to establish contact be- tween voluntary social associations and people who wish to do voluntary work.

• Local-historical Archive, which col- lects pictures, association documents, maps, memoirs etc.

CCG as a model

CCG is interesting for a variety of reasons. First of all as an example of a multi-functional local community cen- tre that bursts the framework of the traditional library. It is innovative in the sense that library service is com- bined with advisory service, voluntary work, health work and help with job applications. CCG has here extended the sharing of premises to also working with the development of common competences, better service and organi- sation development in the meeting and When new premises had to be found,

Gellerup offered to make a corner of the library available. The Health Centre got a site which helped to support local anchorage and provided the chance to combine activities, e.g. theme days on health-related subjects.

Public information:

Public information handles open and anonymous advice to the citizens of Aarhus, but primarily citizens with an ethnic background other than Danish.

Advice is available on social and labour market conditions, education, citizen- ship and residence permit, social ser- vices, housing allowance etc. Advice is also offered on communication with the authorities. Apart from that, mem- bers of staff in Public information act as bridge-builders and trouble shooters between users and the system.

The anonymous advising is of great importance to the citizens of the area.

An example: A woman approaches Public information to talk about her cash benefit in relation to a recently introduced piece of legislation stipula- ting that within one year one has to have worked a minimum of 300 hours to maintain one’s right to cash benefit.

She is advised to go to the Job corner to look for feasible vacant jobs. The member of staff in the Job corner helps her to examine her resources and to find a job. The woman then prepares an application, which she can discuss with the adviser. The application is sent off, or the woman may be advised to take direct contact to the employer. If the woman gets the job, she can return to Public information to learn about the consequences in relation to her social benefits.


2. In relation to the users, it means that they will experience a more flexible and coherent contact with various public systems and with voluntary organisa- tions. One may contact or be referred to another person in the Community Centre without having to contact another authority, make appointments etc. This is important in areas with many ethnic minorities and disadvan- taged citizens.

The evaluation report concluded that in order to secure the dynamics in such development work it is important:

• To work on organisation develop- ment that prioritizes the social well- being and collectivity of the staff and joint competency development

• To encourage relevant further educa- tion of the staff that supports the development of a ‘Community Cen- tre professionalism’, where the key- words are knowledge of the local community, civic inclusion and the interdisciplinary aspect

• To develop a strategy for staff re- cruitment in the form of clarifying which professional competences support CCG’s targets

• To ensure creative frames for dialogue between voluntary work and CCG

• To develop simple evaluation and user-satisfaction tools that can be used internally in the organisation as well as meeting the decision-makers’

demands for documentation of

‘value for money’.

Community Centres and user driven innovation

CCG can be taken as an example of user driven service design (Parker and

Heapy: 2005) and userdriven innova- tion, which were launched in conne- ction with the Danish government’s Quality Reform. The CCG concept is therefore interesting in relation to the discussion on routes towards democra- tisation, better exploitation of

resources, and quality development of the public sector in a close interplay with the civic community. One of the challenges is that public institution budgeting and administrative processes are not always geared to supporting such cross-sectorial and civic-commu- nity-inclusive innovations. There still remain some hurdles to surmount in order for a userdriven innovation to become part of a realistic, sustainable development trajectory.

Perhaps the Quality Reform will pave the way for cross-sectorial organisa- tions like CCG no longer being re- garded as exceptions, but as forms of organisation that set a new standard for holistic and user-inclusive mana- ging and innovation of public activi- ties.

Further references on www.splq.info

John Andersen, professor, Roskilde University Martin Frandsen, research assistant,

Roskilde University Lone Hedelund, branch librarian, Gellerup Library http://www.aakb.dk/sw469.asp Translated by Vibeke Cranfield Photo: CCG

10 SPLQ:3 2007

interplay between professionals in the institution and in an interplay between users, volunteers and employees.

The involvement of the professionals has meant that the flexible network- based, ‘ready-for action’ attitude in relation to the local community gene- rates more cross-disciplinary compe- tences. In this connection the interplay between staff and volunteers is also of great importance. CCG employees maintain that during the project period they have become better at exploiting each other’s specialist knowledge in their contact with the citizens, e.g. in relation to health, job seeking and more extensive use of the employees’

linguistic talents. This ‘synergy advan- tage’ is due to two things:

1. In relation to the employees it is a question of learning from each other and building up common competences to the benefit of the citizens in the local community. Yes, but does it not create more stress when the individual or the team have to develop competences by way of referring to each other, facilita- ting contact to voluntary organisations etc.?

No, not if organisation and manage- ment prioritize joint activities for the employees where you take stock of day- to-day experiences. If you get better at using each other’s various competen- ces, it can in fact be ‘stress reducing’, because ‘tricky’ cases outside one’s own field of competency can be passed on to those who are more familiar with such cases. In this way one avoids the individualised ‘borderless work’, and turns it instead into a collective, un- bureaucratic and flexible division of labour between employees.


Simple user interfaces for

advanced search technologies


(e.g. www.w3.org/wai), but the most important method in our approach is user testing. Technical guidelines are not enough when designing user inter- faces for human beings!

Two interfaces for similar data

whichbook.net is originally designed in Flash. The search interface consists of several sliders. This is a very successful solution for the screen and mouse user, but not however very accessible, e. g.

for blind persons. It is possible to de- velop fairly accessible Flash, but HTML is preferable when designing for all. An HTML alternative has been available for years in the English system, and our goal was to improve this version.

Normally I do not recommend two versions of a web. In this case however the existing interface was very success- ful for a lot of users and the only part of the system which had to be different was the search interface. The results (books, audio books and filmed books) are similar. The danger of having two versions is obvious: When updating one of them, the other is forgotten.

What has been important in the accessible version?

When focusing on accessibility very small adjustments normally make a lot of difference. These adjustments do not often change the visual presentation.

Some typical examples are: alternative text to images, labels in forms (used to allow screen readers to announce fields correctly), the element order in the HTML code and extra table mark-ups.

I’m fond of reading. Reading is important in my work as a researcher and as leisure time entertainment. However it is not al- ways easy to find the good books, even with help from a librarian or typical Inter- net based search systems. I was therefore very excited when I was asked to work with a Norwegian version of Whichbook.

www.whichbook.net provides readers with an enjoyable and intuitive way of finding books to match their mood. Try this service if you haven’t already used it!

Universal design

Book readers have different assump- tions and needs. One of my characte- ristics is that I’m blind. I’m using a Braille display and synthetic speech, not a standard computer screen. Other persons are using different assistive devices, mobile phones, keyboards instead of mouse PDAs.

“The Web is designed, in turn, to be universal: to include anything and anyone.” (Tim Berners-Lee). When designing a new web system it is im- portant to allow for different input and output. This is not very difficult. It is however not just a triviality for the result to be an intuitive and easy to use service.

My role in the Whichbook project has been to provide as good accessibility as possible. I manage a team of experts, and we’re able to give the developers good advice. Our knowledge is based on international standards/guidelines

Our work is also to figure out appro- priate navigation, structure, colour/

contrast, tab order, button sizes etc. to make the system usable by persons with disabilities. We only have one experience from all of the projects we have been working on. These changes benefit everybody! Clear and intuitive structure and navigation are preferable for the computer expert, the blind re- searcher, retired people – everyone!

The difference is that some users are able to use even badly designed soft- ware and web pages.

When it is possible: use standards! In this system I believe that the standard forms with appropriate labelling, clear language and standard controls are a key factor for success! People do not have to learn new techniques. What is new in this system is the ingenious search approach, not striking techno- logy.

The Norwegian version – www.

onskebok.no – will be launched on September 26. User tests and our ex- pert evaluations are more than pro- mising, and I’ll probably be one of the most active ‘ønskebok’ users myself!

Morten Tollefsen researcher, MediaLT morten@medialt.no


SPLQ:3 2007

Morten Tollefsen


In Denmark we have for years talked in terms of ‘outreach library work’. This meant functions actually outside the libra- ry building, aimed at the service to all who were prevented from visiting the library themselves, for example library service to hospitals, old people’s homes, prisons, mi- litary barracks and ‘The library at your doorstep’, meaning service to the elderly and the handicapped in their own homes.

We had librarians who worked exclusi- vely with this particular area. Now we see the libraries’ social work to a greater extent as an integrated part of the libraries’ other tasks. We have tried out new ways and designed program- mes to match the present needs of different groups. For example:

- A new generation of elderly people with a need for instruction in IT competencies

- The need for support for reading stimulation. In Denmark the situation is that every pupil in four leaving elementary school is not able to read well enough to complete a further education – including a vocational education. In terms of young people with two languages, the figure is one in two.

- A particular challenge lies within the area of refugees and immigrants where the library could play an active role in the integration initiatives.

Traditional ‘outreach work’ is still ope- rating, and many libraries make an im- portant contribution in this way, but a lot of effort has also gone into the de- 12 SPLQ:3 2007

velopment of new forms of socially directed library work. To a great extent encouraged by government means for development, which we in the Danish Library Agency administrate. Over the past few years we have singled out spe- cial action lines and developed pro- grammes for those areas which we find it important to strengthen.

A strategy for developments

In 2006 we furthermore prepared an overall strategy for developments in our libraries. A strategy which we con- sidered necessary for the library in or- der to live up to its position as a central public institution in a digital age. The strategy seeks to take into account new user habits and the new demands which globalisation imposes on Den- mark’s competitive abilities in an inter- national context. At the present time government and the Folketing (the Da- nish parliament) prioritise:

• Research and education

• Lifelong learning

• Innovation

• Social enterprises that activate and integrate.

Within all these areas we feel that the library has some very important tasks to attend to.

Support for citizens with reading handicaps

I can give you some examples of cur- rent projects and programmes with a social aim:

A very concrete area is support for citi- zens with reading handicaps. The cen- tral institution for library service to the

blind, The Danish National Library for the Blind, is in the process of reorga- nising its entire production from analogous to digital technology. Via the portal E17 digital texts and audio books are introduced to the blind and others who because of some handicap are unable to read conventional text.

Due to a comparatively liberal Danish copyright legislation on this point, dyslexics also have access to the site.

The Danish National Library for the Blind mediates the digital texts directly to the user and cooperates with the public libraries which can provide guidance to the users in how to use the site. Several public libraries also run projects on IT utility programmes, which give the reading handicapped direct access to information that is being read aloud on the net. A comple- tely new project deals with the integra- tion of such IT utility programmes more generally in learning program- mes aimed at lifelong learning. One of the recommendations in our strategy is: The librarian must leave the library – and go in search of the user. This can happen in a physical sense or via the net.

A library service in a trucker centre A small library in the south of Jutland has for example set up library service in a trucker centre in the municipality.

Lorry drivers from all over the country, travelling all over Europe, gather to- gether there. They can borrow audio books which they can enjoy listening to on the long journeys. The project has been a major success with completely

From ‘Outreach library work’

to Social inclusion

A Danish perspective




SPLQ:3 2007

new experiences for a group who tradi- tionally has not enjoyed a comprehen- sive education, and who are not the keenest ‘culture users’. A subsequent project is at the moment extending the service to cover the whole country.

Over the past ten years many public libraries in Denmark have supplied in- troduction and instruction to various target groups in the application of new technology and information search on the Internet. For example, courses for students in further education, courses for seniors and for immigrants.


In connection with the structural re- form which took effect at the turn of the year, one common digital access to public service was opened: borger.dk (citizen.dk) which is a cooperation be- tween state, municipalities and regions.

As a consequence of the libraries’ obli- gation to mediate public information and in continuation of the work the libraries are already carrying out in instructing citizens in searching on the net, an agreement on cooperation has been made with the national institu- tion, the Digital Taskforce that de- velops the service. The agreement means that the libraries are given an official role as ambassadors and tutors of borger.dk and the self-service solu- tions associated with it. Acquiring a digital signature is, for example, not entirely simple. The Danish Library Agency organises the cooperation and also finances an appropriate compe- tence development programme for the libraries. All municipalities have joined the programme. The entire enterprise

is, of course, meant as a service to all citizens, but in the nature of the case it does have a social dimension, seeing that some sections of the population will need more help than others.

The library – gateway to the Danish society

Under the slogan ‘The library - gateway to the Danish society’ and in coopera- tion with the State and University Li- brary, the Danish Library Agency has been running a three-year programme with a view to strengthening the libra- ries’ work with integration of citizens with a different ethnic background.

The programme received government grants for four regional consultants who were to inspire and coordinate the individual libraries’ work.

At the same time the libraries were gi- ven the opportunity to apply for finan- cial means for development projects.

The Danish Library Agency wanted in this way to offer ‘a helping hand’ for the purpose of working out new mo- dels for the libraries’ integration ef- forts, whereupon the libraries them- selves were to finance further develop- ments. The results were so excellent that the Ministry of Refugee, Immigra- tion and Integration Affairs wanted the libraries to develop the programmes even further with new activities.

The kind of integration work that took place in the libraries had proved to work really well. A club for young girls in a part of Odense that has a heavy concentration of foreigners became an enormous success. To young girls and women belonging to an ethnic mino-

rity the library is one of very few places that they may visit freely. Via club acti- vities the girls have learnt about social and health-related subjects, got help in seeking jobs etc.

The Ministry of Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs and the Mini- stry of Culture have therefore subse- quently made an agreement of coope- ration, which will underpin the libra- ries’ function as hothouses for citizen- ship and as learning centres and cul- tural meeting places.

The first concrete result of the agree- ment is a grant of two million DKK towards establishing help with home- work in the public libraries. The aim is to help more young people who have to cope with two languages to improve their Danish, so that they may com- plete an out-of-school education and later a qualifying education. At the sa-me time help with homework en- courages a kind of social fellow-feeling that gives an insight into Danish va- lues.

I feel that the examples above apply to some of the libraries’ offers with a clear social dimension. Having said that, the library is by nature, with its funda- mental emphasis on ensuring free and equal access to information, socially inclusive. We positively know that the library has played a decisive role for many ‘pattern breakers’ both among Danes and immigrants.

Jonna Holmgaard Larsen Chief Consultant Danish Library Agency

jhl@bs.dk Translated by Vibeke Cranfield

Jonna Holmgaard Larsen

Photo: Nils Lund Pedersen


SPLQ:3 2007

be realised. European book printers produced small, often expensive editions and books and reading were confined to a small, wealthy and lite- rate group. Literacy rates were low and poverty was widespread.

Today illiteracy is more or less elimina- ted in the Western World, and this has benefited the growth of the book indu- stry. Literacy is, of course, a necessary – but by no means the only – condition for an indigenous publishing industry.

In the West books are no longer a scarce commodity. Space problems are something libraries continually strug- gle with. In many countries books can be bought almost everywhere: at air- ports, railway stations or in supermar- kets together with the day’s shopping.

In other countries the booktrade is more regulated with, for example, fixed-price systems and special mer- chandising outlets. In the non-Western world there’s a third variation, viz.

countries that lack both a publishing industry and distribution outlets, and where literacy is still low, or more or less non-existent.

Our conception of the value of books has, however, not developed at the same pace as the mass production methods which have reduced the book to a mere consumer product – with publishers continually in pursuit of new bestsellers: the new Da Vinci Code or the new Harry Potter. Generally speaking, books, compared with other consumer items, are considered to have an intrinsic value. Many of us feel a reluctance to throw a book away.


Perhaps it’s this attitude that has led to the inception of numerous book dona- tion programmes where used books are transferred from North to South to countries with barely developed pub- lishing industries and distribution channels; where books are scarce and library shelves empty.

It’s quite possible to share the opinion that books are different from other consumer products. Books are the unique result of an author’s intellectual labour, even if they, like other indu- strial products, are served by mass production methods. But this in no way excuses the kind of behaviour that subjects colleagues in poorer countries to misguided goodwill by sending superfluous, often inadequate, litera- ture to their libraries.

There are no all-encompassing statis- tics over the total amount of books that are transported in North-South transfers. There are too many actors involved. According to some estimates the numbers can amount to several million volumes annually. An indica- tion of the amounts in question can be seen in the annual reports of estab- lished donor organisations. For example, CODE’s (Canadian Organiza- tion for Development through Educa- tion) Annual Reportfor 2003/2004 states that 1,1 million books were supplied to more than two thousand libraries. CODE has been promoting education and literacy in the develop- ing world for more than 40 years and has an ambitious, well-developed donation programme. A press release

On the Value of Books

Before Gutenberg books were handwritten.

Every copy was unique. In the centuries following the Gutenberg epoch books con- tinued to be objects of great value. Consi- derable time passed before the establish- ment of a publishing industry that used mass production to reduce books to the level of an everyday consumer product.

History gives us an insight into the value of books. During the 17th cen- tury Sweden made no secret of its ambition to establish itself as a major power intent on conquering desirable areas of the Continent. The Swedish Army fought throughout Germany, Poland, Bohemia (in today’s Czech Republic) and Russia. If these wars had been successful Sweden would be a major power today. This didn’t happen and Sweden reverted to its status as Northern European cul-de-sac. The wars were, however, not completely in vain. When the remnants of the Swe- dish Army returned home their bag- gage contained war booty including, among other things, books. These had been plundered from churches and monasteries in Poland, Bohemia and Germany. The books were divided among the larger academic libraries and provincial college libraries. Among the most spectacular was the so-called Devil’s Bible; a medieval manuscript plundered in Prague and presented to the Royal Library of Sweden where it can be seen today in a specially de- signed showcase.

With the art of book printing large- scale production became achievable, but it took time for the possibilities to SWEDEN


from Book Aid International in No- vember 2006 has the title ‘Book Aid International celebrates 25 million books for readers in the developing world’. Book Aid International – another of the professional organisa- tions in the donation sector has, since its inception in 1954, donated 25 million books. Bear in mind that this organisation started on a small scale and works from the principle that the receiver dictates the selection. Their priority is quality, not quantity.

We know little about the contents of the shipments. Horror stories abound, as do success stories. A comprehensive analysis is lacking. For example, what proportion of a shipment’s contents is useful in the target country? Did they receive the books they wanted and had a use for? Or was the donation coun- terproductive – weakening an already vulnerable publishing activity? Did the donation cause unnecessary extra work for the recipient library? Would the library have felt pressed to accept a donation they’d rather not have?

Despite the extensive scope of book donation programmes they hardly feature in library discussions; and the subject is rarely present on the pro- grammes of international library con- ferences. Considering this, it’s hardly surprising that the report published by UNESCO in 2005,Book Donations for Developmentdidn’t receive more atten- tion. The report, written by Mauro Rosi, is based partly on documentation from the 1992 conference in Baltimore,

‘Dialogue of Partners International

Workshop on Donated Books’. The conference was arranged by UNESCO, CODE and the International Book Bank (IBB). The report embraces ques- tions of principle as well as practical issues. In the first section Rosi analyses the purpose of book donations. He writes:

“Unfortunately the ‘container policy’ of sending large numbers of books, which are often unusable by the beneficiaries, is still very common. The donation of books is all too often no more than a grand gesture without any real impact, because it fails to contribute to the last- ing promotion of books and reading in the target countries. It is therefore a matter of considerable urgency to set up training and information program- mes for all those who, directly or indi- rectly, play a role in the donation of books.”

Rosi underlines the importance of embodying the entire literary process,

‘the book-chain’ – author, publisher, printer, distributor, reader – and sug- gests that many book donation projects fail because the focus is only on one isolated part of the process. And he exemplifies: “... it is pointless to pro- duce books if there are no distribution networks capable of delivering them to readers. It is ineffective to train new readers if they do not have reading material to exercise their new skills, or to encourage authors if what they write is not published or remunerated. It is also unhelpful to improve libraries if they cannot count on a regular flow of publications to build their collections.

Further, the book donation program- me should also include methods for aiding indigenous publishers in the areas of development and learning.”

The second half of the report includes practical advice about how book dona- tion projects should be organised.

There is a strong recommendation that every donation programme should begin with two considerations: an assessment of the beneficiaries’ needs and an analysis of the best way of balancing the demand and the supply that can be offered.

But, Rosi continues: “In practice, this planning does not always take place as we recommend. The book market in rich countries produces a great many surplus publications that are expensive to destroy. Some publishers therefore give in to the temptation to use dona- tions as a means of getting rid of their unsold books.”

Book Donations for Development deserves a larger audience. It is invalu- able as a starting point for discussion and as a rallying cry. Hopefully it can be instrumental in drawing attention to the whole question of book dona- tions. Perhaps the report could inspire IFLA to take a more active role and even consider developing guidelines for book donations. Above all I hope that the report can serve as an aid to colle- agues in poorly equipped libraries to dare to say no to donations which would probably do more harm than good.

Translated by Greg Church


SPLQ:3 2007

Barbro Thomas

Viewp int

I hope that the report can serve as an aid to colleagues to dare to say no to donations which would probably do more harm than good


The library’s collections contain a wide selection of public library literature co- vering all age groups. In addition the curriculum literature specially produ- ced for students is also available to all NLB users. The collection contains more than 10,000 audio book titles and 6,000 titles in Braille. Annual growth amounts to some 600 audio book titles and almost 200 books in Braille within the category of public library literature.

Every year some 300 curriculum-rela- ted titles are produced for students with visual impairments. The library also issues periodicals and public docu- ments in DAISY format.


The greater part of the material in NLB’s collections is prepared and pro- duced by the library’s own production department. All works of fiction and books for children and young adults are made with the assistance of profes- sional narrators highly skilled in the art of presenting a text.

The quality of electronic speech has been greatly improved in recent years, making it possible to use this techno- logy to a greater extent when produ- cing audio books.

NLB makes use of synthesised speech in the production of newspapers, peri- odicals, public documents and special literature for students. The use of elec- tronic speech offers considerable sa- vings in both time and resources when compared to traditional methods.

NLB constantly works to develop the best possible services for the visually impaired and print disabled. The Aftenposten-project is an example of the successful use of new technology.

In all development work the library’s membership in the Norwegian branch of DAISY Consortium is of central importance. NLB also cooperates with its counterparts in the other Nordic countries, not only with regard to the development of production technology but also in order to make already exis- ting literature for the visually impaired available across national borders.

Efforts are also being made to persuade publishers and other producers of lite- rature to use standardised file formats.

If universally designed files were more widely used, the preparation process would be greatly simplified and it would be possible for those with visual impairments and print disabilities to read files direct with the help of a Braille display unit or electronic speech synthesis.

The DAISY format

DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) is used both in the production of audio books narrated in the traditi- onal way and also those with synthe- sised narration. DAISY is an internati- onal audio book standard used in al- most 30 countries. In order to read a DAISY book the equipment required can be a DAISY player, a computer with a special DAISY-reading pro- gramme installed or an MP3 unit.

16 SPLQ:3 2007

Library services for the

visually impaired and print disabled

The Norwegian Library of Talking Books and Braille (NLB) offers its users a daily newspaper in an audio version on the sa- me day as the printed version is issued.

People with visual impairments or print disabilities can have the Oslo newspaper Aftenpostensent to them every day in the form of a DAISY audio book. This is made possible by new synthesised speech tech- nology and close cooperation between the newspaper publishers, BoJo Ltd, suppliers of enabling equipment, and NLB.

Aftenpostenin audio form contains the latest news categorised according to subject matter. The structure of the DAISY book makes it easy to ma- noeuvre between the different subjects and articles in order to select news of interest. If they so wish, borrowers themselves can make use of NLB’s home pages to stream the news or download the Daisy book onto a CD.

NLB’s services

Situated in Oslo, the Norwegian Libra- ry of Talking Books and Braille is a na- tional library providing library services to the visually impaired and print dis- abled throughout the country. NLB produces literature in the form of au- dio and Braille books, while at the same time offering individual users the possibility of borrowing literature di- rect from the library. NLB services also include the production and lending of the curriculum literature required by visually impaired and print disabled students at universities and colleges of higher education.



The DAISY format offers unique possi- bilities to manoeuvre between the book’s various chapters and pages.

Literature produced with the help of electronic speech can also be made available in full text. The user can thus follow the text on a computer, while at the same time listening to the book being read aloud. If the computer has a programme to magnify the text, this can be used at the same time.

Contact with the public

The Norwegian Library of Talking Books and Braille produces specially prepared literature for the visually im- paired and print disabled, while at the same time offering library services to this user group. The library’s develop- ment programme also includes projects aimed at improving these services to- wards its borrowers.

The service department has direct contact with the individual user, either by telephone or e-mail. The lending of books is arranged directly with the user and DAISY books are sent by letter post. Every time a loan of a DAISY book takes place, a new CD is made. It is possible for borrowers to become regular subscribers to both DAISY books and Braille books, in which case they automatically receive all new books.

In order to be registered as a borrower at the NLB, documented proof of visual impairment or print disability must be submitted. All library services are free of charge. NLB has a special

department dealing with all applica- tions from visually impaired students and arranging for the production of the literature they require in connec- tion with their particular curriculum.

The library also offers special services for children and young people.

In order to spread information about the library’s services for the visually impaired and print disabled, coopera- tion has been established with various interest organisations for the physically disabled and also with municipal aid authorities.

In 2007 the Norwegian government issued proposals for a wide-ranging reform of the library system: Library Reform 2014. If carried out as pro- posed, this reform will demand much greater cooperation between all the different participants in the library sector. NLB welcomes these proposals and will work towards ensuring that this greater emphasis on cooperation will lead to an increased awareness of library services for those with visual impairments and print disabilities, both within and outside the library sector.

NLB’s book base can be accessed by a search of the library’s home pages. The application programme, MappaMi, makes it possible for users to order books and to keep track of their bor- rowing. NLB’s home pages also contain general information about the library’s services, latest news and the most re- cent books. These home pages are in

accordance with the requirements for universal design as laid down by the authorities and can therefore be read both by means of Braille display and by the use of electronic speech.

Digital library services and storage systems open up new possibilities for access to information for the visually impaired and print disabled. NLB will therefore continue to concentrate its efforts on ensuring an effective use of these technological advances.

For further information about NLB:


Liv Torild Ellefsen Librarian The Norwegian Library of Talking Books and Braille Liv.Torild.Ellefsen@nlb.no Translated by Eric Deverill Photo: Kjell Egeland


SPLQ:3 2007

Liv Torild Ellefsen


The number of staff in Kiri libraries, as in libraries in general, is at a minimum and assigning someone to systematical- ly instruct information acquisition is impossible. Therefore, the libraries made a decision in the autumn of 2005 to apply for funding from the Ministry of Education to hire an informatician to work with senior citizens.

The purpose was for the informatician to organize the government-funded

‘Finland in the information society’

program for the elderly population to teach the elderly how to use modern- day sources of information. The pro- gram would take place in the Kiri libra- ries. The name of the project was ‘In- formaticians and work with the elder- ly’. The total budget for the project was 16,660 euro and it took place between 1. September 2006 and 28. February 2007. The Ministry of Education ac- cepted the application and in spring 2006 made a decision to grant the Kiri libraries funding amounting to 11,500 The structure of the population in the Kiri

library region, which comprises nine muni- cipalities, is aging at an ever increasing pace. For this reason, libraries have al- ready considered ways to organize speci- alized training in information acquisition for the elderly population.

Old man’s moped


Paying the bills via Internet is easy. Kari Blomster shows how to do it.


euro to initiate the ‘Informaticians and work with the elderly’ project.

Librarian Kari Blomster was hired as the informatician for the project, which was called ‘Old man’s moped’ for prac- tical reasons. In autumn 2006, he plan- ned a curriculum, organized the times and places for the training and inserted advertisements in the local newspapers about ‘The old man’s moped that has room for the madams too!’

A total of 183 people participated in the program, and they met a total of 19 times during the spring term. There were as many as 18 participants at one time, which is certainly the maximum for one instructor at a time. The parti- cipants were aged 35 and up, and the majority of them were men although the advertisement invited women to hop onto the moped as well.

They didn’t dare use the computer In Haapajärvi, a rather young, married couple joined the instruction while their kids were at school. When the lesson was over, they hurried home to practice using the Internet before the kids returned home from school. They said they didn’t dare use the computer while their kids were watching because their kids had such better skill at using a computer than they did.

The training provided knowledge about the basics of using the Internet, the more common search engines, online banking, and using email. Parti- cipants also searched for time schedu- les for trains, information on health, discussion forums, etc. For homework,

the participants were to send emails to the instructor after certain time pe- riods. Participants were extremely motivated and said the training was of great benefit to their everyday life.

Their motivation was also evident in the fact that all of the people that at- tended the training the first time signed up for the continuation course.

Local newspapers, mainly small paro- chial papers, were invited to the courses, and they wrote complimentary articles about ‘Old man’s moped’, which most likely prompted people to participate in the subsequent course.

The aim is to rev up the moped again in the autumn and offer review and additional tips for those who partici- pated in the spring courses, as well as to teach new participants the basics.

Old man’s moped: an extremely posi- tive experience!

Eila Telinkangas Library Director Haapajärvi eila.telinkangas@haapajarvi.fi Translated by Turun Täyskäännös Photo: Maaselkä/Marita Nissinen


SPLQ:3 2007

Eila Telinkangas

Sampola Library Reading Project

The proposal for the Sampola Library reading point in Tampere stemmed from the patrons, e.g. the Pirkanmaa association for people with reading difficulties. The associa- tion wanted a place to organize general ser- vices and distribute information about reading difficulties.

Library Director Ritva Järvelin took the reading matter to heart. A separate area was made for reading issues using lightweight walls, and the area was named the Reading Square. An adjustable desk and a computer with a monitor larger than a regular one were placed in the Reading Square. The reading programs Orvokki and Lexia 4 were installed on the computer. Easy-to-read in- structions for using the computer programs were written and tested on representatives of the target group.

The city library applied for funding from the Ministry of Education for developing ser- vices for reading patrons and for creating the operating concept of the Reading Square.

The first phase of the project began in 2004, and it received subsequent funding for the years 2005 and 2006.

Last spring, specialist services in study skills and special education were tested out at the Reading Square. The project has enabled the library staff to become more familiar with the special needs of patrons with reading difficulties. Indeed, reading issues had been discussed earlier, and the city library has had a reading workgroup for several years, which has arranged information briefings on the subject, among other things, for the library staff.

Pirkanmaan association for people with reading difficulties and Tampere’s Adult Education Center are working in partnership with the library. In addition to people with reading difficulties, the target groups of the project include teachers and other persons whose work is related to reading matters.

Kirjastolehti, the Finnish Library Association




Related subjects :