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Sello Library, Leppävaara District Library

Helin & Co ArkkitehditFinland

Welcome to the Leppävaara Regional Library in the Sello shopping centre! The Leppävaara Regional Library is the largest library in the area. Since its opening in 2003 it has also been the most frequented library in all of the cities of Vantaa, Espoo, Kauniainen and Helsinki – the Helsinki metropolitan area.

The library in Sello is the second library in Espoo to be situated in a shopping centre. This model is an innovation that was developed right here in Espoo: a library is a desirable form of service to have in malls, and libraries wish to be located where there are most people. In Espoo – a city with no definitive centre or business district – the regional shopping centres are the areas of most activity.

Year of completion: 
2002
Address: 

Leppävaarankatu 9, P.O.Box 60301, FI-02070 CITY OF ESPOO

Size of library: 
5846m²
Category of library: 
Detailed description: 

The Sello Library hosts so many events that it can compete with other institutions that organize cultural events as their main function. The library also has an extensive collection and selection of services such as microfilms, a music studio, various ongoing exhibitions and the ”Borrow a Librarian” service.

The goal of the Sello library is to be a place of full service for all age groups. Special attention has been given to children's library activity and – apart from other libraries in the country – library services that are oriented towards teenagers. We strive to achieve good contact with our regular customers. Much inspiring activity is arranged with children and teenagers in mind: everything from multilingual story hours, reading groups, and literary and writing groups to the availability of playing games.

Game rooms exist for both children and teenagers, containing game consoles and the Nintendo Wii. We also arrange game nights, which take place outside of regular opening hours on Saturday evenings. Music workshops and so-called demo nights are also held. Young people can present to an audience music that they have made in the library's own music studio. Past demo nights can be found on YouTube, see http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=demoilta&search_type=&aq=f. Some other public events, such as visits by authors, have been videoed and placed on the library's blog.

Another point of emphasis is immigrant activity. Many of the library's regular customers are immigrants, and the library has hired several employees who have an immigrant background. We arrange activities for Somalis and Albanians, among others, as there are many people in Espoo who have their origins in these countries. Along with our partners, we provide immigrant mothers and their children activity clubs that focus not only on getting acquainted with the library, but also with practicing Finnish and getting to know Finnish literature through different ways of participation.

The basic philosophy of the Sello Library is to be a house of diverse cultural activities, providing both service and self-service. The library is a pioneer in providing customers self-service machines – there are 12 self-checkout machines around the library, and two self-return machines with sorting capability near the main entrance. There also is a total of five service points in the two-storey library that occupies an area of over 62,000 square feet. All service points provide the same services, the only exception being that reserved material needs to be picked up at the main service desk.

In many of its operations, the Sello Library tries to find partners in cooperation to arrange exhibits, events, and other activities. As a permanent partner, an Espoo City Service Point exists within the library, providing information about the city and its services, and selling public transport tickets and passes. Another permanent partner is YesBox, an information point for the Espoo City young people's services. It individually assists young people with studies, career planning, and career opportunities.

The library regularly cooperates with local associations, art clubs, publishers, the city's educational department, cultural department, and young people's department, as well as the Lutheran congregation, among other instances. Cooperation with schools is especially extensive, and includes service products that have been developed into a specific standard (such as standardized training packages in the use of the library and in performing data search; book tips, which are also available for schools; and combined picture/music/book tips). In addition to these, we provide for schools customized services that take into regard specific purposes, such as a combined picture, music, and book tip session related to World War II, and an instructional package on the history of rock music.

We attempt to develop our marketing and customer service not only through our Internet pages, but also with customized e-mail messages, electronic bulletin boards within the library itself, as well as with flyers and brochures. We have been marketing our activities in various ways within the lobby of the library as well as in the shopping centre, but from the beginning of 2009, use of the public space in the shopping centre will have a fee, and will thus pose a problem.

The organization of the Sello library works in teams; the supervisors of the teams – three office managers – attend to external liaisons, goal setting, policy definitions, and also to organizing activity with the help of the six teams, which each have a team leader. The supervisors' role with these teams is of both encouraging and negotiating nature – the planning process continually involves dialogue and interaction. All activity is led by the regional chief librarian along with the three office managers. The amount of regular employees is 50, but when all temporary employees are added to that figure, the total amount of employees is between 70 and 80.

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