FINLAND
Finnish Library Association: The voice of the libraries

The strategy drawn up for the Finnish Library Association in the first decade of the millennium has produced clear guidelines for the association’s activities and has made it possible to re-assess measures basedon the set objectives.

In its strategy, the Finnish Library Association has envisioned itself as a viable, prominent national and international trendsetter capable of reacting quickly to changes. The values of the association include equality, communication, democracy, publicity and openness. The association’s mission is to develop the library field and to improve libraries’ operational prerequisites. Furthermore, the association functions as the voice of libraries and library professionals in society; it works for the benefit of not only public libraries, but also for the professionals working in them.

Making the library association and the library profession visible

The strategic objectives of the activities of the Finnish Library Association are as follows:
1) To strengthen the voice of the library profession
2) To intensify the activities of the association’s members
3) To increase the visibility and clout of the association
4) To improve the association’s support and the significance of the library community locally.

The aim of the strategy is to improve the visibility of both the library profession and the Finnish Library Association and in this way influence the promotion of the library ideology. This objective coincides with the regulations of the Finnish Library Association, which state that it is the association’s duty to promote the development of the library institution, to make known the libraries’ social and scientific duty and cultural significance, as well as to increase the professional expertise of those working in the library field.

Influencing through members

To guarantee the continuity of the Finnish Library Association, its members must be active, working to achieve the objectives written in the strategy on the provincial, national and international levels.With regard to the association’s activities, connections to decisionmakers on the national level play a central role, i.e. with the help of the decision-makers, the association is able to influence decision-making the best. Supporting the members and libraries is important on the municipal level as is stated in the strategy. In practice, this is evident in the contention and support given in local issues such as those pertaining to personnel and the downsizing of the library network.

Communication promotes cooperation within the library field

The Finnish Library Association has supplemented the general strategy with a communication strategy, which emphasizes the significance of establishing cooperation among the various actorsin the library field. The purpose of the strategy is to help the association achieve its mission and the objectives written in the general strategy through communication. The title of the strategy illustrates its objectives: Toward cooperation among libraries, within the library field and among those making decisions about libraries.

The aim of the Finnish Library Association is to accomplish cooperation around the libraries, which would support library activities, through its communication. The purpose of the association’s communication is to assist professionals in the field, decisionmakers who are responsible for the operational prerequisites of libraries, and patrons in feeling comfortable about using the library, as well as to bring everyone together for the good of the library.

The communication strategy especially emphasizes the significance of the Internet as part of the Finnish Library Association’s communication. The aim is to create a vivid web site, which is easy to access and where users can find current affairs, blogs, animation and links to other web sites all in one place. The other strategic foundation of the association’s communication is the Kirjastolehti magazine, which is being developed into a magazine specifically for library patrons. The magazine supports patronage, the field-related web site and the association’s other communication.

Sinikka Sipilä
Secretary General
Finnish Library Association

Secretary General Finnish Library Association