FINLAND
Info TV on wheels

Hollola is a municipality in southern Finland with approximately 20,000 residents. The patrons of the municipality’s library bus can enjoy a rare service; as far as we know this library bus is the only library bus in Finland which has an info TV. The 19- inch, glass-protected TFT monitor, located at the front of the bus, is a very versatile information channel. The info TV displays information about the library and about other administrative areas in the Hollola municipality.

“The information displayed includes answers to questions most frequently asked by school children, such as how much does a new library card cost, what are the borrowing times and where can the borrowed books be returned. For adults, there is information about official opening hours or which public employees can be reached during summer vacation, for example, in the building inspections offices. All possible information can be conveyed via the display to residents,” says Pasi Sivenius, display designer and implementer, library bus librarian and driver.

“The information displayed includes answers to questions most frequently asked by school children, such as how much does a new library card cost, what are the borrowing times and where can the borrowed books be returned. For adults, there is information about official opening hours or which public employees can be reached during summer vacation, for example, in the building inspections offices. All possible information can be conveyed via the display to residents,” says Pasi Sivenius, display designer and implementer, library bus librarian and driver.

The bus’ display works with Power- Point Viewer and Power DVD software. The system supports all CD and DVD formats. Thanks to the DVD viewing feature, the librarian can check the DVDs returned by patrons. If the disc is scratched or it is dirty, it can also be smoothed or cleaned on the spot in the bus. The sound card enables audio from the display, so that information in audio form can reach those who can’t read, for example. Almost all of the information shown on the display can be typed in on site in the library bus. An industrial computer which withstands bumpy roads was acquired for the bus specifically for this purpose.

The computer also enables bulletins to be posted quickly. Processing animated images, however, requires special programs (Pinnacle and Ulead) which the library bus does not have. Pasi Sivenius says, “The bus’ display is constantly changing and with the PowerPoint presentation, it can be updated with material within a few minutes of my having received it, because the work can be done in the bus and the information for the bulletin can be passed by phone to the bus.” According to Sivenius, updating the information display is not at all difficult or slow, because the computer has slide templates.

“The display has been well-received among patrons; they no longer have to skim through dozens of wrinkled-up pieces of paper and pages on a small bulletin board, which only has room for a few pages.”

Pasi Sivenius feels that the service range offered by the bus to residents has expanded significantly. The information on the bus display is distributed to a wide area, because the bus’ area of operation is approximately 600 square kilometres. The bus’ range of patrons is also large, because, in addition to the usual evening stops, the bus visits schools, daycares, retirement residencies and homes for the elderly.

A second info TV can be mounted in the back of Hollola’s library bus for different events and campaigns. This feature was last used on Finland’s national library bus day in Kuusamo, when the information display in the back of the bus showed a presentation of the history of Hollola municipality and the municipal library, while the other display was playing a DVD which provided information about the activities of the library bus.

Even though the current info TV and its operation in the library bus can be considered advanced, Hollola has not ‘kicked back its feet’.

“The next-generation information centre that I now have on my drawing board will go even further in its functionality and technology than this first generation,” says library bus librarian and driver Pasi Sivenius.

Mervi Heikkilä
Library Director
Nurmo Municipal Library

mervi.heikkila AT nurmo.fi

Translated by Turun Täyskäännös

Director of libraries, Seinäjoki