The electronic services and digital media meeting point, meetingpoint AT lasipalatsi, was opened in the former premises of the Cable Book Library in Lasipalatsi, opposite the post office building. Active participants in the Meetingpoint service include both the public sector and company representatives.
Library 10 was opened on April 1, 2005 and it is the newest location of the Helsinki City Library. The library also immediately became the city library’s most used location. Over 2,000 patrons visit the 800 m2 library facilities daily. Library 10 has a collection of about 40,000 music recordings available for loan and a wide selection of musicrelated books, music notes, periodicals and DVD recordings. Additionally, old LP records have been retrieved from storages of different libraries and this collection of roughly 2,000 LP records has awakened enthusiasm in retrospirited library patrons. The library also has books on information technology, publishing and the media branch, and there is a wide selection of Finnish and foreign culture and information technology periodicals and newspapers.
The library’s material is organized by topic. For example, the pop section contains pop and rock music recordings, magazines and books and also movie books and magazines, DVDs and comic strips. The international section contains world and folk music, travel books, periodicals, DVDs and atlases. The divisions of the sections are also visible in the furnishings. For example, the classical section is furnished with a leather sofa set and table from a flea market.
The patrons of Library 10 are different from the usual library users. The majority of patrons are 20-30 year-olds and 60% of the borrowers are men. There is a large quantity of immigrant patrons, and the staff selected for the library resembles their patrons. A majority of both the patrons and the staff are young men interested in music and very skilled in information technology.
Library 10 is the library service point of the city centre
Library 10 was designed to serve people frequenting the city centre in particular. The library is open when people are out and about from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays and noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The library lobby also opens every weekday at 8 in the morning.
Library 10 is located at the hub of public transportation in the metropolitan region. Commuter trains, buses, trams and the metro transport tens of thousands of students and working passengers daily right in front of the library doors. There is an automatic book return right inside the library entrance, you can drop off material borrowed from any of the capital’s libraries, and at the same time, pick up reserved material from the pick-up spot. Material transport vehicles running at night ensure that reserved material is available to be picked up by the following day.
Library 10 is a place for consuming, creating and displaying culture
The library’s work stations are places where visitors can process pictures, sounds and videos. The library has approximately 40 work stations equipped according to different usage needs. In the lobby, Linux terminals constructed from recycled computers can be used for quick viewing of email.
The Windows work stations, which circle the library walls, are for using the Internet and for word processing. The multimedia area has Macintosh and Windows XP work stations with scanners, picture processing and layout software, connections for USB and Firewire devices and CD and DVD drives for burning.
The music and recording room has an electric keyboard, acoustic and electric guitars, basses and microphones. Library visitors can also bring their own instruments to the music room. The music editing area has editing and recording programmes, a synthesizer, drum machine and various repeaters. The video editing area has programmes and devices both for making animation and for processing of videos made in the most common formats.
Patrons can also leave their own recordings in the recording demo-tower for others to listen to; you never know if recording company managers come now and then posing as library visitors to listen to the demo-tower looking for new talent.
Concisely put: if you possess a Helsinki City Library card and some talent, you can leave Library 10 with your own music video to conquer the entertainment world. And all of this is free to library patrons.
There is a small theatre area at the back of the library called Stage, which is equipped with a data projector, display suspensions and sound reproduction and lighting technology. The entire library hall is acoustically optimized, so concerts held at Stage are heard well throughout the library. Stage is a venue for exhibitions, animations and concerts, and on weekend evenings when the library is closed, Stage serves as a performance arena for music enthusiasts. Concerts are arranged in cooperation with Helsinki music institutes.
You can listen to music in the library on a borrowed walkman, at the hi-fi area or on a wireless headset. You can connect your own laptop to the Internet using the wireless connection and make your own work area by moving around the furniture.
Library 10 is a public city facility
The library is a place for working, studying and general visiting open to all. You can come to the library alone or with company for enjoyment or to learn, to do some group work or for a special meeting in the auditorium. The library is a meeting place in the centre of the city, where you can pleasantly pass the time with periodicals and music while waiting for someone.
It has also been observed that patrons are spending longer and longer periods of time in the library. It is no longer just a place to come to borrow and return material and read the newspaper. The library is a part of citydwellers’ leisure-time activities, along with cafés, movies and shopping. The library is a safe and free public area, where available and professional staff takes care of supplying both information and enjoyment to the patrons.
The meetingpoint AT lasipalatsi, an information service point open to all
Lasipalatsi, located on the premises of the former Cable Book Library, has an information service area, where experts from various fields provide consultation to those seeking information on the use of Internet-based electronic services, mobile services and digital TV. The Meetingpoint serves as a venue for training sessions on how you can ease everyday routines by making use of information technology.
The Meetingpoint is also a venue where various hardware manufacturers and service providers display their services and products; there is free consultation for everyone about the products presented. The Meetingpoint provides service providers with an opportunity to meet customer groups and receive direct feedback from the users of their services. The information service desk is open Monday – Friday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The Meetingpoint is managed by the Helsinki City Library and sources for the financing of its operation include the Bill Gates Donation Fund. In addition to the Helsinki City Library, active participants in the project include the Information Society Council’s Citizens’ Information Society Skills Development Section (appointed by the Council of State) and its members, the Ministry of Education and The Lasipalatsi Film and Media Centre.
Courses open to everyone
In cooperation with its partners, the Helsinki City Library organizes courses in the library for all who are interested in topics related to electronic ways of carrying out various day-to-day routines and services offered via the Internet. These sessions are free of charge.
Employment Office service location at the Meetingpoint
The Helsinki Employment Office has an office at the Meetingpoint as well. The Job Search Centre is a source of information for users about the possibilities to use electronic Employment Office services. You can also get practical instruction in how to use these Internet-based services. The office is open weekdays 11 a.m. – to 6 p.m.
Work & Education – the theme in September and October
From 1. September – 31. October 2005, the theme was work & education. During this time, representatives from different areas of education and web service providers were presenting themselves at the Meetingpoint. They guided library users in carrying out web searches and finding registration forms and education services. The employment office’s Job Search Centre also arranged company recruiting occasions and training for job-seekers during theme weeks.
Digital TV and Helsinki Television Oy
Finland will be switching over to digital TV nationwide by 31. August 2007. Presently there are already more TV channels and services available. Image and audio quality will improve especially in difficult reception conditions. What else does digital television offer viewers? A representative of the Ministry of Transport and Communications’ digital TV team will be at the Meetingpoint at set times to provide basic information about digital television and to answer questions. Further information about digital TV is available at www.digitv.fi.
In the theme area, you can also learn about the service selection offered by Finland’s largest cable television operator, Helsinki Televisio Oy, including HDTV and other Welho digital TV services. Visitors can use the Welho broadband connection at the Meetingpoint free of charge. Nearly 60% of the households in the metropolitan region (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen) receive their TV service through HTV’s broadband network. HTV is part of SanomaWSOY’s electronic communications business group, SWelcom. Further information is available at www.welho.fi.
Borrow a broadband
Meetingpoint AT lasipalatsi will let you borrow a Welho broadband connection free of charge. The period of the loan is two weeks and the borrower must be 18 years of age and have a library card. The connection is returned at the Meetingpoint. An agreement for the loan of broadband connections has been made with HTV and it will continue until further notice. The connection is available in the cable network area. You can check if your home address is part of this network at www.welho.fi. Translated by Turun Täyskäännös
Portraits: Nexar Flores