Nurmes named best library city in the world!

Based on the use of its public library, which in 2014 had 25.4 loans and 15 library visits per inhabitant. Last year, the Finnish Library Association launched a competition for the best library municipality in the world. Libraries are used in Finland more than in any other country in the world – so, based on this criterion, it was determined that the world’s best library municipality must also be located in Finland.

The Library Association challenged all Finnish municipalities and libraries to enter the competition. The results, based on the national library statistics for 2014, are now available. The municipalities were ranked based on the number of loans and public library visits per inhabitant in 2014. In other words, loans per inhabitant + visits per inhabitant = the winner! Nurmes triumphed with a score of 40.35.

Among the best

President of the Library Association Jukka Relander: “Amid the dark economic scenarios, we should remember that library tourists continue to visit our country wondering what the world’s most used libraries are really like. According to our results in Pisa (OECD Programme for International Student Assessment), we are among the best in the world – according to our library visits and loans, we are the absolute number one. The whole library world is looking at Nurmes!”

The Finnish Library Act will be renewed from 2015 to 2019. As the parliamentary elections approach, associations in the library field have established a Library Party (http://kirjastopuolue.fi) on social media. The campaign highlights values important for libraries and promotes policies that enable the world’s best libraries to remain the best and to ensure active use of libraries.

Libraries enhance communality

The Finnish Library Association emphasizes the importance of free library services, the significance of library services in sparsely populated areas, the central role of libraries in preventing social exclusion and ensuring free access to information.

Libraries strengthen civic engagement and democracy, and they are actively involved in developing the information society and promoting the openness of science and research. A comprehensive library network creates appealing living, studying and working environments. Libraries enhance communality and prevent social exclusion.

Head of Office Finnish Library Association
Mr. Jukka Relander, president of the Finnish Library Association shows the lending figures in (from the left) England, Sweden and Finland. Photo: Ira Koivu