What would Finland be without public libraries, cosy social, cultural and communication hubs scattered all over the country?
Helsinki can of course boast with some of the oldest libraries in Finland. It is located at Rikhardinkatu 3; it is a building from 1880s originally designed by Theodor Höijer , afterwards it was further extended in the 1920s and the interior in the form and looks we know nowadays was renovated in the 1980s. It used to be the main library of Helsinki until 1986 – which is quite surprising because it is not that huge – and because Finland has such a strong tradition of libraries!
Unlike in other countries (among others the paperback/Kindle powers – I’m looking at you, UK), it is no shame for middle and upper-middle class to use library for (obviously) borrowing books, music and video data free of charge, printing and copying things, using fax machines (lol), shredding documents… and for 3D printing, repairing your clothes, organising cultural events and similar. I know, right, cheap 3D printing should so much be available to everyone, just like using quality sewing machines for quick repairs or smaller projects or workshops. Recycling and sharing so typical for the Scandinavians in another form.
Now, Rikhardinkatu library is beautiful. Humble on the outside, just off Las Ramblas of Helsinki (Esplanaadinpuisto), and so cosy. I had never been before (“my” library is the one at Elielinaukio (Kirjasto 10): conveniently located just outside the train station, so if you would like a warm spot with WiFi without the obligation of buying bad coffee for when waiting for your train connection, Kirjasto 10 should be considered an option), visited it extempore for the first time on Friday – and thought I should explore public libraries more in my blog, and Rikhardinkatu library seemes like a great place to start. Some of them surely deserve attention…