An ode to culture, equality and freedom
Designed by ALA Architects, this library of a new era is an ode to Finnish culture, equality and freedom of expression. Oodi offers everyone an open, public urban space at Kansalaistori Square, right opposite Parliament House.
Central Library Oodi is an active and functional meeting point with 2.5 million expected annual visitors. Oodi offers its visitors a place for learning something new and developing personal skills by offering information, facilities and the most recent technology for anyone to use.
“Oodi symbolises the core values of our society, such as education, culture, equality and openness. The promotion of these values is especially vital in these times marked by uncertainty. Oodi stands firmly in the defence line of our democracy,” says Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori.
Libraries and democracy go strongly hand in hand. In accordance with the 2017 Public Libraries Act, Oodi promotes life-long learning, active citizenship, democracy and freedom of speech. The significance of democracy is also highlighted by the location of Oodi opposite Parliament House.
The ideology behind public libraries has it that the library is a cultural centre that, in addition to literature and reliable information, also offers diverse and innovative services. This also holds true for Oodi, which is a house of literature and of diverse urban experiences. Apart from the traditional library services, Oodi also features a café, restaurant, cinema, art, studio facilities and an urban workshop, for example.
Oodi will be a new part of the Helsinki City Library network of 37 libraries ensuring an easy access to libraries in Helsinki. Oodi is a library of a new era and a pioneer in library services, leading the way in the library world. For instance, Oodi makes use of the most recent robot technology that leaves the library professionals with more time to serve customers. Services will be continuously developed together with customers and partners.
“The building will get completed, but the library itself will never be ready. Oodi and its services will continue to change and develop,” says Director of Oodi Anna-Maria Soininvaara.
Photos: Tuomas Uusheimo