Joint library units are formed by two or more independent organizations in the same locality or vicinity, and the operations are based on mutual agreements. There are joint libraries between universities of applied sciences (UAS), between UASes and science universities, and some joint libraries also serve upper secondary education. Furthermore, in some locations UAS libaries and public libraries are working under the same roof.
The joint library operation is based on the vision of the Ministry of Education and Culture regarding the structural development of the universities, and the number of joint libraries will definitely increase in the near future.
UAS libraries are operating in joint libraries e.g. in Porvoo Campus (Laurea UAS and HAAGA-HELIA UAS), in Tritonia, in Lapland University Consortium Library, in Lappeenranta Science Library, in Fellmannia and in Maritime Centre Vellamo.
New library system entirety
Finnish library sectors are currently using different integrated library systems. In 2011 sectors together with the National Library of Finland formed a joint committee in order to assess the feasibility of a new library system entirety, possibly an open source solution that would suit the needs of all the different types of libraries.
The project plan will specify the following:
By the end of the year 2012, there will be a project plan how to continue. In the second phase, the primary decisions will be made. The decision whether to accede to the new common library system is each library's or library sector's own and is ahead at the beginning of 2013.
National Digital Library
National Digital Library (NDL) is a project in which participating archives, libraries and museums work together in storing materials of Finnish culture and science in a digital format and in making it available for all. The main goal of the project is to develop a public interface which gives access to the digital information and services of libraries, archives and museums.
Some UAS libraries have participated in the process of planning and developing the public NDL interface. The public interface has been named Finna and it will be implemented during several development cycles. The so-called first wave of organizational users will begin to use the public interface during late 2012. Also preparations for the second wave will begin during 2012 and the actual installations and implementation of interfaces will start in the beginning of 2013. There will be about a hundred organizations involving in the second wave of interface including eleven UAS libraries.
National Metadata Repository
The National Metadata Repository project will create a joint database for all library sectors in Finland. The work includes a lot of planning together, compromises, ideas, inspiration and motivation. In the year 2015 the metadata repository should be in full function.
The repository will be based on the union catalogue of Finnish University Libraries. A few UAS libraries have already joined the union catalogue through joint library mergers.
Piloting with public libraries and UAS libraries has started, the first pilot libraries are Kokkola City Library - Regional Library, Tampere City Library - Pirkanmaa Regional Library, Central Ostrobothnia University of Applied Sciences Library, HAMK University of Applied Sciences Library and HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences Library. The piloting process is planned together in the working groups consisting of representatives of participating libraries and in co-operation with the AMKIT Consortium and the Council for Public Libraries.
The National Metadata Repository will streamline the description process significantly: libraries can utilise the work made by others and the need for separate descriptions will decrease. Because of cooperation the cataloguing will be faster and quality of the data better.
User-centered methods and Learning Libraries network
Some UAS libraries are involved in a Learning Libraries network. The aim of the Learning Libraries network is to support developing library services by sharing experiences and ideas on user-centered methods. The core in user-centered methods is to understand the users’ actual needs and desires, and thus by reflecting on these, to develop better services and products. The activities include observing customers/users, listening to their views and ideas, and involving them in the entire cycle of the development process.
An example of the work within the network is a study on visual eye tracking which was conducted in 2010 at one of the UAS libraries. The results of the sudy were used in reorganizing the collections of the library. The traditional shelving arrangement based on classification has partly been compensated by thematic ensembles marked with different colours.
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