Seinäjoki Public Library , Finland

Main entrance. Photo  Jukka Kontkanen
Main entrance. Photo Jukka Kontkanen

Name of the Library: Seinäjoki Public Library – Provincial Library
Parent Organisation: City of Seinäjoki

Street Address: Alvar Aallon katu 14, 60100 Seinäjoki, Finland
Postal Address: P.O.B. 217, 60100 Seinäjoki, Finland
Telephone : +358 6 416 2317
Web Address:
http://www2.seinajoki.fi/english/services/library/ (services of the library)
http://seinajoenkirjasto.blogspot.fi/p/the-new-main-library-apila.html (main library building)
Library Email: kirjasto@seinajoki.fi

Type of Library:  Central/ Main Library , Regional Library
Population served: There are about 60 000 inhabitants in Seinäjoki.
Project Type: Extension,  New Building
Size (square metres): 3 500 square meters
Date of Completion The main library Apila was opened to public on the 20th of August 2012.
Architect JKMM architects, Head designer is architect Mr. Asmo Jaaksi

Reading steps are the heart of the library. Photo Jukka Kontkanen
Reading steps are the heart of the library. Photo Jukka Kontkanen

Description
The main library in Seinäjoki consists of two buildings: Apila, opened in 2012, and the old main library, designed by Alvar Aalto. The Aalto library was built in 1965. It will be repaired and renovated the way Aalto originally designed it. The Aalto library will be opened most likely in the spring of 2015. There will be an underground passageway between the two buildings.

The check-in and check-out are fully automated. There is a check-in unit in the entrance hall and check-out units in every department.  The check-in and check-out are based on RFID-technology (Radio Frequency Identification): All the material in the library has an RFID tag that includes information about the specific item. Also bar code labels are still used.

For reserves there is a self-service pick-up: every reserve has an individual reserve number that helps to identify the reserves. The customers can find their reserved material according to this number. You can’t by accident check-out someone else’s reserve; the check-out unit prevents it.

The new library located so near the famous Aalto centre has affected the designing. The architecture of the library had to differ from Alvar Aalto designs but there are also references to Aalto in the Apila library. The shape of the building has been influenced by Japanese origami; there are a lot of sharp edges and triangular forms, another example are the pleats in the book hall ceiling.
There is a lot of concrete visible and as a contrast to it there are e.g. white wooden gratings covering the walls in the ground floor, white desks and colourful furniture. There are a lot of Finnish and international design classics among the furniture. The interior design is by interior decorator Päivi Meuronen. Her touch can be seen everywhere in the library, she has designed the fittings and chosen the furniture. Many items are designed specific for this library.

Children's Department. Photo Hanna Kotila
Children’s Department. Photo Hanna Kotila

In the children’s department the scale is fitted for children. The ceiling is lower and the furniture is smaller. There is even a small toilet for children. There is a lovely story time room with magical atmosphere. Book houses are a good place to read with parents or do homework.

The youth and music department is located in the basement and is inspired by the book Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy by Douglas Adams. Atmosphere there is futuristic and the main color is white. The reading nooks in the wall bring color to the space.

Space to spend time:
In the Apila library there are lot of space just to spend time. Customers have really taken the library as their living room.
– news area with café and tables and computers for reading newspapers and magazines
– colorful reading nooks in the youth and music department
– book houses in the children’s department
– quiet reading room for studying
– lots of tables, rocking chairs and armchairs for reading, meeting people etc.
– reading steps (a venue for events and a place for reading)
– Jaaksi hall (a conference room)
Events
There are lots of different kinds of events in the library: concerts, author’s visits, meetings, dancing, storytimes, singing, book talks, exhibitions, lessons on using the internet and databases, lectures, movie nights etc. Part of the events are arranged with partners in cooperation.

Awards, case studies, further information
Seinäjoki City Library is among Top 10 of Finnish architecture biennal review 2014
The European Copper in Architecture Awards gave Special commendations to the Seinäjoki city library.
Seinäjoki city library is Concrete building of the year 2012 in Finland
Commendation in European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2013

 

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