The Finnish national library expands into the digital dimension, Source: Depositphotos

Finland launches first national e-library in the world

Finland launches first national e-library in the world

It will serve as a virtual companion to the municipal network of libraries in the country

The National Library of Finland is launching its E-library service today – announced as a pioneering platform on the planet and probably the first such in the world. For the moment, it will be available to 85% of Finnish residents as it’s a network that municipalities can choose to join.

The E-library will be available as a downloadable app for phones and tablets, and it will allow users to borrow e-books, audiobooks and digital journals.

Instead of a library card, strong authentication is used when first registering for the service. E-library can be used by anyone whose municipality of residence has joined the service. The service costs 0.7 euros per resident to municipalities.

Reading materials in three languages

The demand for the service originated in libraries, and the initial funding was granted by the Finnish parliament. Reportedly, a similar yet different service has been developed in Denmark and the idea is also taking hold in other Nordic countries.

The Finnish model is based on the separation of platform and material. In other words, the materials can be chosen more freely, as they are not tied to the limitations of a specific platform. And we also control the app development,” explains Annastiina Louhisalmi, Head of Services for E-library.

Being a new service, the project managers do not yet know how it will develop in the future. Only time will tell which items are more requested for borrowing. App users can also submit feedback about the service and help with its consequent development.

It turns out, though, that the E-Library will also suffer from some of the problems innate to old-school libraries, chiefly the fact that users will likely have to wait sometime for newly published materials to be made available for borrowing. That’s because the number of reading rights limits the scope of services to an extent.

The great thing, however, is that reading materials will be available in Finnish, Swedish and English.



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