In 2015 the Helsinki University Main Library had 1.6 million users. The user numbers have continuously increased since Kaisa House opened to the public in 2012. The building contains various types of workspaces for students writing their thesis or dissertation or completing group assignments as well as for customers seeking information or a quiet place to read.
Members of the University community can reserve group-work rooms online, but study places are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Library’s customer survey in 2015 showed that about 80% of visitors to the Library’s different branches were members of the University community. The number of external customers is the highest precisely in Kaisa House.
University Librarian Kimmo Tuominen is pleased that the work facilities in Kaisa provide students with exactly the kind of learning environment they need. In the academic world, libraries serve as key producers of both physical and digital learning environment services.
The peak use period is in the spring when the facilities are frequented not only by University students and researchers, but also by upper secondary school students preparing for the matriculation examination and other young people cramming for an entrance examination.
“A lot of people study here in the spring,” says Kirsi Luukkanen, the Library’s director of learning services. “Since the inauguration of Kaisa House, we have noticed that the learning environment also attracts students from outside the University of Helsinki. For many, the Library is their first contact with the University of Helsinki.”
“We are trying to meet the demand while contending with the pressure to reduce our opening hours,” Luukkanen adds. “We keep track of our visitor numbers and try to increase hours for peak times and make reductions elsewhere.”
Open also on Sundays
Last year, the opening hours of Kaisa House to Sundays during the busiest periods of the academic year, and the study places will again be available this March and April on Sundays from 11 to 17.
Some of the workspaces in Kaisa are reserved exclusively for University of Helsinki students and researchers. The learning environments are also continuously developed as customer needs evolve. Open since autumn 2015, the new learning environment or digital library in Minerva at Siltavuorenpenger features more than 100 study places and provides resources via the web. Kirsi Luukkanen explains that the workspaces are available to those working on their own or in a group.
The learning environments of the Helsinki University Library are actively used on all campuses: in 2015 the total number of visitors was 2.2 million.
The University of Helsinki is also looking forward to the opening of the Helsinki Central Library in 2018 – after all, the new flagship library aims to reach 10,000 visitors each day, thus doubling the library capacity in the heart of the capital.
Director of Learning Services
Tel. 02941 23709, 0503182452