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Not only was Finland awarded the designation of “world’s happiest country” by World Happiness Report in 2018; it also secured the No. 1 spot in a list of the most literate nations in the world, according to a 2016 study conducted by Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Conn. And Helsinki Central Library Oodi, the Finnish capital’s new state-of-the-art public library, is yet another impactful example of just how much the country values education and literature.
According to tourism organization Helsinki Marketing, the 185,677-square-foot central library is a direct response — one that cost upward of 98 million euro — to the country’s Public Libraries Act, which was updated in 2017 with a mandate that libraries must promote lifelong learning, active citizenship, democracy and freedom of expression.
Indeed, Oodi (which means “ode” in Finnish) checks off every box, and then some. The library is divided into three floors: The first encompasses a cinema, a multipurpose hall, a cafe and restaurant, pop-up stalls and an area for early childhood education. The theme on the second floor is “workshops, learning and interaction,” and it contains everything from editing rooms and a photography video studio — and even a room for playing instruments — to equipment including 3D printers, a laser cutter, a heat press, sewing machines, embroidery machines and more.
Finally, the third floor, nicknamed “book heaven,” is where visitors will find the more standard library fare: some 100,000 books. But, still, it’s far from ordinary — aesthetically speaking, this top floor is an architectural delight, with an open-plan layout and a unique, undulating white ceiling studded with skylights.
Like all Finnish people, travelers are welcome to spend time at Oodi — which opened on Dec. 5, 2018 — to experience a shining example of modern-day Finnish culture and values.
The DetailsHelsinki Central Library Oodiwww.oodihelsinki.fi