The Otaniemi library building has undergone a major renovation. Lasting more than one year, the work involved upgrades to customer facilities, storage rooms and staff workspaces. The building has been turned into a magnificent, multipurpose and modern Learning Centre for students, faculty and other customers. The Learning Centre will open on Monday 31 October at 9.00 and the opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday 4 November.
The first floor houses Tori, which includes meeting facilities, a café and the new Visual Resource Centre. The book and periodical collections, reading room and a thesis bar can be found on the second floor. The lower floor has been turned into Makerspace, an outstanding multipurpose facility where people can work, do group work or just take a break.
Materials are being digitised
The Learning Centre brings all Aalto University campus libraries together under the same roof. The building has a lot fewer shelves for traditional books than earlier, and this has freed up space for new purposes.
'Use of printed material, which means books and periodicals, has decreased by more than 50% over the past 10 years. At the same time, we've seen a sevenfold increase in the use of electronic materials and the digital materials that we offer are used approximately three million times per year. It's increasingly important for us to provide digital material in a comprehensive and expert manner and to advise our customers concerning its use,' says Matti Raatikainen, Director of the Learning Centre.
'However, printed material still has a place here: we have some 60 000 loans each year, people like to read magazines and theses in print format and browse through art literature,' continues Raatikainen.
Formerly used for storing books, the lowest floor of the Learning Centre has been transformed into the Makerspace multipurpose facility. You can climb into the round nooks in the walls to read or work, the FabLab will also move to this floor at a later time. Photo Aino Huovio.
Learning Centre services have been updated to meet today's requirements. Along with material loans, guidance on performing an information search, and bibliometrics services, the new Learning Centre now has a Visual Resource Centre for image materials, a well-equipped studio that can be used to, for example, record a MOOC lecture, and FabLab, which will move from Arabia at a later time. Aalto expertise can be displayed on the many exhibition spaces and a large media wall.
The best service
The Learning Centre staff work in activity-based offices and serve customers face-to-face at customer service points and, to an increasing extent, online.
'We're experts in the area of publishing scientific information. Digital publishing, visuality and, for example, open science require a new kind of competence and our job description has changed dramatically in recent years. We've invested in modern work methods, and tools and we want to offer the best service to support staff and students in their work,' explains Raatikainen.
The Learning Centre activities and facilities were designed over a three-year period as a joint service design project involving students, teachers, researchers and library staff. The project started with interviews to determine customer needs.
The Learning Centre will be open starting on 30 October with service hours Mon-Thu 9−20, Fri 9−18 and Sat 10−15. Tori and Makerspace will be open every day 7–24. There is also a space on the first floor that will be open 24/7.
The Learning Centre opening event will be held on Friday 4 November at 14.00 and the entire personnel is welcome to attend. Click on this link to register on Thursday 27 October at the latest.
Beautiful features typical of Alvar Aalto's design style are visible in the building. The second floor houses book collections and the reading and periodical room. The former customer service point in the middle of the photo will become a thesis bar, where customers can read theses completed at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. This photo was taken in August before completion of the renovation work.