The new Learning Centre is the climax of Matti Raatikainen's career
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Matti Raatikainen and I have been the vice director of the Learning Centre since 2015. I have spent almost my entire career working in libraries: both public libraries and university libraries in Jyväskylä, Tampere and Helsinki. Before my current job at the Learning Centre, I worked as customer service manager at the Aalto University library and before that at the library of the School of Business. I have worked on all Aalto campuses since the establishment of Aalto University. The library team is currently facing new challenges: the new Learning Centre not only means new facilities, but also a new work culture which we have been adopting through Learning Centre beta. Customer service is increasingly important at the new centre, and therefore the customer service desk that has moved to the first floor is also open in the evenings and on Saturdays.
The new Learning Centre will be opened on 31 October. What new services will be available to students and teachers? What will change?
The biggest change is that there is more space for customers and less space for collections. Our 16 shelf kilometres of publications have been reduced to five. The building and the services available will also change. New services have been developed in collaboration with our customers. The new Learning Centre is home to the Visual Resources Centre where visual collections are stored and skills related to visual resources, such as searching for material and using it, are taught. The Learning Centre also boasts a professional-level studio where teachers can record lectures and panel discussions. FabLab, which is moving to the Learning Centre from the Arabia campus, will provide services related to 3D printing and scanning. In addition to these services, our facilities can be used to organise events and exhibitions. A cafe, which many customers have wished for, will also be opened on the premises. Aalto students and staff will be able to use the Learning Centre every day from 7 in the morning until midnight.
Collections are increasingly in digital format. How has this affected the work of library staff, researchers and teachers?
Our customers, which includes students, researchers and teachers, increasingly use other than printed materials. The use of electronic materials has grown by 600% compared to the year 2002. The work of our staff no longer focuses on handling printed materials, but on tasks such as online services and the development of these services. We also advise and guide customers in searching for data from databases. The Learning Centre is involved in activities related to the ACRIS research information system, and we are responsible for producing the Aaltodoc publication archive. The library staff also works with Leadership Support Services to create the bibliometric analyses needed in tenure track recruitments. As our customers are changing the way they use the library, we are also developing new ways of serving them. We want to be closer to the daily work of researchers and teachers. We have taken into use a discipline-specific contact person service, which means that each school has its own contact person at the library.
According to our vision, we are building a sustainable society driven by innovation and entrepreneurship. How is this visible at the Learning Centre?
The Learning Centre provides facilities and services for encounters that will hopefully result in new innovations. Two businesses operating in the education and teaching field already have their offices at the Learning Centre, and there is still room for new entrepreneurs. Sustainability has been taken into account in the renovation project that is about to be completed, and it will also be part of our daily activities.
Where do you get strength and inspiration for your work? Describe particular moments or things.
The best moments are when you have been planning something for a long time and then finally get to see the end result. For instance the planning of the Learning Centre began in 2013. This is the biggest project I will go through with during my career. The planning of the Learning Centre has been carried out in collaboration with our customers. It is very rewarding when you know that your work will actually benefit others, and the best ideas always come from the actual users of the service. I charge my batteries every day by reading on the train when I commute from Järvenpää to Helsinki.