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What is PIKI?

PIKI, or Pirkanmaan Kirjastot, was founded in 2002. Development of joint activities began with the acquisition of a joint library system. Over the past two decades it has evolved towards co-operation, for which common rules of use and operating methods have been agreed. Today, the group includes 22 Pirkanmaa city and municipal libraries.

PIKI's mission statement

  • PIKI is a library service provided by the municipal and city libraries of Pirkanmaa that have joined the shared library system.
  • PIKI libraries actively participate in the development of joint library services in the Tampere Region and as part of the regional development responsibility (Pirkanmaa and Central Finland) in a customer-oriented manner and anticipating future trends.
  • PIKI cooperation is based on reciprocity both between libraries and with customers. Customers have access to the services, collections, and professional expertise of all PIKI libraries.
  • PIKI libraries participate in national library projects.
  • PIKI libraries carry out various projects, activities related to the promotion of reading, events, and support opportunities for hobbies and the realization of democracy.

The roots of shared activities can be found in the need to combine the library systems of different municipalities and at the same time benefit from the benefits of cooperation by centralizing work, sharing expertise, peer learning and sharing work practices. Municipalities benefit financially by procuring systems together.

The first exploratory talks about a joint library system were made by Pirkkala towards Tampere already in 1995, but at that time technology did not yet enable the joint system. However, the will for a joint system existed, and the matter progressed through a new round of exploratory talks between the municipalities around Tampere into a project lead by Tampere. The first joint system agreement was signed on 24.9.2002. PIKI Day is celebrated annually in memory of this agreement.

The PIKI joint system began its operations at the end of 2002, when libraries from the surrounding municipality were integrated into the Tampere library system. By the end of 2003, the databases of libraries in 17 municipalities had already been connected to the joint system. Now PIKI includes 22 Pirkanmaa city and municipal libraries, which together serve the more than 500,000 residents of the PIKI area.

In addition to providing collections, libraries serve their communities in many ways. The library facilities are open to everyone, and the events are free of charge. School and daycare groups visit the library with regular intervals. Reading is also encouraged with PIKI reading diplomas, which also have handy mobile applications. Assisted living facilities and daycare centers are supplied with materials on loan, and home services serve those customers who cannot visit the library themselves. Interlibrary service operations ensure that customers also have access to materials that cannot be found in the PIKI collections. PIKI libraries’ collection also includes various objects, such as board games, musical instruments, and SUP boards.

Libraries are often at the forefront as technology advances and customer needs change. Libraries were at the forefront of computer use a few decades ago, offering a database to browse, computers for customers, and guiding customers in the use of computers. This same development continues, and today PIKI libraries are involved in presenting VR devices to customers, among other things. Instructing in digital matters is now a natural part of library customer service.

The 2017 Library Act assigned several tasks to public libraries. Libraries must provide access to materials, information, and cultural content, as well as provide information services, guidance, and support for the acquisition and use of information and diverse literacy. Libraries are also responsible for promoting social and cultural dialogue, with the aim of promoting active citizenship, democracy, and freedom of expression.

What will the next decades bring? Once again, PIKI is already looking to the future. The upcoming national e-library is likely to change the way we produce services for customers. The library already serves its customers 24/7 in the online library, and the opening hours of the facilities will increase as the technology of self-service libraries is increasingly adopted.

Artificial intelligence and robotics also provide solutions suitable for libraries. The first steps have already been taken when PIKI libraries have introduced robotics: customers can apply for a new library card online and our library card robot creates a customer relationship. The robot also assists in changing the library card PIN.

PIKI libraries want to continue to offer all residents of their area high-quality and wide-ranging library services for the next decades to come. By working together, we can achieve this goal. The core of shared activities is that by sharing ideas, expertise, and experiences in libraries, we can offer customers high-quality and consistent service throughout the region, utilizing a common system whose smooth operation requires mutual agreement and background work.

Every year in September, PIKI Day is celebrated. On that day PIKI Libraries award selected individuals or other actors in their communities the Reading Act of the Year prize. It is awarded for efforts to promote literacy.