In September Tampere was my home for two weeks during my Fulbright visit. I had the opportunity to meet with many of the University of Tampere library staff, including team leaders and others, and researchers at the School of Information Sciences. Director of Library Minna Niemi-Grundström met with me several times. Everyone was very welcoming and provided me with information and insights into ongoing changes at the University.
Presentation of scholarly reading and sharing at the School of
The goal of my program was to develop survey questions that will help Tampere University librarians understand the reading behavior and information needs of their academics. In addition to meetings, I scrutinized questions that had been asked in past surveys to identify those questions that will likely get the types of information needed. I will be working on designing a survey instrument over the next several months.
We also had discussions about research data management services, something that is on the minds of many research university librarians around the world these days.
Interesting meetings: Discussing with Professor Kalervo Järvelin after the presentation
I have had many colleagues and valuable collaborations in Finland over the years. In 2006 I had a Fulbright visit to the University of Oulu and I have visited Hanken University in Helsinki several times. My collaboration continues with Hanken researchers, in particular with Bo-Christer Björk on issues of scholarly publishing and Open Access.
I first visited Tampere in 1983 to make a presentation at the School of Information Sciences on scholarly reading. In the twenty years since I have visited the University of Tampere Library and Information Science colleagues for brief visits. In 2007, Pertti Vakkari, Sanna Talja, and I worked with Kristiina Hormia-Poutanen of FinELib on a national survey of Finnish academics, to compare scholarly reading behaviors in Finland with those of academics in the U.S. and Australia. Sanna, Kristiina, and I plan to work together again, along with the Tampere University Library, on another survey of scholarly information use by Finnish academics.
The multipurpose working space Pohjantähti with its easy chairs was one
of the new experiences in Linna library
The last time I visited the Tampere library the library in Linna was brand new—in fact the furniture was just being delivered. Now, someone referred to it as an ”old” library, so I guess it has been awhile since I visited!
I am impressed with the level of activity in the library and how the students have embraced the space and the services. I am also impressed with how the leadership and staff has adapted to incredible change this year, both in physical arrangements and in organization. Taking the library forward into the future will no doubt include more change and the librarians seem well positioned to lead those changes.
Among the hard-working students studying in the library
Tampere library’s service attitude towards academics and students is impressive, as is the recognition that the library needs to continue to forge partnerships and adapt to changes to remain relevant. The new organizational structure seems to be a good way to move forward into new services, while retaining the important continuing services.
It was also interesting to visit the School of Information Sciences, which is organized quite differently than it was on my last visit. Making new partnerships and thinking how to best serve researchers, students, and administrators is happening at both the library and the information studies departments. Tampere’s academics are quite well known internationally, and it is always a pleasure to work with them.
Carol Tenopir, Professor, The University of Tennessee, School of Information Sciences
Photos: Outi Viitasalo, Tampere University Library