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Library for book-lovers and multimedia enthusiasts

The library, which is due to open in the basement of the Finnish Institute this winter, aims to concentrate on a number of carefully chosen topics. There will be an excellent selection of books covering areas such as Finnish and Scandinavian political culture, Finnish education, art and design, prose, music, folklore and religion. There will also be a reference library containing dictionaries, travel guides etc.

The Institute has been fortunate in the assistance it has received from a number of sources. Kirjakaapeli – the Finnish multimedia centre – has played an important role in the compilation of the library's multimedia section. The collaboration of the Finnish Church Guild has also been been most welcome. Donations have been received from the Finnish Embassy in London and Finnish scientific societies and many publishers have offered substantial price reductions. The Kone Foundation has also given generously. The initial work creating the library was done by Tuija Salovaara, a library trainee sponsored by CIMO (Centre for International Mobility).

In addition to the wide variety of printed material, a multimedia desk will be available for both Internet browsing and playing CD-Roms. This will be of particular interest to students of the Finnish language. The CD-Rom collection will include the Hyper-Kalevala, in both Finnish and English, although the English version will be a limited introduction pending publication of the full translation.

For those in relaxed mood, there will be a separate music library where the visitor can enjoy music ranging from classical to jazz, tango, ethno and pop music.

Obviously, the library does not aim to cover all topics of interest. The space is relatively small, and since there are other libraries in London carrying Finnish material, the Institute has chosen its criteria for building up the library with care. The British Library and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at London University are still the best places for students and academics to pursue their studies. The Finland Trade Centre’s library specialises in business while Rotherhithe Library, near the Finnish Church in London, has a fine collection of Finnish novels.

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