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Towards a new library system: A paradigmatic shift in the Finnish library system planning and acquisition

Jarmo Saarti (University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland)
Sinikka Luokkanen (HAMK University of Applied Sciences, Hämeenlinna, Finland)
Ari Ahlqvist (National Library of Finland, Helsinki, Finland)
Lassi Lager (National Library of Finland, Helsinki, Finland)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 12 January 2015




Finnish libraries are using different integrated library systems. Higher education libraries funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture are using the same ILS in three different installations on the same hardware. Special and public libraries are using several different systems. Many of these library systems are reaching their end-of-life phase. During the spring and summer of 2011 all the Finnish library sectors together with the National Library of Finland formed a joint committee in order to assess the feasibility of a library system entirety, possibly an open source solution that would suit the needs of all the different types of libraries. The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyse the planning for the acquisition of a new library system initiated in year 2012; the concept is to try to establish a joint system with common databases for all the libraries in all sectors willing to collaborate in this effort.


The paper describes the evolution of the Finnish library systems and evaluates the methods used in the planning of the new library automation system.


The broad model of group working was useful in policy making and committing the libraries to the joint project. Using social web-technologies were efficient in project communication and marketing. This type of semi-professional planning was not able to produce accurate specification for programming thus a need for follow-up project became evident.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is based on Finnish experiences.

Social implications

The paper presents a case about the usage of group working in the planning of a library automation system with an evaluation of the possibilities and restraints on this type of approach.


The paper provides an analysis on the usability of broad group working type of approach to the policy making and planning of library automation systems.



The authors are grateful to Dr Ewen MacDonald for revising the English.


Saarti, J., Luokkanen, S., Ahlqvist, A. and Lager, L. (2015), "Towards a new library system: A paradigmatic shift in the Finnish library system planning and acquisition", Library Management, Vol. 36 No. 1/2, pp. 2-11.



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