The Finnish library drew attention to its accessibility in its prize-winning bid: not only are its larger branches located in shopping centres along people’s everyday routes and smaller branches open even without staff presence, but it also offers a mobile book service for remote customers, as well as youth spaces, workshops and outreach services to nursing homes.
Judges at the award ceremony in London called the library “a fine example to the world of an open and innovative service for everyone, with an enormously successful reading challenge open to all ages”.
“Its locations and its community programs ensure it reaches the hearts and minds of everyone in the city, embracing new technology and reaching out to the elderly, special needs groups and refugees,” the judges continued.
The library was shortlisted in the final along with Villa Lobos Park Library in Brazil and Lubuto Library Partners from Zambia.
This year’s awards recognised entries from countries across five continents and included accolades for bookshops, literary festivals, audiobooks, literary translations and more.