Antti Seppänen

M.A. information specialist, Senior Advisor at Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland


Plenary Talk: Evaluating and developing public libraries in national and municipal perspective – Tools used and provided by Regional Administrative Agencies

Abstract: Public libraries in Finland are part of municipal services and developed as part of them. They are also part of national network of different libraries (public, scientific, special etc.) and so natives of two different worlds. They have two strategical guidelines: national library policy by Ministry of Education and Culture and at the same time municipalities own strategies. Therefore tools for evaluation have to address both needs: libraries as part of municipalities and national library policy.
Knowledge management and evidence based development needs accurate and reliable sources of information. Finnish law for public libraries makes evaluation of services mandatory for all. Demands come also from budgetary side of municipalities. Libraries must be able to prove their impact and efficiency and at same time gather information to develop their services.
Regional Administrative Agencies are guided by ministry and help public libraries to develop and evaluate their services. Together with ministry and libraries they have developed several tools to do that effectively and taking account to dual role of libraries. In my presentation I plan to demonstrate these tools including: National public library statistics
Regional Agencies collects every year at January and February statistics of every municipal public library. They are collected to national database and visualized at!/en. After collection is completed, senior advisors at Agencies checks them for any errors and they are usually published at 1st of April at ( Also visualized version of statistics is also published then. Statistics naturally forms base information about resources and outputs of libraries and gives hint also about its impact. In this paper I will show some noteworthy trends in Finnish library statistics.
National customer survey
Formerly national customer survey was coordinated by National library of Finland but since 2018 it will be coordinated from Regional Agencies. Survey will be made with all municipal public libraries and result are analysed in many levels: municipal, regional and national levels. Already at November 2017 was pilot survey made at region of Sothern Carelia. In this paper I will share results from pilot survey and early experiences from national survey.
Basic services assessment
Every second year Regional Agencies makes basic services assessment about several basic services of municipalities. One of them is library services. At every assessment there is different theme. 2016 it was availability of municipal public library services in different parts of our country. Next assessment 2018 will be about children library services. In presentation I will share some preliminary results from this assessment.
Project register of libraries
Every autumn Regional Agencies fund several development projects in different parts of our country. Information about projects are visualized at our project database at!/en. In this paper I will present trends from 2017 funding and modifications made to digital applying system.

Brief Biography: Antti Seppänen (M.A. information specialist) is Senior Advisor at Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland. He is responsible for developing statistics and national customer survey of public libraries in Finland. He is also member oh National Impact Evaluation Group in Finland. He is also responsible for developing Finnish Public Library Project Register. He has given lectures for libraries about Knowledge Management and use of statistics in developing libraries. Seppänen has twice presented a paper at QQML conference 2011 (Libraries does make a difference: Common principles in showing the impact of different types of libraries) and 2017 (Public value and performance of libraries Case: Iso Omena library). His current interest is helping libraries and government agencies and ministry to develop their knowledge management regarding to libraries and showing impact of libraries combining many different types of information sources together.

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