Tampere City Library holds a regional development responsibility in the Pirkanmaa and Central Finland regions (abbr. PiKe). The purpose of this is to support the development of the public libraries and the professional competence of library staff as well as to promote mutual cooperation between the public libraries within the area of operation.
After the 2017 Library Act was introduced, a new structure for developing Finnish public libraries was confirmed by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Instead of former 18 county libraries, the Ministry appointed nine large city libraries to be responsible for developing professional competence of library staff in each region. These nine developer libraries have started their duties in 2018. The state finances the new development tasks and extra staff has been recruited for it.
Public libraries have a very solid grounded position in Finnish society. The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for the national library policy in Finland. However municipalities have the responsibility of arranging the public library services which are financed by the municipalities and the state together.
The basic tasks of public libraries have been defined in the Library Act. The first Library Act was introduced in 1928 and the latest in 2017. In particular, the new Act took into account a changing operational environment, digitalization, multicultural society, library´s role in promoting and confirming democracy in society and staff qualifications.
According to the new Finnish Library Act, public libraries in Finland are assigned with six tasks presented below. The first two are directly linked to library material, collections or content. The other four tasks represent a newer perspective to the traditional library paradigm and a lot needs to be done in libraries to really implement them in practice. The new tasks mentioned aptly cover pertinent changes in society and the changed operating environment of libraries.
- Providing access to materials, information and cultural contents
- Maintaining versatile and up-to-date collections
- Promoting reading and literature
- Providing information services, guidance and support in the acquisition and use of information and in versatile literacy skills
- Providing premises for learning, recreational activities, working, and civic activities
- Promoting social and cultural dialogue