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Library is full of charisma!


“Library provides content products and services that mostly meet clients’ requirements. Library has grown a fine charisma – something that simply cannot be bought. But, if you have latent special talents and don’t tell anyone about them, how can people make use of them?” comments interior designer Pablo Riquelme from the Kuudes Kerros design agency, smilingly.


What is the library service experience like?

In autumn 2007, Helsinki City Library launched a concept design project. The Oulunkylä Library was used as a pilot location for a larger brand and concept design project. The goal of the project was to create a new brand for Helsinki City Library by spring 2009. The Kuudes Kerros design agency participated in the project.

The service concept work for Helsinki City Library had six starting points:

01 Crystallising the library concept and brand
02 Crystallising the service concept
03 Clarifying content presentation
04 Developing the experiential qualities of library facilities
05 Visual aspects and 06 Solutions for marketing and communication.

“The Natural History Museum in London is a great example of making something well-established look fresh. A new visual identity shows that even a museum with a significant track record can appeal to consumers in interesting ways without losing its credibility. In the library project, we based our work in not destroying anything old but simply presenting the existing things better,” explains Pablo.


“Culture is something I just do” – defining the starting points

“Defining a service concept always starts the same – determining the experience that we want our customers to experience. Then we define the business processes for key client groups, figure out the required service functions based on the processes and analyse how they relate to the service promise and values. A brand is a comprehensive thing. It is not a product name, it is a way to conduct all operations,” says Pablo.

Pablo comes from Chile. “In my home country, the library provided me a way to travel the world. I could reach the entire world from one location. The world may be small. Library opens up the world, surpassing physical limitations,” Pablo explains. According to Pablo, library presents the endless potential of the human mind.

Pablo says that people in Finland underestimate the total experience that involves all human senses. “You should not forget emotional values. What kind of promise does the library give its clients, what is the style and tone that the library presents itself in?”  “In Finland, culture is always put on a pedestal. In the library project, I personally wanted to emphasise that culture is something I just do,” explains Pablo the starting points for the project.

Photo: Kuudes kerros.


Things are only as good as the clients perceive them

Next, the agency staff set foot in Helsinki libraries. They did mystery shopping and took the client’s role, spent time in the libraries and made observations how people behave in the libraries. “The entire process is based on information that the people provide us. Our goals were to design the customer experience and develop services. Design thinking adds human orientation, client empathy, client participation and visualisation into the mix,” emphasises Pablo.

“In the future, the library concept and especially its core – its primary reason for existence – should be viewed more and more from the clients’ perspective. Why are we a part of our clients’ lives?” ponders Pablo.

Photo: Piëtke Visser (8 ikkunaa tulevaisuuteen).


Virve Miettinen

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