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Residents of Helsinki! Help us make budget decisions


For the very first time, the library is offering Helsinki residents the opportunity to collectively decide how €100,000 of development money will be spent. The money is part of the Central Library’s budget and will be used on pilot schemes for developing the library of the future. Come and help us decide which of the schemes will be launched in libraries next year! You can influence the planning of the library of the future today. Let’s make a new library together, piece by piece.

Participate in workshops and online:

Discuss, comment and ask questions online in week 42 at

A new way to work together to change the library – and maybe the residents too

The library wants to have the city residents participate in planning services, and participatory budgeting is one ways to carry out development work together. The aim is to have both the library and the city residents ask, listen, experiment and work together in order to learn about each other’s hopes and wishes. “The library offers city residents a possibility to influence their everyday life, and to influence the library as one of the places where they spend their time. People are the best experts on their own lives and they have a growing need to make a difference,” says Library Director Maija Berndtson.

Pilot scheme based on residents’ ideas

The library has planned two pilot schemes based on the city residents’ dreams and ideas to support workshops. The central library has encouraged Helsinki residents to participate in brainstorming and planning the library of the future in various ways through the year. Things that have emerged from the ideas that were received from city residents include services for families, revealing literature and its contents in appealing ways, different concepts of peer learning, space for civic activities, events and experiences, workspace for mobile information professionals and laptop citizens and the need for a new kind of space for slowing down and relaxing.

People can comment on and discuss the pilot schemes in week 42 at City residents can learn more about the schemes in the workshops, where they can choose and prioritise which ones they prefer or develop them further. If none of them sounds appealing, city residents can suggest a new idea of their own. The pilot projects are meant to help in finding out what the future library landscape will look like.

The City trying out participatory budgeting for the first time

In spring 2012, the City of Helsinki will draw up a report on the possibilities of implementing participatory budgeting. It is based on the idea of participatory democracy, where regular people decide how the public funds of a municipality or state will be used. The city library’s project will model and experiment with participatory budgeting from the planning to the implementation phase. The Central Library project is one of the first projects in Finland to take advantage of participatory budgeting.

 There is advance enrolment for the workshops, and each workshop will accept the first 25 to enrol. The workshops will be held in Finnish.

Our project partners are Avanto Insight and Emobit. The project is funded by Sitra.

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