May 20, 2022

Happy Birthday! Helsinki’s Award-Winning Central Library Oodi Turns One Year Old

From the City of Helsinki:

Helsinki Central Library Oodi will turn one year old on 5 December. Opened on 5 December 2018, Oodi had a successful first year, as the estimates for the number of visits have already been far exceeded. Over the year, Oodi has also received numerous awards and a great deal of positive feedback from the public.


‘Our original goal was to receive 2.5 million visits per year, but this year we will reach 3 million visits. We have already had 2,877,560 visits during this calendar year. We are likely to go over the three million visits right around the anniversary date. A lot of new library cards have been issued at Oodi: 18,400 by the end of October. Over half a million volumes have been borrowed from Oodi this year. When including renewals, the number climbs to over a million,’ says Director of Oodi Anna-Maria Soininvaara.

The customers have received Oodi well, and the majority of customer feedback has been very positive. Customers have praised the beautiful architecture, versatile services, daily surprises and activity opportunities, among other things. More negative feedback has been given to the gender-neutral toilets, lack of CDs and occasional noise.

‘We will keep the gender-neutral toilets, because this principle realises our value of equality and makes the use of the toilets easier for children and parents, for example. Unfortunately, there occasionally is noise, because 10,000 daily visitors cause sounds. There has been some feedback regarding the shortcomings of the building, and warranty work is underway. The door at the southern end of Oodi immediately proved too cramped, and we will be receiving a new door that can take more traffic by the end of the year,’ Soininvaara says.


Awards and nominations

Oodi has received numerous awards and nominations during its first year of operation. The most important one of these was Oodi’s selection as the best new public library of the year at IFLA’s (The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) World Library and Information Congress in Athens in August. Oodi also played an important role in the selection of Helsinki as the 2019 Library Municipality of the Year in a competition organised by the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities.

The construction of Oodi has also received awards, as it won the Vuoden Teräsrakenne 2018 competition for the best steel structure of the year. In June, Oodi received a People’s Choice award at the international AZ Awards. It was the winner in the category of buildings over 1,000 square metres. In October, Oodi received the European Steel Design Award. The readers of Ilta-Sanomat chose Oodi as the most beautiful building in Finland in August. Oodi was nominated for the 2019 Finlandia Prize for Architecture. Oodi is also nominated for the 2019 Puupalkinto wood architecture award.


The art rugs designed for Oodi won the Hopeahuippu silver award in the Vuoden huiput 2019 competition. In October, Oodi was awarded the Suomen Paras Asiakasteko 2019 prize for the best deed for customers. Oodi won the prize by being an overall reformer of the library concept, an unhurried meeting place and an experiential environment that offers diverse services for various everyday activities. In August, Oodi was included in TIME Magazine’s list of World’s Greatest Places. In addition to these, Oodi was nominated in the Europe category of the British Guild of Travel Writers’ International Tourism Awards 2019.

Learn More, Read the Complete Release

See Also: Photos of Oodi


IFLA Selects Helsinki Central Library Oodi as the Best New Public Library in the World (August 27, 2019)


Helsinki Central Library Oodi was Recently Included on the Time Magazine “World’s Greatest Places” 2019 List

Architecture: Helsinki Central Library Competition Winner Announced (June 14, 2013)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.