A new Public Libraries Act came in to force in 2017 in Finland.
The new act draws guidelines for the development of library services and sets the duties of Finnish public libraries. According to the new act, public libraries are, among other things, tasked with providing information services, guidance and support in the acquisition and use of information and in versatile literacy skills (Public libraries act 2017). This means libraries must be able to provide guidance and support also in digital resources, services, and devices in order to insure access to services and digital contents, as well as to support lifelong learning and fight against the digital divide among the citizens.
As digitalization goes further in society, the need for guidance with digital services and devices increases significantly. In order to maintain high quality digital guidance services, staff needs to keep up to date with the development of technologies and methods of providing support to library users’ digital needs. Objectives As digitalisation accelerate and many public and private services are offered only online, the need for guidance with digital devices and services increases. Helping library users with digital services and devices is part of daily work libraries do to combat marginalisation and digital divide.
For libraries, the challenge is to develop and keep up the pedagogical competencies in guidance with digital need as well as making sure that the staff is up to date with digital development. The objectives of the projects were to update staff’s knowledge of digital development and methods of guidance, to see how digital and guidance services are provided in other European countries and what kind of partnerships and volunteer work are used in providing such services, to learn how the target audiences are reached in different countries, to learn how the staff’s competence development in digital guidance services, and to learn how the role of libraries as supporters of active citizenship is perceived in different countries.