Accepted Paper:

Significance of reading and libraries  


Silja Juopperi (University of Tampere)

Paper short abstract:

The libraries are described common living rooms, “alternative homes”, in Finland. In this presentation I explore the significance of the recreational reading experiences, the role of the public libraries and also discuss how their roles have changed during the last decades.

Paper long abstract:

The libraries have a significant role as the inspiration for reading and to borrow books. Furthermore, the libraries serve as peaceful places to read. To some readers the library is the first place they look for when moving to a new locality in order to make them feel at home.

In my dissertation I study and analyse a written recollection of reading experiences collected by the Finnish Literature Society. The oldest informant was born in 1921, the youngest in 2006. The research material offers an opportunity to view the role of libraries and their significance to readers in different times and phases of life. The collection contains depictions of poor childhood of the countryside, whereupon the library at school was described as a treasury.

This presentation investigates the relationship between libraries and home: having the opportunity to take books home from the library, to find consolation or way to escape everyday life by reading books and spend time in a cosy, quiet and inviting atmosphere of the library close to home. Main attention is focused on the changes of these experiences during the last decades.

Panel Home11
Books create a home: exploring books and reading practices as domestic symbols and rituals