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Anna Englund, a regular writer at the Kallio City Library. Photo: Kimmo Brandt

Varaamo: City spaces and equipment at your service

Have you heard about Varaamo yet? If not, it’s worth looking into. Varaamo is a space-and-equipment booking service that allows anybody to reserve various City of Helsinki spaces and equipment for their own use.

The available spaces include meeting rooms, music studios, 3D printers and sewing machines. A large part of the spaces and equipment can be used free of charge, and they can be booked for a few hours at a time.

Thriller Library’s best aspects are the location and relaxed atmosphere

One of the spaces available through Varaamo is the Thriller Library located in the basement of the Kallio City Library. It can be rented for meetings and other smaller events for less than 20 persons. The Thriller Library has a fridge and a kitchen to make coffee.

One of the regular users is Mirjami Vuori. She is delighted with the location and atmosphere of the Thriller Library. “The Thriller Library is a magnificent place for various work-related events,” Vuori says. “The location couldn’t be better, and it can be easily reached, say, from the Railway Station. Some of my events have even been attended by people from elsewhere in Finland.”

Mirjami Vuori has organized several events at the Thriller Library. Photo: Kimmo Brandt

Mirjami Vuori has organized several events at the Thriller Library. Photo: Kimmo Brandt

Encouraged by competitive prices

Vuori, whose daytime job is ICT manager, has held project-closing events at the Thriller Library. Apart from the official programme, the events have included more relaxed content such as laughter yoga and coffee. She found out about the opportunity to book the space for her own use after she had attended events organized by others in the space.

On the whole, Vuori is highly satisfied with the space booking service and intends to use it in the future as well. She explains, “Varaamo works very well, and the prices are by far the best available. Regular meeting rooms elsewhere cost much more per hour. I warmly recommend Varaamo.”

Space for creative ambitions

Anna Englund is also a regular user of the Kallio City Library working spaces. “These days I come here about three days a week,” she says. She is working on a script next to her regular job. She gives morning and evening sports classes and has time to write in the middle of the day.

Englund books either the Otso or Kontio meeting space for 2–3 hours at time on average. “I used to have a workroom, but I didn’t like it. If you have only a limited time to work, you accomplish more. When you rent a space for a certain time, it forces you to go. One accomplishes nothing working at home.”

The library’s location close to her home is an important factor for Englund, as are the good cafés in the neighborhood. She says, “The Internet connection is good, which of course is a major factor. Work spaces are easy to book through Varaamo, and they are usually well available especially if you book them a couple of days early. Sometimes you can book a space for the same day.”

Ideal environment for studies

Although Otso and Kontio can be booked separately, they are one large space that is divided into two sections with a screen. So there may be noise coming from the other section, but this doesn’t bother Englund. Once the situation was actually the other way round: the conversation behind the screen was so fascinating that she couldn’t help but listen. “A researcher was interviewed about her recent thesis, and the topic was really interesting. I started to Google the researcher’s name and works, and I ended up talking with her. Next week I will take one of her courses.”

Englund recommends the Kallio library spaces to everybody writing a thesis or some other work, as well as to every student. “These spaces are peaceful, and one can write very well here. Students can naturally use the University Library, but one has to go there really early to get a good spot. There’s no such problem here.”

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