Helsinki has gained a new children’s mobile library. ‘Stoori’ was selected as the name through a public vote. As the enchanting exterior suggests, the new mobile library is a gateway to adventure. Riku Ounaslehto’s wonderful storybook illustrations and Pablo Riquelme’s imaginative interior design provide visitors with a whole kind of experience.
The new Stoori will replace the Stara children’s mobile library, which was commissioned in 2003. Stoori features a modifiable interior, which makes it all the more suitable for children’s events and workshops, for example. The solar panels installed on the roof of the mobile library built by Kiitokori supply power to the onboard electrical devices. Thanks to the disabled lift, Stoori can even be visited by those in a wheelchair. The streets of Helsinki are also patrolled by Skidi, another children’s mobile library, which is decked in Moomin characters and still has many years of service ahead of it.
On Saturday 7.11. it will be possible to see and visit the new Stoori mobile library at many locations throughout Helsinki. The mobile library will visit Ala-Malmin tori square first thing in the morning 9:30–11:00, and make its way to Stoa Square in Itäkeskus for a 12:00–13:30 stop. The impressive final destination for the day will be Senate Square 14:00–15:30. The fictional characters Maukka and Väykkä (Lotta Kuusisto and Paavo Kerosuo) will along for the ride through the entire day. Cardboard models of the Stoori car, which children can fold together themselves, will be available. The programme also includes a few brief speeches. Tommi Laitio, City of Helsinki’s Executive Director for Culture and Leisure, will be present for the stop on Senate Square.
“Stoori goes where children are and offers the delightful experience of discovering reading as a hobby. The vehicle’s modifiable interior and lighting are sure to spark children’s imaginations. Stoori can provide visitors with wonderfully surprising experiences,” says Chief Librarian Mari Luolamaa.
Stoori’s illustrations and interior stem from stories
Providing illustrations for Stoori was one of Riku Lounaslehto’s largest undertakings to date, although his art has been featured in large ad banners and he has even painted a few murals for the City of Rovaniemi. Ounaslehto finds it exhilarating to think that his illustrations are in constant motion through the city.
“The inspiration for the Stoori illustrations came from the diverse canon of children’s literature, which even adults can enjoy. Fantasy is a prevalent element in children’s books, which is why I wanted to include aspects of it on the sides of the car. The scenes presented in the illustrations contain hints of the seaside metropolitan area. The entrance side provides an introduction to the world of plants through a tablet. The other side depicts dreams of flying. Looking at the illustration, you notice that the yard animals intrigued by books have been stealthily joined by rare monkeys and even some fantastical creatures,” Ounaslehto describes.
Even Stoori’s interior is linked to a variety of stories and imaginary worlds. The aim for the interior design was to make children forget the real world for a moment when boarding Stoori.
“I hope that entering the mobile library takes children an amazing and imaginative journey. The colour selections of the interior and fixtures accentuate the various functionalities. The idea was to create an environment to spark a child’s imagination,” Stoori’s interior designer Pablo Riquelme says.
Stoori shows the way for libraries
On weekday mornings, the mobile libraries bring library services to places where children and their families are, i.e. day care centres, schools and play parks. The routes for weekday evenings serve residential areas that do not have local libraries of their own. Among other locations, the mobile libraries stop in Kalasatama, Kulosaari, Myllykylä, Kuninkaantammi and Katajanokka. The mobile libraries are also a familiar sight at a variety of events. An essential mission for a children’s mobile library is to offer a diverse and inspiring variety of stories, poems and information – raise awareness of the joys of reading. The staff helps customers find what they need and steers them towards new exciting experiences.
“The new children’s mobile library Stoori shows the way for libraries. Instead of sitting still and waiting, we actively go where life happens. We want to provide positive surprises even to those less familiar with library services,”says Director of Regional Library Services Saara Ihamäki.
During the coronavirus emergency, the mobile libraries will run their evening routes as normal. The mobile libraries can be entered by two customers or one family at a time. Customers are urged to be quick so that everyone has enough time access the library services. There may be small delays along the routes. Items borrowed from a mobile library can be returned to any Helmet area library and, conversely, Helmet library materials can be returned to a mobile library. You can also have your reservations delivered to a mobile library.
Photo: Maarit Hohteri