To whom should Oodi be dedicated?

The dedication is a public work of art created for Oodi by visual artist Otto Karvonen. The piece will be placed in the library’s public staircase, which spirals around the entire building from the street level all the way up to the top floor.

The art work will function as a dedication to the library’s users. It will be composed of words describing different population groups that have been painted on the staircase handrails. These words are being collected through a public campaign. Anyone is welcome to make their suggestions on who the library should be dedicated to. You can propose any past, current or future group of people that can be clearly defined.

The collection campaign is taking place on the library’s website and social media, among other places. You can suggest new dedications and follow the campaign’s progress on the website. The selection process for the dedications will be open to the public, and discussions revolving around the process – including comments that question or criticise – are welcome. The decision regarding which words will be included in the work will ultimately be made by a jury put together by the artist. Members of the jury include Kaari Mattila, Secretary-General of the Finnish League for Human Rights, and Juha Hurme, an author.

Take part in creating this piece of art

Who should the Central Library be dedicated to? Propose a population group on the campaign’s website. Write a short or a long explanation or give background information for your suggestion. All suggestions will be processed anonymously.

Only group descriptions that are deemed generally recognisable will be accepted. Incorrect or insulting names for groups of people, or names that are based on opinion or are unacceptable in any other way, will not be accepted. For example, ‘for children’ is fine, but ‘for the stupid’ is not. However, some borderline and even vague expressions, such as ‘for the sick’ or ‘for the healthy’ may be accepted if the arguments behind the proposals are adequate.


The library belongs to everyone

“Finland is a democracy where the power belongs to the people, i.e. all of us. We appoint our Parliament through elections to make decisions for our country. The Parliament Building is the most important symbol of our independence and democracy. The Parliament Building is public property and is open to visitors.”

The text above is a quote from a brochure published by Finnish Parliament. The people, i.e. ‘all of us’, refers to Finnish citizens who are 18 years or older. According to its dictionary definition, a citizen means a person who is entitled to civil rights and has certain civic duties within a state, based on their origin or the status they have obtained. People, on the other hand, refers to the population of a state or a region, or even more loosely to a large, undefined number of individuals.

When referring to people, Parliament is, therefore, referring to the citizens. The state must guarantee the civil rights of its citizens, but also require that they fulfil their own obligations and act according to a set of norms. Human rights are a completely separate topic – the state cannot and does not even attempt to guarantee human rights for all the country’s residents.

The Parliament Building is dedicated to the Finnish people, whilst the Central Library standing opposite will be providing its services to a much wider audience. The library belongs to us all, regardless of nationality, origin, age, wealth or any other factor. The library is constantly working to actively reach different population groups and facilitate interaction between cultures. The library aims for basic human rights, such as the right to access information and freedom of speech, to apply equally to everyone. Unlike the state, the library does not differentiate between citizens and non-citizens, us and them.



What is Oodi?

Oodi is Helsinki’s Central Library and a living meeting place in the city centre.

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