Co-operation with our Nordic friends began at the Arctic Circle

According to our new strategy, FUN started to put an effort to internationalization. FUN also made history with organising the first joint meeting ever with Nordic colleagues. It is natural, of course, to begin with the neighbours. Besides, the Nordic university systems are quite similar to each other. We also share the same culture and values. Because there is a Finnish chairperson in NUAS Library Group, Pia Södergård, the contact with our Nordic friends was easily established. Pia Södergård actually founded the NUAS Library Group and has been the chairperson from the beginning.

NUAS is a network for Nordic university employees, especially for us who don´t do research or teaching. NUAS means “Nordic Association of University Administrators”. NUAS´ activities are meant for NUAS member universities. NUAS has 13 working groups and one of them is the Library Group. It has nine members from NUAS member universities: two from each country, except for Iceland, which has one member. I have been the second Finnish member from the beginning.

NUAS Library Group had already chosen Rovaniemi and University of Lapland as the place for the autumn meeting, and that is why also the joint meeting was organised in Rovaniemi, at the University of Lapland´s Arctic Center.

Our small working group succeeded in getting it all together: the joint meeting, the separate meetings for FUN and NUAS, something nice to do while the other group had its meeting and a dinner together.  While we were at the Arctic Circle in Lapland, we naturally provided everyone the possibility to enjoy the nature of Lapland on an excursion.

Arctic circle hiking area trails offered a beautiful sunset.
Photo: Pia-Maria Niemitalo

The impact of the library, which everybody considered as an important theme, was chosen as a theme for the joint meeting. The best expert in Finland, Jarmo Saarti, gave us an introduction to the subject; libraries are going towards a multimodal evaluation. Afterwards we worked in small groups (Learning Café) with several underthemes, and at the end of the meeting we watched an online presentation from Rome, where Hanna-Mari Puuska, Janne Pölönen and Vidar Roeggen told us about a Nordic initiative for a new Nordic Publication Information Infrastructure.

What did we gain from the joint meeting? In my opinion, it is very important to learn to know each other, especially if we will continue the co-operation. It is also essential that we all learn more about each others´conditions and circumstances. And it is always a good idea to learn about your colleagues´ views and opinions on common subjects.

FUN and NUAS at the Arctic Centre.
Photo: Pia-Maria Niemitalo

Besides, we also noticed that we together could produce many ideas about the impact of libraries, which we can continue working with. There are similar developing perspectives in all countries, but each country also has its own characteristics. We also noticed that there are many other meaningful subjects that we can work together with in the future. NUAS Library Group has already helped us with this. Last summer the group made a survey for all Nordic leaders of academic libraries. On that basis, the group has started planning workshops on current topics for Nordic leaders of academic libraries.

You have to prioritize – nobody can use all her working time for Nordic co-operation – unfortunately.

Susanna Parikka

Library Director, Lapland University Library

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