JOY OF READING – Reaching Children in New Ways

The Oulu City Library works together with maternity and child health clinics and early childhood education to reach every child and family in Oulu. We support children’s literacy and encourage families to read. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to create new ways to reach children and families.

The Finnish maternity and child health clinics take care of expecting parents by giving guidance and supporting the families and follow the health of the children until they enter school. More information about the Finnish maternity and child health clinics.

Reaching every child in Oulu

Every family with a new-born child receives a poster with information about the library. The poster has an illustration of a smiling bunny, meant to engage and capture the attention of the baby. The other side of the poster has information about the library services. The smiling bunny poster is available in Finnish, Swedish and English. The family receives the poster when visiting their maternity and child health clinic.

Bringing the library to the maternity and child health clinics

We have brought children’s books from the library collection to the waiting rooms of the maternity and child health clinics so that the parents and children can browse new books – especially the families who do not use the library. Parents can also pick up our brochure which has information about the importance of reading as well as book tips about different family life topics. 

Online storytime sessions

We organize online storytime sessions and puppet theatre via YouTube and Microsoft Teams for children in daycare both in daycare centres and with childminders in family daycare. They have been very popular with almost 1,000 children watching each show. The library wanted to ensure we would be able to reach children at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic during lockdowns and restrictions which prevented normal storytime and booktalk visits from being held. Streamed online shows for children in daycare and schools have been organized ever since.

Welcoming families to the library

Video greetings by the library introduce our services to families and welcome them to the library. The videos are shown to the parents at daycare parent nights.

Reaching new and expecting parents

We attend events directed at expecting and first-time parents. We inform the parents about the importance of reading, present children’s books and hold storytime and rhymetime sessions for the children.

We participate in events by several organizations such as family sport events organized by the city. Our goal is to make the library more familiar also to the families who do not use the library. The bookmobile Onneli spreads the joy of reading at children’s events around the city. This way, we can also reach families who do not attend events organized by the library.

Reading together with pre-schoolers

The Mad about Reading diploma is for 6-year-old pre-schoolers in daycare. The diploma encourages both families and daycare centres to read together with children. Kids in each daycare group can complete the diploma by listening to the books read by adults. Schoolchildren will complete reading diplomas by reading the books themselves – see Oulu International School Reading Diploma for example.

Statistics (2021)

  • Population of Oulu: 209,551
  • 14,873 children aged 0–6
  • Over 2,100 babies born each year
  • 146 daycare centres and 100 childminders
  • 10 maternity and child health clinics


Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to know more about the subject of our poster!

Mervi Vaara
Head of Reading Services
Oulu City Library

Tiina Saarela
Oulu City Library


Poster presented at the 87th IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) in Dublin 2022

Illustrations for Lukumetka/Joy of Reading & Lukuhöperö/Mad about Reading diploma by Mira Mallius

Open the poster (PDF)

Example of the poster given out at maternity and child health clinics
(not for printing or to be used outside of the City of Oulu)