Mobile libraries in Oulu

Mobile libraries were first discussed in Oulu already in 1951. However, concrete steps were taken only in 1966 when library director Sirkka Sassali was asked to plan the bookmobile routes. The mobile library service started in 1975 when 200,000 Finnish marks were collected to acquire the first mobile library.


Matleena, the first mobile library

Mobile library "Matleena" was named after the driver-librarian Matti Lapola and librarian Leena Vähämetsä. The mobile library immediately became very popular. During the first week some 7500 were borrowed from the bookmobile, more than from the adult's department of the main library during the same period. In 1975, a total 176,345 loans were made in Matleena. It is still a record number of the mobile library service in Oulu.


The second mobile library

The second mobile library of Oulu City Library was founded towards the end of 1989, beginning its rounds the following year. The mobile library was in use 11 months out of the year and had 47 stops. Ten of the stops were located at elementary schools, three at nursing homes. The other stops were in residential suburbs and in sparsely populated areas. Stops were also made at the refugee reception centre in Heikinharju, and in the provincial prison. The number of loans in 1990 was 98,694.


Small mobile library

The small mobile library was introduced in 2001. Day-care centres were its biggest customer groups. Other customers included senior citizens and other special-needs groups for which the bookmobile offered library services in nursing homes and serviced apartments. The small mobile library also delivered materials straight to the customers’ homes. In 2001, the small bookmobile had 84 stops, 76 of which were day-care centres and 8 were nursing homes and serviced apartment buildings. In 2011 the number of loans by the small and big bookmobile was a total of 159,983.



Teuvo, the third big mobile library

In 2005, the third large mobile library was founded. The registration: OUL-400 was made in honour of Oulu’s 400th anniversary. It had space for around 3,500 books in addition to magazines, audiobooks and children’s music. The chassis was decorated with the names and quotes of 18 Oulu-based writers including Paavo Rintala. 

In 2011, the large mobile library had 69 stops with 18 located at schools and the remaining in residential suburbs and in sparsely populated areas. In 2011, the number of loans by the small and large mobile library totaled 159,983. 





Bookmobile Onneli

Onneli is the fifth mobile library for the Oulu City Library and it replaced the old small bookmobile. The decorations are by illustrator and graphic designer Lea Virolainen. Onneli's collection is around 2,000 books.

The bookmobile Onneli serves children in daycare, senior citizens and special needs groups. The bookmobile also makes rounds at small elementary schools. Customers in wheelchairs can access the bookmobile with a car lift for the disabled. The Onneli has a total of 110 scheduled stops.

Onneli offers children the opportunity to explore the library before they start school. It is an experience to select books together with the day-care staff. We also organize story times and teach the use of the library to pre-school and school children by request. 

Older people living in nursing homes can visit the bookmobile independently. We can also put together theme packages for nursing homes.