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Changes brought on by the Covid crisis

Changes brought on by the Covid crisis

One of the most important activity of the Finnish Reading Center (FRC) has nearly been driven down this spring. The author visits, organized by us at the Finnish Reading Center, have practically been cancelled after the Covid crisis hit Finland in the beginning of March. Altogether 400 author visits have been cancelled and new ones aren´t being ordered, even for the autumn, due to the uncertain situation.

We had to invent compensating activity at a fast pace. Fortunately, we had already beforehand tested virtual author visits, however, only when all of the attending audience is situated in the same location. The concept had to be quickly modified so that every single attendant could participate remotely from his or her own location. We applied and got a grant from a private foundation, to do a pilot on the new version. By the end of April, we were able to organize revised virtual author visits, and up to this date we have already organized 50 of them. All of the clients (mostly schools) are satisfied with the service, and FRC has got a lot of positive feedback and publicity on the project.

At the end of April, the FRC conducted our annual nationwide reading campaign The Reading Week. The theme of the week varies every year and this time it was, as if anticipating the current situation, Creativity in the air. Creativity was highly needed when transforming all of our activities into virtual versions. However, our stakeholders and audience participated actively, and eventually the campaign turned to be successful.

This exceptional time also gives us an opportunity to remind families about the importance of reading, and how reading together can help a child cope and adapt to the new situation. This point of view has also interested the media, and FRC has been on the news telling about our activities during these last weeks.

Relating to the Book Gift Programme, we carried out a survey to find out about the changes in the families reading habits in Finland during the crisis. We are excited to find out the results, which will come out shortly. We have already got information, that people have been reading more during the crisis.

In addition, authors have been active to perform their own content, for example stories and poetry videos, on the net.

  • Ilmi Villacis, Director