The Finnish Reading Center’s Year 2023: Influencing & Insight
The Finnish Reading Center sees literacy as a matter for society as a whole
The Finnish Reading Center is at the forefront of literacy work and an enabler of reading on a wide range. We monitor changes in reading culture, influence policy-making, support authors and open doors to reading for everyone. We act as an innovative, versatile and international expert and influencer to make the reading lifestyle possible for all.
Our ways of reading are changing – once again. In more than 50 years of operation, the Finnish Reading Center has identified many changes in reading – reading has been in crisis in almost every decade! But the changes affecting reading in the 2020s are more tangible than ever before.
Different formats of reading, people’s leisure habits, the fragmentation of the media environment and the inevitable impact of new technologies on our use of media are also reflected in our reading habits. At the same time, the structures of our society require us to become increasingly fluent in reading and to acquire a wider range of basic skills.
Critical literacy, smart digital skills and the means to communicate are necessary for coping in everyday life. Literacy is fundamental for a democratically functioning society and the best defence against fake news, hate speech and the rise of extremism. In the coming years, literacy will face particular challenges as artificial intelligence challenges the reliability and logic of textual environments.
More advanced and deeper literacy skills are required from citizens. Literacy needs to be supported by policy decisions and social structures. Literacy does not only develop at school. Everyone must have equal rights to read and learn to read.
The Finnish Reading Center’s Vision 2030: Reading Never Stops
Every child has the right to reading time together with an adult. Regular early reading strengthens interaction and supports language development. Age-appropriate, varied literature provides provides children with a safe world of imagination and lays the foundations for growing up as readers.
Every young person has access to literary experiences. Adequate literacy opens up open up future opportunities and connect with others.Young people have the ability to express their ideas, to becometo be heard and to be part of a larger community.
Every adult recognises the importance of literacy and reading for themselves and others. Reading enriches lives throughout the human life cycle. Good literacy is a prerequisite for coping in everyday life, independent functioning and lifelong learning.
Finns are interested in literature and authors
The number of author visits booked from the Finnish Reading Center increased again the past year. In 2023, our Author Visit Service received almost 2,000 orders. There is a clear public interest in domestic authors and literature. Unfortunately, this appreciation is hardly reflected in Finland’s state budget.
Budget cuts to literacy and literature cause concern
Finland’s new state budget and government programme include a number of cuts affecting literacy and literature, such as the increase in VAT on books to 24%, the abolition of subsidies for the purchase of low-circulation quality literature by libraries, and a new law on electronic library loans, which will reduce authors’ income.
The recent debate on Finnish social and traditional media proves that Finns care about literature and want to defend their authors in a changing world.
The Finnish Reading Center finds adequate resources to literacy work, the implementation of the National Literacy Programme (Lukutaito-ohjelma) and the maintenance of a vibrant domestic literature essential.
Book Bag to Every Baby Born programme continues!
In the Book Bag to Every Baby Born programme, every newborn child is given a book bag as a gift during a check-up at the maternity and child health clinic. The programme, which was included in the government programme in the summer, has been included in the state budget. Read more about the programme: A Book Gift Programme Has Been Included in the Finnish Government Programme.