“I enjoy my work. No two days are alike, and I constantly get to learn new things and develop my expertise. Library work is often considered to involve plenty of routine, and while that too is true, our work also involves plenty of customer service. Like in any specialist role, one gets to use one’s head here,” says Senior Information Specialist Tuulevi Ovaska, describing the scope of work of a scientific library.
The work community of the University of Eastern Finland Library comprises more than sixty specialists who are at the service of students, researchers, teachers and other customer groups on the Joensuu and Kuopio campuses. The tasks and clientele of the scientific library are very diverse: in 2022, the University of Eastern Finland Library had nearly 332,000 visitors.
“Our work community is collegial, and one can always ask co-workers for advice. We are home to a great deal of experience, but we’ve also gained some new, enthusiastic blood. A work community needs a wide range of people – those who do the more traditional library work that requires precision, and those who come up with creative solutions. At best, people complement each other,” Ovaska notes.
Coordinating and developing the library’s communications are at the core of Ovaska’s job description, together with information retrieval guidance and training.
“The library communicates on several channels and on three levels: internal, external and a combination of these. We have approximately 20 different channels, and we create much our content independently in both Finnish and English. That’s a lot of work. At the University of Eastern Finland Library, everyone takes responsibility for communication, each according to their role of course,” Ovaska explains.
In multi-location work, tasks are carried out both remotely and on site. This enables the management of one’s own work, which works well for Ovaska.
“Our work community is one of a single library working on two campuses. We’ve operated online right from the start and our services cross the campus boundaries.”
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Ovaska’s path to her current role has involved studies and work in public libraries. She completed a Master’s degree in comparative literature at the University of Tampere in 1990. Her degree included intermediate studies in library science and information science, making it possible for her to work in public libraries for more than ten years.
Over the years, Ovaska became increasingly interested in working in a scientific library. In the late 1990s, she spent one year as a librarian in the information service of the Finnish University Network for Tourism Studies, and in 2002, she participated, in the role of an information specialist, in the Netinformation Project of the North Savo Hospital District. The following year, she started as a librarian in the Medical Library of Kuopio University Hospital (KUH), which constituted part of the University of Kuopio Library. In 2005, Ovaska became an ad interim information specialist at KUH Medical Library, and later an information specialist and the deputy director of the university’s library.