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corner corner BOOKCROSSING GONE WILD IN FINLAND

BusyBC-Summer of 2008

by Ametisti
November 17, 2008

The Finnish BookCrossing community has been extraordinarily active this summer. In addition to the annual summer meet-up, the activists around the country have gained visibility and media coverage in all possible forums. The Finnish community is growing steadily, currently holding more than 5400 registered members. That is one thousandth of the whole Finnish population!

FIRST ACADEMIC STUDY ABOUT BOOKCROSSING PUBLISHED IN MAY
We all knew that Kemppu had been working hard on her master’s thesis in cultural anthropology during the long winter months. Her work finally saw daylight in May and she graduated from Oulu University. Congrats Kemppu! She wrote her thesis in Finnish and a free translation of the title is "A network of bookworms- Finnish BookCrossers as a community in 2003- 2007". Her study proved academically that the best thing about BookCrossing is the wonderful community of people who love to read and talk about books. With the thesis Kemppu also started a new thread of studies which concern internet communities. Awesome!

In May The Day of the Book and the Rose was celebrated through BookCrossing in many locations around Finland, and CatharinaL from Tampere wrote a feature article about BookCrossing in Aamulehti, one of the biggest newspapers in Finland. Tampere BookCrossers were also interviewed on three radio stations after their beautiful display of customized books at Sampola library. For more information and links to pictures of the books with new covers, see CatharinaL’s article.

NATIONAL MEET-UP IN JUNE
The summer kick-off, our third annual national meet-up, took place this year in Helsinki on June 7-8. The venue was Hostel Suomenlinna at Suomenlinna sea fortress. The fortress was built in the 18th century and is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites as well as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Finland (For more information, clickhere).

Roughly 60 active BookCrossers gathered for a sun-and-fun filled weekend on the Suomenlinna islands. The participants enjoyed book-buffets, book string and book customizing workshops, or went on an ex-tempore geocaching trip – just to mention a few of the organized and improvised activities. The audience was entertained by two literary guests in candid interview sessions arranged by Halvast: Mr Juha Itkonen, a renouned young author, and Mr Hannu Harju, publishing manager of Finnish literature at Tammi Publishing House. The interviews gave us understanding on how books come about and what may be the decisions before a book gets to be translated into Finnish. After the lively discussion our guests knew a whole lot more about BookCrossing and BookCrossers than they did before!

During a guided tour in Suomenlinna a mass book release took place. The weather was beautiful, the lilacs were wonderfully in bloom, and we saw many tourists grabbing the released books with interest. Now, how many of us can say that you found a book caught in a spider web?

THANK YOUS
I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who worked so hard for many months to pull the Helsinki event together! A special thanks to all BookCrossers around the world who sent their self-made BookCrossing labels for our label display. Ideas for new Finnish labels were received with enthusiasm!

MASS RELEASES, BOOK COVER CUSTOMIZING, AND CHALLENGES IN JULY
During the summer culture events around Finland books were mass released. For example, Jaatiina set up a BookCrossing shelf at art exhibition Haihatus in Joutsa (see http://www.haihatus.net/inenglish.php ). Ruovesi library had a BookCrossing table with 60 books and information set up for the month. Ametisti gathered 165 books from 12 BookCrossing to be donated to an AIDS orphanage in Zimbabwe (see www.zimaidsorphans.com. ). BookCrossers in the Joensuu area (Niora, Liinuskainen, polenka, and others) prepared for an autumn mass release by customizing a big pile of books (see here for pictures. ). Helsinki BookCrossers prepared for a third annual Tree-release combined with a picnic.

Many Finnish BookCrossers have arranged fun challenges to keep us busy during the summer month. For example, Alejanda challenged us to release books to small towns: small meaning both small in size measured by inhabitants or small-minded thus in need of fresh ideas in the form of books. BookCrossing can provide an eye-opening experience in many ways!

MASSIVE MEDIA COVERAGE IN AUGUST
Lottuli was interviewed about the 08080808-theme release on the Finnish National radio (listen here) and Helsinki Tree-release event was broadcast on the Finnish National television (see bookwormess in internet clip here and oofiri in whole news broadcast here.) Thank you Lasikello for raising the media’s interest!

In addition to radio and television interviews, several newspapers have asked BookCrossers for interviews. For example, Elfbiter was interviewed for a local paper in Tampere.

WHAT NEXT?
Our funky BookCrossing community keeps on inventing creative and fun ways to release books to find new readers. BookCrossers in Finland are a loving and supportive bunch of people who welcome everyone to bookcross in a way that suits them – and that is just the best part of all this. The people. What a special BC-family we have!

The awareness of BookCrossing is rising fast and we are hoping to get many more activists in new locations around Finland. In order to make the start easier for the newbies, we listed the existing OBCZs as well as all known locations where you can recycle your books. The first version of the list has been published here for y’all to enjoy.

VISIT US!
At the following locations you can virtually meet us in the BookCrossing Finnish Forum or at bookcrossingfinland.net. Most of the discussion is in Finnish, but we do speak other languages so feel free to drop a line either in English or in your mother tongue. We are also looking forward to meeting again big time at our next national meet-up in 2009: it will be held in Turku on June 6-7. Maybe we’ll get to meet some of our international friends there and then? Surprise us!

Photos provided by Annelis, seethroughfaith, Ametisti




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