Congress theme: “Libraries Now! - Inspiring, Surprising, Empowering”

Cycling for Libraries mini tour into the deep essence of sauna

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cycling for libraries

This past Monday evening, the front yard of the Conference Center became a gathering ground for close to 40 librarians with bicycles. The group consisted of Cycling for Libraries 2012 organizers and participants as well as a number of courageous WLIC 2012 attendees. After 10 kilometers of cycling through some of the most peaceful scenery in Helsinki they headed towards a piquant feature of the Finnish capital – allotments, like small summer cottages with gardens not more than 10 kilometers from the city center.

cycling for librariesAt the allotments, Lassi Lager, an Information Systems Specialist from the National Library of Finland, had prepared a traditional Finnish sauna heated up to around 120 °C. The librarians first hopped from their bikes to sit in the sauna and then escaped from the heat for a very cold swim in a nearby river. Quite a few of the participants seemed genuinely excited about the opportunity to experience both the cold swim and the intimacy of a sauna, together with colleagues from different countries.

As the evening grew darker and mist started rising from the river, the bathers enjoyed engaging in discussions both professional and personal. “This was something I could have never experienced somewhere else”, said Jennifer Groff, a Librarian from Manheim Public Library, United States.

“This mini tour was Cycling for Libraries in a nutshell, but only the easiest part of it”, told Jukka Pennanen, one of the two main organizers of the movement, as we headed back to the city. Inquiries about a cycling tour next year were heard a few times, but there are no plans for such a trip as of yet. However, this was a night to show that the cycling librarians are already enthusiastic about such an encore.