Leeds Central Library
L-R Bronwyn Brady, senior library manager, Rose Gibson, Leeds Central Library manager, Virva Viljananen from the Finnish Institute and Rhian Isaac, central collections manager with the Finnish books.
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Nordic tales give Leeds library’s collection a Finnishing touch

Visitors to Leeds Central Library can explore an epic tale of Nordic myth and magic after collection of classic and contemporary Finnish books arrived in the city today.

Part of the new 10×10 Stories from Finland campaign by the Finnish Institute in London, the selection of literature was donated to celebrate a century of Finnish independence as well as highlighting the importance of literacy, literature and libraries.

Among the donation is a copy of the country’s beloved book Kalevala, a collection of epic poetry and one of Finland’s most culturally significant texts.

Compiled in the 19th Century, Kalevala explores the traditional Finnish creation myth, including the fantastic story of the Earth being created from the shards of a duck egg as well as a series of enthralling quests and adventures.

The renowned book was one of ten donated to Leeds today as part of the institute’s campaign along with modern masterpieces and beloved classics.

The campaign has collected 100 books written by Finnish authors, translated into English in cooperation with British publishing houses, with ten different libraries around the UK receiving ten books each during 2017.

Finland is among the world’s top countries for literacy, with Finns also one of the most active countries of library users in the world.

Johanna Sumuvuori, head of society and culture at the Finnish Institute in London said:

“We wanted to celebrate Finland’s centenary in the UK by bringing ten wonderful Finnish stories to British readers and library users.

“We believe these stories offer great literary travels across Finnish culture. Literacy is a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong learning.”

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities added:

“These books are a wonderful addition to the collection at Leeds Central Library and a fascinating window into the heritage and history of another country.

“Literature is always a great introduction to exploring different cultures and their traditions and this campaign also helps us to highlight the importance of reading and literacy.”

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