Kai Ekholm

Kai Ekholm was the head librarian and director of the Finnish National Library until 2018. He has done research on freedom of speech and censorship for over 30 years. Kai was granted the Freedom of Speech award by the Finnish PEN in 2018, and the IFLA Medal in 2019. 

Kai Alhanen

Kai Alhanen is a researcher in political philosophy and leader of Dialogue Academy. He is the author of the books Dialogue in Democracy, John Dewey’s Ecology of Experience and Thought and Practices in Michel Foucault’s Philosophy.

Leena Aaltonen

Photo: Ville Vaarne

Leena Aaltonen has worked as a cultural adviser at the Ministry of Education and Culture since 2013. She is responsible for the state administration of public libraries. Leena Aaltonen served as an expert secretary in the Working Group on the Reform of the Act on Public Libraries 2015-2016. 

Håkon Larsen

Håkon Larsen is a sociologist and Professor of Library and Information Science at Oslo Metropolitan University. His main areas of specialization are cultural sociology, cultural policy studies and public libraries.

Antti Virrankoski

Antti Virrankoski is the Director for the Parliament Library since 2018. He has an earlier career in Helsinki University Library.  He holds a Master’s degree in Geography (University of Helsinki 2004) and he has completed Information studies in the University of Tampere.

Virpi Launonen Kuva Virpi Launosesta.

Virpi Launonen works as a Senior Officer of Library Affairs at Regional State Administrative Agency of Eastern Finland. Launonen holds PhD in history from the University of Eastern Finland and has versatile experience in library management. She believes libraries are one of the reasons why Finland is the happiest country in the world. Virpi is interested in service management and developing library services in co-operation with customers.

Bagir Kwiek

Bagir Kwiek is Sweden’s ambassador for reading for the 2019–2021 period. This time, the ambassador’s primary focus will be the Roma minority. Amongst other things, he has participated in the Den ohörda historien: Romer och resandeberättelser  (The Untold History: Roma and Travellers’ Stories) anthology and written a storybook together with Monica Hirsch called Det var en gång det som inte var (Once Upon a Time, Something That Was Not).

Anu Ojaranta

Anu Ojaranta works as a Senior Officer of Library Affairs at Regional State Administrative Agency of Southwestern Finland.  She holds a PhD in Information Studies from Åbo Akademi University. She has studied the conceptions of information literacy in the Finnish Core Curricula and in comprehensive schools in Finland. In addition to information literacy, Anu has studied, lectured and published in themes of false media and  infodemiology.

Christian Lauersen

Christian Lauersen is based in Copenhagen and is Director of Libraries and Citizen Services in Roskilde Municipality, Denmark. He believes that libraries are crucial institutions for all communities, helping to create an open, more diverse, inclusive and equal world. One of Christian’s main professional interests is how shared public places like libraries foster stronger communities. He is proud founder of Library Planet – a crowdsourced travel guide to libraries of the world – and the world’s very first library bossa nova song.


Åsa Wikforss

Åsa Wikforss is a Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at Stockholm University.  Since 2019 she leads a large interdisciplinary research program om knowledge resistance. She is the author of Alternative facts (Alternativa fakta: om kunskapen och dess fiender, 2017) and most recently of Why Democracy (Därför demokrati: om kunskapen och folkstyret, 2021), where she discusses the essential role that knowledge plays in democracy. She is a member of the Royal Academy of Science and the Swedish Academy. 


Juha Itkonen

Photo: Laura Malmivaara

Juha Itkonen is a renowned Finnish author. He has published 8 novels and several other books. Itkonen has also been active in literacy work in Finland. His books have been translated into Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and German.