Maija Berndtson worked in in different positions in Espoo and Helsinki City Libraries for many years, in Helsinki as library director 1987-2013. She has also been secretary general in the Finnish Library Association and had international mandates in EU-projects, in IFLA´s section "Library buildings and equipment", as a member in Bertelsmann Foundation´s Public Library International Network, and as a jury member in the architectural competitions in Turin, Stockholm and Oslo.
In writing articles and giving lectures her special interests have been the future of libraries, leadership, and the library architecture. Today she evaluates European public libraries from the customer point of view in the project Library Ranking Europe (LRE), in which she is a co-founder.
Lisa Engström, senior lecturer in library and information studies at Lund university. Lisa Engströms’ research concerns public libraries role as social infrastructures in urban environments, particularly for vulnerable groups. She is also involved in a research project investigating public libraries’ democratic mission in times of political turmoil.
In a shrinking public sphere, libraries have become increasingly important pillars of cities and communities. What role does architecture play in the place the library can take in the public realm? Most libraries live with an architecture designed and shaped in another era. How should you relate to what you have? Threat or opportunity? On his journey through Swedish libraries presented in the book Folkbiblioteket (2022), Dan Hallemar has encountered many of the challenges that libraries face - but also some of the opportunities that exist, both in the new and the existing.
Dan Hallemar is a journalist, editor and runs the podcast Staden.
Päivi Jokitalo, moderator of the conference, is an educator, facilitator/moderator and writer with over 30 years of experience in the field of libraries. She was part of the team that started to develop the national public library website in 1996 and has worked in regional state administration, the National Library of Finland and several public libraries around the country. Up until February 2022, an independent library professional providing and facilitating workshops and coaching library staff, she now teaches future library workers fulltime.
Stian F. Kristensen
Stian F. Kristensen is a former branch manager at Deichman library in Oslo, Norway. He's currently an advisor at Viken fylkesbibliotek. During his years with Deichman, he "meråpnet" four branches in Oslo, and he has also contributed to the meråpent-guide at bibliotekutvikling.no.
Riikka Rajala works as an organizational planner at Finnish Library Association.
She has studied the use of safer place principles in libraries and she also advises and helps libraries in drafting safer place principles. She has worked with library professionals in Finnish Library Association for over a decade.
Jonna Toukonen works as a Senior Officer of Library Affairs at Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland and has versatile experience in both public and academic library services.