The first full-time librarian position in the Seinäjoki Public Library was created in 1963 after decades of teachers working as librarians.
Architect Alvar Aalto designed the library building. It was completed in 1965. The building is 1600 m2 in area and the cubic capacity is 6700 m3.
It functioned as the main library in 1965–2012. In 1968 it became a provincial library and now it is a central library for 18 municipalities.
During 2012–2015 it was renovated to its original state.
Since 2015 it has been part of the main library together with the Apila building.
Arts, architecture, history, ethnology as well as regional collection are situated in the Aalto-library. There is also a small collection of Nordic juvenile and children’s literature and books on literary research (juvenile and children’s literature).
The two buildings are connected underground so it’s easy to move between them.
The floor plan of the library resembles an open book standing on a table seen from above. Everything can be supervised from the back of the book, that is, from the information desk.
The structure of the roof is a great idea: the levels of the ceiling follow the levels of the floor.
The construction work of the building is brilliant, for example the roof. During the casting the boards were watered so they could be bowed into two directions. The surface is grainy because the boards are untreated. The ceiling has not been sandpapered, only painted.
Alvar Aalto made a little mistake while designing the library. He thought the facade was towards south, not towards north as it is now. When he found out that it might be hot in the summer because of the big windows towards south he decided to put a latticework outside the windows. Now the light comes in indirectly and because of the broad white surfaces it’s relatively light in the library also on cloudy days.
Aalto made another mistake with the roof. It curves down right from the ceiling at the back wall of the adult lending department. You can’t open the windows in the middle and that’s why it’s difficult to wash them.
- The structure at the children’s department is lower and the furniture are smaller.
- Different kinds of group activities can be arranged at Paja room.
- There are microfilm and microfiche readers in the Koivusalo room. There are also two public access terminals. The room is named after Esko Koivusalo, a man from Seinäjoki, who is known for his work on behalf of Finnish standard language.
Aalto information point
There is world’s largest collection of design glass by Aino and Alvar Aalto.
Pommari is a space where you can play music and sing.
There are different kinds of instruments in the Pommari, for example, two electric guitars, one acoustic guitar, one bass, two keyboards, violins, ukuleles and a drum set. Also, there is a mixer, amplifiers and PA system.
- Studio is a multi-purpose space where for example movie nights can be arranged.
- If needed it can be furnished with tables and chairs.
- Aalto and Apila libraries are connected through Kässäri in the basement.
- In Kässäri you can find comic books, and magazines of youth and music departments. There is also a stack of magazines.