The Yearbooks of the Estonian Librarians Association 2016


Dear reader,
You are holding the 2016 Yearbook of the Estonian Librarians Association (ELA).

The year 2016 will go down in the history of ELA as the year of active cooperation and communication. Through the meetings with the Estonian members of the European Parliament and the forwarded appeals, the good level of the Estonian libraries was acknowledged. Participation in the discussions at the Baltic and Nordic Library Associations conference in Lithuania and at the IFLA congress in the United States enabled the representatives of our association to compare the activities of the associations in different countries.

The vision document “The 21st Century Library” was one of the community projects that was further developed. Completed at the end of 2015 as a result of great cooperation project led by ELA, this cross-library type document analyses the current state of Estonian librarianship and the future trends influencing the area while pointing out the main strategic directions of development. In 2016, this document formed the basis for describing the service provided in public libraries in a more detailed and multi-layered way. An overview of the completion process of the document essential to Estonian librarianship will be given by Katre Riisalu, the president of the ELA.

In April 2016, twenty years passed since the formation of one of the important joint projects of Estonian libraries, Consortium of Estonian Libraries Network (ELNET). The anniversary was celebrated with the conference “ELNET 20” which showcased visionaries in the field from Estonia and abroad. A comprehensive overview about the activities of ELNET during the 20 years can be read from the article by Mare-Nelli Ilus and Riin Olonen.

The future of the librarianship depends on the library employees’ abilities to satisfy the needs of the readers as well as how successful they are in mediating information and developing the services. In 2016, 15 libraries from the Association of European Research Libraries LIBER, including University of Tartu Library and Tallinn University of Technology Library, conducted an international reader survey. The survey was based on LibQUAL+ methodology and studied user satisfaction with the library staff, the availability of information, and the physical space of the library. Kristina Pai and Aiki Tibar provide further information about the survey, its results, and possible comparisons with other European scientific libraries in their article.

Estonian public universities have participated in different Erasmus Mundus global learning and international mobility programmes for years. Although library employees have also taken part in these programmes, they could participate in the scholarship programmes more frequently. Kate-Riin Kont shares her experience of how different projects can be used.

The Yearbook traditionally introduces the best librarians and library deeds of the year, and covers the activities of the ELA, ELNET Consortium and the Estonian Music Library Association.

We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the compilation of the Yearbook and provided their comprehensive articles.


Editorial board


The library of the 21st century – future vision of Estonian librarians

Katre Riisalu, President of the Estonian Librarians Association

The future of libraries has been considered repeatedly. In Estonia, the issue of the network of public libraries emerged on the agenda already in 1919. Even then it was realised that performers of the public libraries network were the state and municipalities together with local communities. In newly independent Estonia, it was not long before the compilation of development plans started. In 1990, under the guidance of the ELA the development conception of Estonian libraries was completed; in 1998, the general principles of Estonian cultural policy were approved; and during the time in office of Signe Kivi, the Minister of Culture, the Development Plan for Libraries for 2000-2002 was put together. In the year 2000, the Ministry of Culture ordered the development plan for Estonian research libraries from the PW Partners. At present the library landscape is influenced by the General Principles of the Cultural Policy up to 2020 specifying the most important development priorities for libraries.

In 2015, the ELA started to draw up a vision document The Library of the 21st Century with the aim of analysing the current situation of Estonian librarianship and future trends affecting this area, to agree on the main strategic developments. During the process it was important to jointly raise awareness of and formulate the challenges and problematic issues that needed to be solved.

The document determined six principal fields of activities, to be followed during the coming years, which are interrelated, form an integrated circuit and are characteristic of all types of libraries. The necessity to describe the basic service of the library and to organise the library network, as well as the transformation of libraries into multifunctional centres were pointed out as the priorities of Estonian librarianship for the coming years. All this requires competent specialists and efficient cooperation between libraries.

The vision document covering all types of libraries serves as a starting point to continue discussions in a more detailed and specific way and formulate significant agreements. Thus a year later, in autumn 2016, a working group of representatives from public libraries was convened. Its aim was to describe the services provided by public libraries more precisely and diversely. The mission of Estonian libraries was articulated as follows – to contribute to the formation of cultured and educated people who could live their lives successfully. The public libraries contribute to this by developing the reading habits of people, by supporting life-long learning, and ensuring access to information, knowledge and cultural content.

20 years of the Estonian Libraries Network Consortium

Mare-Nelli Ilus, Executive Director, ELNET Consortium
Riin Olonen, Development Manager, ELNET Consortium

In the yearly 1990s, the major libraries of Estonia began to search opportunities for cataloguing books online. It was understood that to achieve common goals an organisation that would enable the libraries efficiently communicate and strengthen their cooperation was needed.

A meeting to create a non-profit organisation, Estonian Libraries Network Consortium (ELNET), was held by its founding members - the National Library of Estonia, the University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonian Agricultural University, the Library of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Tallinn Pedagogical University, and the Estonian Literary Museum - at the end of 1995. The official date of the establishment of ELNET is 4 April 1996.

As of 1 January 2017, the Consortium had nine members and nine partners.

The integrated online catalogue ESTER has become the first and most voluminous joint activity project of the Consortium involving all its members and partners. In the year 2000, joint procurements of research information for research libraries were added to the activities of the Consortium. In 2009, the database of Estonian articles ISE (Index Scriptorum Estoniae) and the Estonian Subject Thesaurus (EMS) were put into operation. In 2010, the Consortium participated in the creation of the joint application Estonian e-Repository and Conservation of Collections (the first stage) that was presented to the Estonian Research Infrastructure Roadmap and was positively assessed by specialists. The task of the Consortium in this project is the creation of a joint environment, the Estonian e-repository portal, and making it available for information seekers.

The Estonian e-repository portal was opened to its users at the Vision Conference dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Consortium in April 2016.

LibQUAL reader satisfaction survey to improve library services at the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology

Kristina Pai, University of Tartu Library, Director of Collection Development
Aiki Tibar, Tallinn University of Technology Library, Research and Development Officer

In 2016, fifteen member libraries of the Association of European Research Libraries LIBER, among them the University of Tartu Library and the Tallinn University of Technology Library, conducted a reader survey using the LibQUAL+ methodology. The survey examined user satisfaction with library staff, information availability, and the library as a space (twenty two core questions), and five questions fitting in with the LIBER strategy. Respondents assessed services using a 9-point scale in the following categories: the minimum, desired, and the perceived level of service quality. On the basis of respondents’ assessments gaps between minimum expectations and the perceived level, as well as between the perceived level and the desired level of service quality were identified.

The survey results concerning twenty two core questions reveal that the perceived level of satisfaction as compared with other LIBER libraries was higher at the Tallinn University of Technology Library (TUTL) and the University of Tartu Library (UTL).

According to the overall results of LIBER libraries, the minimum expectations of respondents were somewhat higher, but the assessments of the perceived and desired levels lower than at the TUTL and the UTL. Based on the LIBER results, the respondents’ satisfaction with information availability and the library as a physical space was lower as compared with the Estonian libraries; however, the assessment of the perceived level of library staff skills was closer to the desired level. The most satisfied with the physical environment of the library were the respondents of the TUTL survey.

The respondents were most critical about information availability, with the lowest gap between the perceived and desired levels at the TUTL and the highest at the UTL. The expectations of UTL users were higher in regard to the availability of both printed and e-information resources.

Some questions related to the LIBER Consortium (research evaluation support, e.g. via bibliometrics or other assessment; promoting open access publications; facilitating research data management; advising on copyright and other issues) show that the TUTL has better managed to meet the minimum expectations of respondents. The satisfaction with up-to-date teaching is the highest at the TUL. At the same time, the overall results of the LIBER libraries show that gaps between the perceived and desired levels are lower in the questions concerning advising on copyright issues, facilitating research data management, and research evaluation. The expectations of the respondents of the TUL and the TUTL in connection with the above-mentioned questions are higher.

Based on the TUL and TUTL surveys and the overall results of the LIBER Consortium, it can be positively stated that across all the questions the mean ratings given by respondents to the perceived level remained in the zone of tolerance, i.e. between the minimum acceptable and the desired levels. The overall quality of library services was rated highly - the mean points at the TUTL 7,80; at the TUL 7,64; and 7,45, according to the LIBER overall results.

Free responses revealed a very positive attitude towards library staff (competent, polite, helpful, etc.). The respondents were more critical about the opening hours at the TUTL. Criticised were also computers and network connections (computers could be more up to date and the network faster). The users wished to have more possibilities for individual and team work. According to some readers, both the TUL and the TUTL are the best libraries in Estonia.

Learning mobility opportunities for the staff of university libraries

Kate-Riin Kont, Head of the Acquisition Department, Tallinn University of Technology Library

Since 2009 the Estonian universities governed by public law have participated in different Erasmus Mundus global programmes of learning mobility and international mobility. For instance, Tallinn University of Technology participates in such programmes as Interweave, Eurica, Ember, AREAS +. Erasmus Mundus Action 1 offered learning mobility for the years 2009-2013; and Erasmus Mundus Action 2 provides learning mobility for the years 2014-2017.

A big advantage of Erasmus Mundus programmes is the fact that students of very different study levels, academic employees as well as administrative staff can participate. Most programmes allow students to choose between several exchange periods that can be either one semester, one academic year or passing the entire study level at the partner university. For employees, however, mainly one-month exchange programmes are designed; except for the Ember project that provides employees with an exchange period of three months.

This article gives an overview of the author’s learning mobility with the Interweave and Eurica projects to Bhutan and Honduras. In addition, the article introduces the scholarship programme ITEC of the Indian Republic and its opportunities. The aim of the article is to encourage both the university staff and library colleagues to feel more confident about using the offered scholarship programmes.

Activities of the Estonian Librarians Association in 2016

The year 2016 will go down in the history of the ELA as the year of active cooperation and communication. The appeals and meetings with the Estonian members of the European Parliament acknowledged a good level of Estonian libraries as well as problems related to borrowing e-books from libraries. The participation of representatives from different associations in discussions at the Baltic and Nordic Library Conference in Lithuania and the IFLA Conference in Columbus gave us a comparison possibility and a wider picture of the activities of different countries’ associations. It was important to move on from the communal projects to the vision document The Library of the 21st Century that focused on the improvement of public library services.

By far the biggest and the most traditional undertaking of the Association was the opening of the Library Days that brought to the newly opened National Museum of Estonia (ERM) a record number of librarians from all over Estonia. Via the Õpetajate Leht (Teachers’ Newspaper) cooperation opportunities of schools and libraries were introduced. Volunteering together gives more opportunities to all of us; contributing to the best of our ability to collective work we enlarge our sense of community.

As of 31 December 2016, the Estonian Librarians Association had 775 active members, incl six honorary members. The Harju County Library, the Lääne County Central Library, the Valga Central Library, the Viljandi City Library, the Lääne-Virumaa Central Library, and the Rapla Central Library acted as associate members; the Pärnu Central Library joined the ELA in 2016.

In 2016 the number of members was reduced by sixteen: 34 new members joined and due to different reasons 49 members left the ELA. The campaign Join the ELA during the annual meeting and the Library Days brought in 27 new members.

The nine-member Board had five meetings; issues that needed to be urgently resolved were four times decided by written voting. The Office of ELA had one paid employee.

198 ELA members participated in the general meeting held on 9 March; the quorum together with mandates was 440. The meeting approved the annual report of the activities of the Estonian Librarians Association in 2015, its financial report, and the development trends for 2016. The heads of structural units of ELA made a brief review of their activities. Also, the document The Library of the 21st Century was approved (see here).

The sections of Special Libraries, School Libraries, and Rural Libraries; the committees of Collection Management, Education, Children’s Library Services, Terminology, and the Antiquarian Book; the working groups of New Approach and Acquisition of Public Libraries; the Club of Retired Librarians, the Young Professionals Club; and the Professional Qualifications Committee - all these structural units were actively involved in the doings of the ELA in 2016. Tartu County, Võru County, and Pärnu County organised their joint activities in their own region.

The ELA considers it important to appreciate the library profession, to recognise and promote librarians working in different libraries. The acknowledgement of librarians was supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and the Ministry of Culture. Librarians were granted the ELA Prize for Merits and the ELA Annual Prize; also the title of the Rural, School, and Children’s Librarian of the Year; the Research Library, Special Library, and Town Library Deed of the Year; the Journalist Award, and the Friend of the Library Award. The Bibliography Award was given out together with the Tallinn University Academic Library supported by the Cultural Endowment.

The ELA is a provider of professional qualifications up to the year 2018. 21 applications were submitted in 2016. The Professional Qualifications Committee was convened on 26 September. It was decided to give professional qualification, level 6, to 16 librarians; three applicants achieved level 7. Professional qualification, librarian, level 8 was granted for the first time. Professional qualification certificates are registered in the National Vocational Register and are valid seven years.

Six issues of the professional journal of librarianship, Raamatukogu, were published by the National Library of Estonia and the ELA. The publishing of the journal was supported by the Cultural Endowment. Two yearbooks 2014/26 and 2015/27 came out of print and are also included in the digital archive Digar.

Activities of the Estonian Libraries Network (ELNET) Consortium 2016

Mare-Nelli Ilus, Executive Director, ELNET Consortium
Riin Olonen, Development Manager, ELNET Consortium

As of 31 December 2016, the ELNET Consortium had nine members and nine partners. In 2016, the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences and the National Archives of Estonia joined the Consortium as partners.

The major activities in the online catalogue ESTER in 2016 were connected with the development of the user registration and authentification system (KRAS), a further supplement to the online catalogue ESTER; the integration of new members into the information system; and the loading of the online catalogue data into the E-Repository portal.

The capacity of the online catalogue (as of 31 December 2016) was all in all 3 041 070 titles and 9 527 681 copies (annual growth respectively 47 304 titles and 238 229 copies)

The procurement of electronic research databases for university libraries was carried out as planned.

After many years of preparation works the E-Repository portal was opened within the Vision Conference in April 2016. The portal integrates digital information of different databases providing the description of digital material and links to original data. The software of the portal was developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS (Fraunhofer IAIS). During the year the interfacing of data sources was continued.

The year 2016 was the ELNET Consortium jubilee year, 20 years passed since the foundation of the Consortium. The event was marked by the International Vision Conference ELNET 20.

About the activities of the Estonian Music Library Association in 2016

Kaie Viigipuu-Kreintaal, President of the Estonian Music Library Association

The Estonian Music Library Association (EMLA) is an organisation whose aim is to promote collaboration between music libraries and to represent their common public interests. The EMLA is an Estonian Branch of the IAML (International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres).

The EMLA as an institution is a member of the Estonian Music Council and the Estonian Music Information Centre.

At the end of 2016, the EMLA had 14 members: 11 institutional and 3 individual members. In September the Arvo Pärt Centre joined the EMLA. The Arvo Pärt Centre ( was founded in 2010 by Arvo Pärt and his family with the aim of creating opportunities for preser ving and researching the creative heritage of the composer in his native land.

The Board of the EMLA consisted of the following members: Kaie Viigipuu-Kreintaal (President, Tallinn Central Library), Ilvi Rauna (Vice-President, Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre Library), Heidi Heinmaa (Secretary, National Library of Estonia), Avo Kartul (University of Tartu Library), Ene Roost (Pärnu Central Library), Meery Salu (Tartu City Library), Viive Valper (Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir).

The annual meeting and spring seminar were held on 6 May 2016 at the National Library.

This year the theme of the seminar concerned only everyday professional work. Discussed were issues related to cataloguing, uniform titles, and professional terminology.

The autumn meeting was held on 11 November at the 40th Anniversary Conference of the Music Department of the Tartu City Library.

The First Estonian-Finnish Music Library Seminar in Helsinki took place on 26-27 May. This event was launched under the leadership of the Finnish Music Library Association, with the EMLA helping complete a programme of Estonian presentations.

Estonia was represented with seven presentations.

This year 71 entries with English annotations of music literature published in Estonia were added to the RILM database.

The IAML Annual Congress in Rome was attended by Katre Riisalu, Heidi Heinmaa (National Library) and Ilvi Rauna (EAMTL). Ilvi Rauna continued as the Vice-President of the IAML Libraries in the Music Teaching Institutions Branch and as a member of the Membership Committee. Kaie Viigipuu-Kreintaal was a member of the Copyright Committee.

The BAAC (Baltic Audiovisual Archival Council) Annual Conference Heritage and People: Connecting, Curating, Sharing in Vilnius was attended by Marika Koha (National Library).