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Locally built bookmobile a hit at home and abroad

The little municipality of Iitti in Southern Finland is home to a mobile library manufacturer that just finished construction on a bookmobile for the municipality itself. Up to 80 percent of the Kiitokori factory's library buses are exported.

Iitin uusi kirjastoauto ulkoapäin kuvattuna
Feels on wheels: a brand-new car full of books Image: Kiitokori Oy

In the small southern Finnish municipality of Iitti, between Lahti and Kouvola, vehicle manufacturer Kiitokori has just completed construction of a new bookmobile.

This one won't be delivered far, as the green machine is Iitti's own new library on wheels. It replaces the previous local bookmobile, dubbed "Pilkku", who was retired after 19 years of service.

"This has been a labour of love," Kiitokori marketing chief Olli Aarnio says. "Many of our employees are locals from Iitti, and we wanted to make a showy but high-quality car to serve the locals here."

The new bookmobile is 12 metres long and weighs in at 18 tonnes.

"We're going to pack it as full of materials as we can. We can fit about 4,000 books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, audio books in there," Aarnio says.

Books roll to the continent

Iitti's new bookmobile is the 670th library car to be manufactured by Kiitokori. Most of their vehicles are exported, as Central European countries have also taken the mobile libraries and their versatility on board.

"Around 80 percent of our products are exported. We ship these beauties all the way to Switzerland," Aarnio says.

Finland's libraries have a positive reputation elsewhere in Europe.

"Our library network is well organised and bookmobiles are part of that network. The Finnish library system is used as a model the world over,"  Aarnio says.

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