Portrait of National Librarian Cecilia af Forselles unveiled
Professor, National Librarian Cecilia af Forselles will be retiring on 1 July 2022 and leaving her post as Director of the National Library of Finland. During her term in office, af Forselles has led the National Library into a new strategy period and strengthened the Library’s finances and position in society. The National Library’s nationwide importance and role in research have been reinforced in the past few years, and it has succeeded in its efforts to develop education, learning and research equally. National Librarian af Forselles has initiated long-term work to promote sustainability at the National Library of Finland.
During her term in office, National Librarian af Forselles has emphasised the National Library’s role in developing digital environments, in addition to promoting citizens’ and researchers’ access to the Library’s services and materials. Research and research services focusing on the National Library’s own materials and collections have broadened and diversified. Network cooperation and openness, as well as the strengthening of equality and society’s knowledge base have been key themes in the work of af Forselles. The National Library’s recent project to improve the availability of the Sámi people’s linguistic and cultural resources has been close to her heart.
Impressive career in Finnish cultural heritage
Professor Cecilia af Forselles has performed various duties at the National Library for more than 20 years. She took over as Director of the National Library in early 2019, having previously worked as head librarian of the Finnish Literature Society from 2005 to 2018. Before that, af Forselles held various positions at the University of Helsinki and the National Library of Finland. During her career, af Forselles has edited and published academic works and articles in scholarly collections, as well as other publications dealing with the history of books, cultures, science and learning, and cartography, for example. Af Forselles defended her doctoral dissertation at the University of Helsinki in 2001.
Professor af Forselles is the chair of the Finnish Society for the History of Science and Learning and a member of the board and deputy chair of the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies. She has held several positions of trust in, for example, scientific societies, foundations, cultural institutes and museums.
Portrait to be included in the National Library’s prestigious collection of portraits
True to the traditions of the National Library of Finland, Professor Cecilia af Forselles’s portrait will be included in the prestigious collection of portraits, starting with that of H.G. Porthan, a renowned librarian from the 1700s. The portrait of af Forselles is the work of Professor and artist Kuutti Lavonen, one of Finland’s leading painters. The painting was completed with the help of donations. The National Library of Finland wishes to thank all the parties that contributed to the portrait.
“I’m pleased that the portrait is a fine representation of contemporary art. This portrait of the Director of the National Library shows the long traditions of art, as well as the changing nature of people and their roles but also a certain timelessness – time and eternity. My heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Kuutti Lavonen, a master of Finnish contemporary art, for this magnificent interpretation of the first female National Librarian of the National Library of Finland,” says Cecilia af Forselles.
Docent Kimmo Tuominen, Doctor of Social Sciences, will assume the post of National Librarian in June. He has previously served as the university librarian of Helsinki University Library.
Further information: https://www.kansalliskirjasto.fi/en/news/kimmo-tuominen-head-national-library-finland