Mr. Napoli Leaves Helsinki
by Train for Tampere, Finland

February 9, 1996:

Early Friday morning (5:45 AM) Hannu Aronsson meets Mr. Napoli at his hotel and they walk together to the Helsinki's Central Train Station. It is very cold!

Depart Hotel Anna at 5:45 AM Hotel


Central Train Station,
Photo by Don Napoli with the Library's Apple QuickTake Digital Camera

At the train station we wait for three others to arrive who will join us on the trip to Tampere. Mr. Napoli, in desperate need of hot coffee and food and with no Finnish marks in his wallet, borrows 100 marks (about $25.00) from Hannu Aronsson. The coffee is wonderfully strong and croissant, very satisfying!

Kimmo Lehtonen, Head of Publicity for the Helsinki City Library and co-author of Internet Guidelines for the Helsinki City Library , and Erkki Lounasvuori, Chief Librarian of the Cable Book Library, arrive at the train station and join us. An unusual happening: the train is going to be at least 45 minutes late leaving the Helsinki station. Hannu pulls out his portable phone and calls Mikael Böök, Managing Director of Katto-Meny Cooperative Society, who also has a portable phone, and who is at the next train station where he planned to join us. Hannu advises him to meet us at the central train station so that we can all go together on another express train to Tampere. I start to notice portable phones everywhere; people reaching for them in their handbags and sacks. It's amazing! This whole country is wired! Seems like one out of every four persons has a portable phone!

Mikael Böök joins us and together the five of us have more coffee in the cafeteria of the Helsinki Train Station before boarding the express train for the two hour trip to Tampere.

The Finnish State Railways Train

As the train speeds along, Mr. Napoli has a long conversation with Mikael Böök about public libraries, building community information files in cooperation with community groups and organizations, the similarities between the Katto-Meny Cooperative Society and the Michiana Free-Net Society, and the future of the Internet for public libraries. They recall together how they first came to know each other through e-mail on August 11, 1994 and the World-Wide Web and how in late February the Helsinki City Library became the first public library in the world to put up a WWW home page, followed about two weeks later on March 14 by the second public libary in the world to do so, the St. Joseph County Public Library in South Bend.

This is followed by a visit to the dinning car and more coffee. Erkki and Kimmo disappear to check out the smoking regulations.

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Created 2/23/96; Last Modified 3/6/96