Director General Martin Öövel
Martin Öövel took office as the Director General of the National Library of Estonia on 18 September 2023, succeeding Janne Andresoo who had been holding this position since 2008.
Martin Öövel has IT-law background from the University of Tartu and University of Stockholm. Since 2011 he has fulfilled the role of CIO in various Estonian public sector institutions with focus on the development of work processes, change management and general client-side IT-management. He has participated in Estonian IT-policymaking on the highest level and represented Estonian government agencies in over 20 international IT-projects.
As CIO Martin Öövel introduced ITIL and LEAN based process frameworks to the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Finance and their public domains. In the said ministries he was also responsible for overseeing the management of corresponding government IT-agencies to ensure desired levels of services provided by the agencies to the client-side.
CIO roles are in many ways very similar to IT-literate CEO roles. In 2016 Martin Öövel decided to take on a new challenge and started work as director of Tabasalu School, some years later became the director of Keila School. Both are among the largest upper secondary schools in Estonia, operating in the vicinity of the capital Tallinn and teaching 1300 and 1700 pupils respectively.
Martin Öövel highly values his links with the field of education. Since 2014 he has been part-time lecturer on public e-services at the University of Tartu. He is a board member of an organisation offering a high variety of extracurricular activites for youth (Huvitegevuse ja Noorsootöö SA), and also coaches youth floorball teams.
As Director General of the National Library of Estonia, Martin Öövel considers it vital to develop cooperation and new solutions in order to better bring to the public not only the collections of the national library, but the entire cultural heritage. The present era is a very interesting time in library world as today’s technologies and people’s consumption habits – including those of time – are undergoing major changes. How does the library remain relevant in this changing time and hopefully even increase its role?
In its nature, a library is very much an educational centre. It is important to focus on schoolchildren and students because they will be our target groups in the future.
And of course, the focus is on the renovation project of the library building – it is Estonia’s national monument and the completion of the building requires full attention. If we have such a gorgeous physical environment as the Tõnismägi building, we cannot limit ourselves to the role of the traditional national library, but we must also develop it into a cultural environment, says Martin Öövel.