Helsinki has a comprehensive public library network. Helsinki City Library, with its more than 40 public libraries throughout the city, serves all Helsinki residents and, through the HelMet Web Library, all Helsinki area residents.
Helsinki City Library maintains a collection of over 1.5 million books and some 300,000 copies of other materials. The Library makes close to ten million loans every year. Helsinki residents visit libraries 11 times a year on average and borrow 16 items.
Public libraries in Helsinki are “public living rooms”. Their facilities welcome visitors to browse and borrow books, to study and to read magazines. Internet access is available both on library computers and via WLAN on visitors’ own laptops. Staff members are on hand to assist visitors in the use of the services. Visitors need a valid library card and PIN code to use library services.
Helsinki City Library acts as a central library for all public libraries in Finland and also serves the foreign-language residents of Finland, acquiring and maintaining materials in a variety of languages and available for residents throughout the country.
The city libraries of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen form the HelMet (Helsinki Metropolitan Area Libraries) network. The HelMet Web Library makes its materials and services available to all area residents.
Visitors to HelMet can search for items, reserve materials and make loans. The loans are picked up from the chosen HelMet public library. Visitors can also make suggestions for new acquisitions. The HelMet services are accessed with a library card number and PIN code.
Helsinki City Library also maintains web pages for children. The pages walk children through the use of the library and how to search for information.
Libraries.fi contains comprehensive information on Finnish libraries. Ask a Librarian is an online service where anyone can obtain information on libraries in Finland from a reference librarian. Information available from the portal includes a listing and links to research libraries in Finland.
Urban Facts library services
The City of Helsinki Urban Facts is an institution that produces diverse information on Helsinki, combining under one roof archives, statistics, research and forecasts. Urban Facts maintains extensive library services.
The Urban Facts Library specializes in Helsinki statistics and research. The collection includes all publications produced by Urban Facts and other city departments, as well as statistical publications from other cities in Europe.
The library is open to the public. Publications are given out as home loans or as inter-library loans via other libraries. The library also offers an information service, which conducts information searches concerning statistics and urban research related to Helsinki.
The library collection on the Internet includes the Helsinki region statistics database and the Nordstat database, which contains statistical data on 16 major Scandinavian cities and their regions.
Other libraries in Helsinki and further information
The National Library of Finland is the oldest and largest scholarly library in the country. It operates as an institute of the University of Helsinki. It preserves Finland’s printed national heritage and maintains unique collections placed under its care.
In addition to serving the Parliament of Finland, the Library of Parliament is open to the public, serving all who need parliamentary, legal, social and political information.
General information on libraries in Finland is available from the Suomi.fi public service portal and from the Ministry of Education