The National Library of Finland's open collections loan out materials. Our open collections are the Humanities Collection, the Slavonic Library and the Finnish National Sound Archive (the Music Library). Taking home loans requires a valid Helka library card.
You will find information on whether a work is available for home loan from our reference databases. Any possible restrictions are also stated in the information supplied for each work.
You can renew your loans either directly through the database or by visiting our library's customer service point. If another customer makes a material reservation for materials you have loaned out, you will be notified of this by email.
The collections of the National Library of Finland have plenty of materials that can only be granted for reading room use. Reading room use means that the material cannot be taken home, but the customer can view it within the library premises. Reading room loans require a valid Helka library card.
The reading rooms are the library's reading rooms Fennica, Fabiania, Eteläsali, Pohjoissali and the Special Reading Room. Materials delivered as reading room loans will be kept in the reading room during the loan period.
Materials delivered as reading room loans always require a making a material request. The delivery times vary depending on the collection. The customers should ensure the availability of the materials before visiting the library, especially if they need to travel.
The materials in the National Collection are granted for reading room use only. The materials you request will be delivered under your name to the Fennica reading room for four weeks. Part of the materials in the Fennica Collection (such as older ephemera) is delivered to the Special Reading Room.
Orders from the National Collection (e-form only in Finnish)
Alternatively, you can fill in an order form for reading room loans in the library's customer service point.
Materials from the Humanities Collection printed before 1900 will be delivered to the reading room in Fabiania. The loan period is four weeks.
Materials from the Humanities Collection printed before 1800 will be delivered to the Special Reading Room.
The materials in the Slavonic Library printed before 1950 will be delivered to the reading room shelves of the Slavonic Library in the library's Fabiania reading room. Some of the materials will be delivered to the Special Reading Room.
The materials from the Special Collections will be delivered to the Special Reading Room.
The materials from the Manuscript Collection will be delivered to the Special Reading Room.
The materials of the open collection are immediately available to you in the library, without a separate material request. Our open collections are the Humanities Collection, the Slavonic Library and the Finnish National Sound Archive (the Music Library). You will need a valid Helka library card to use the materials of the open collection.
The open collection has both home loan materials and manuscript collection materials. The manuscript collection materials must be viewed within the library premises, in our reading rooms.
The manuscript collection materials include the following material types:
In our reference databases, such as Helka or Finna, the note is in connection to the information of the record, i.e. work, you are searching for: 'In open collection' (can be loaned out), 'In open collection. Not for home loan' (the materials are manuscript collection materials, i.e. home loan is not possible).
The Special Reading Room is intended for using the oldest, most unique and most fragile parts of our collections as a part of research work.
A special permit must be applied for using the Special Reading Room, and this requires a valid Helka card. In order to grant the user a licence, we must verify their customer data from the Helka customer register. Information about the license to use the Special Reading Room will be added to the register data in Helka.
When arriving into the room, the researcher must present their Helka card to the attendant. If necessary, we can request the customer to prove their identity by presenting a photo ID.
Due to the rarity and uniqueness of the materials, exceptional rules of conduct are applied to the supervised premises of the Special Reading Room. Additionally, there is a separate set of instructions for handling the materials in the Special Reading Room, which is available in the room.
Rules of the Special Reading Room
The usable copies of the sound recordings in our collections are delivered to the Music Library's listening room upon request. The information of the sound recordings is available in the Viola database. The speech recordings have been catalogued into the Fennica database.
The Raita database for digitised sound recordings contains the information of sound recordings the digital copies of which can be listened online.
The collections showcased in the Music Library are available in the Helka database. The music literature and serial publications of the National Collection are in the Fennica database. Sheet music has been catalogued into the Viola database, starting from 1977. The information of sheet music publications from 1801–1976 can be found in the Music Library's card index. The music manuscripts are viewed in the Special Reading Room. The music archives catalogue has the basic information of the library's composition manuscripts.
The customers of the National Library of Finland have access to electronic: books, journals, articles, sound recordings, maps, photos, reference databases andfull text materials.
Some of the electronic materials are freely available online, while a part of them can only be accessed with the login data of University of Helsinki or with a visitor ID. Some materials can only be used in the library.
More information on licenses and conditions of use of electronic materials