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 feature a great deal of material that can only be released for reading room use. This means that the material cannot be taken away from the Library, and must be studied on the premises. To make an order for a reading room loan, you must have a valid Helka card.
Reading rooms in the National Library’s main building:
Reading rooms on the ground floor of the National Library’s Fabiania building:
An order form is required for all reading room loans. Delivery times vary by collection. Visitors travelling from further away should ensure that the material they ordered will be available at the Library at the time of their visit.
The materials in the National Collection are granted for reading room use only. The materials you request will be delivered to Special Collections 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 Rotunda. The loan period is four weeks.
Materials from the Humanities Collection printed before 1800 will be delivered to the Special Collections Reading Room.
The materials in the Slavonic Library will be delivered mainly to the Slavonic Library reading room. Some of the materials will be delivered to the Special Collections Reading Room. Books that have been published before year 1950 will be delivered only as reading room loans.
The materials from the Special Collections will be delivered to the Special Collections Reading Room.
The materials from the Manuscript Collection will be delivered to the Special Collections 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).
Working in the special collections reading room
The special collections reading room is used to study resources in the Library’s most valuable collections.
The reading room attendant can grant access to the special collections reading room.
To gain access, visitors must:
Rules of the special collections reading room
The special collections reading room is a monitored space, and the rare and unique material inside it requires exceptional rules of conduct which differ from those in the other reading rooms.
In addition, separate, detailed instructions on handling the material is available inside the reading room.
Arriving at the special collections reading room
Using the material
Exiting the special collections 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