The Rules of Special collections reading room

Working in the special collections reading room

The special collections reading room is used to study the most valuable collections of the Library.

To gain access, visitors must:

  • Present a valid National Library card. National Library cards can be requested from the Rotunda information desk, present a ID or passport.
  • Agree to follow the rules of the special collections reading room (details below).

Rules of the special collections reading room

The special collections reading room is a monitored space, and the rare and unique material inside 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.

All material to be used in the special collections reading room must be ordered in advance. The delivery time varies between 1 and 3 business days, depending on collections.

Arriving at the special collections reading room

  • To use the special reading room, you will need a National Library card and a PIN-code. In order to get in the reading room, you will be required to show your National Library card to the card reader and enter your four-digit PIN-code. In case you have forgotten your PIN-code, you may renew it online or at the Rotunda service desk. When you leave the special collection reading room, our staff will open the gate for you.
  • Any baskets, bags, laptop cases or books must be left in the shelves and basket storage areas in front of the Slavonic Library. The attendant may allow you to bring in books if they are necessary for your research.
  • Pencils and paper, laptop and other small electronic devices (e.g., phone, tablet, camera) necessary for research are allowed in the reading room. No scanners are allowed.
  • The reading room attendant can help visitors to locate the material and use the catalogues.
  • Phones must be kept in silent mode in the reading room, and no phone calls may be taken in the reading room or in it´s immediate vicinity to preserve a quiet environment.

Handling the material

  • The material studied in the special collections reading room is unique, and special care must be taken when handling it.
  • Studying certain collections requires a special permission and can only be done under supervision.
  • The material can only be studied at the designated researcher desks.
  • Notes may be taken in pencil, on a computer or through photography. The following rules must be followed when taking photos:
    • Photos of printed works are allowed unless otherwise specified.
    • For manuscripts and the archive collections, a special photography permission must always be separately requested. Contact the manuscript collections (nationallibrary (at) helsinki.fi) before your visit to find out if photography will be possible.
    • Photos must be taken at the reading desk without disturbing other visitors and without flash. A small tabletop tripod may be used. The material must not be bent.
  • A scanner may not be used in the reading room.
  • Pencils and paper are available in the reading room for note-taking.

Exiting the special collections reading room

  • When leaving the special collections reading room, the studied material must always be returned to the designated shelf (National Collection) or to the reading room attendant (other material). Material to be returned to the collections must always be returned to the attendant.
  • Any item leaving the room must be presented to the attendant (books, notes, etc.).

Other

  • The original material which has been microfilmed or digitised will not be delivered without a permission from the person in charge of the collection in question.
  • The special collections reading room attendant can give other instructions relating to use of the reading room or handling of the material. Visitors to the special collections reading room must follow the instructions given by the attendant.