You can get a Helka library card, which is valid at the National Library of Finland, from the library’s information service desk by providing a proof of identity. Anyone that is over the age of 15 with a Finnish social security number and street address may get one. The Helka card is free of charge and immediately usable.
University of Helsinki employee cards can also be activated for library use. Further information on the Conditions of Use [linkki].
What can I bring with me to the library?
As you arrive in the library, you will be asked to leave your outer clothes, umbrellas and large bags at the cloakroom free of charge. You are not allowed to take drinks or other snacks into the library either.
The cloakroom and the information service desk can provide you with a basket to hold books and your personal items.
These limits are in place due to security reasons – we want to protect our valuable collections from unintentional damage.
Is there some way I can prepare for a library visit?
Absolutely, and it’s worth doing. Only a part of the books and magazines are on the open collection shelves. Everything else must be ordered in from our repository for you to make use of them at the library. You can use the National Library of Finland’s search portal at kansalliskirjasto.finna.fi to search for material. For each piece of material, you will be able to see its availability data:
If the work is in the open collection, you may pick it up from the shelves
If the work has been taken out by another customer, you may make a reservation
If the work is in the repository, you may submit a storage retrieval request
Material requests will be picked up by 11 a.m. on the next business day, apart from select exceptions.
What material is available to me online?
Some of our material is available directly online! Visit digi.kansalliskirjasto.fi [linkki] for digitised versions of Finnish newspapers and magazines up until 1910. Various collections can also be found at the doria.fi institutional repository [linkki] as well as the Finnish archives’, libraries’ and museums’ single search service, Finna [linkki]. The Nelli portal [linkki] provides University of Helsinki students and staff with remote access to scientific online magazines.
What do I do if I can’t find what I'm looking for?
If you can’t find what you're looking for, you can
There is an underground passage between the main building and the Fabiania wing. The passage in the main building opens from the bottom floor next to the café Rotunda. On the Fabiania end, the passage starts at the elevators and runs through the Aquarium corridor towards the main building.
What can I do at the library?
All of our library’s 5 reading rooms are available for you. The only exception is the special reading room, which requires separate permission.
Our library has a Wi-Fi connection. You can also use the library’s customer terminals for information searches.
Our library’s main building, Rotunda, has a pick-up shelf, where you can pick up the material you have requested or reserved.
Material requested for reading room use will be delivered to Fabiania if they are National Collection material; everything else is delivered to Rotunda.