From the beginning of February 1995 the Helsinki City Library
- Central Library for Public Libraries - was given a task
by the Ministry of Education to act as a multilingual library
in Finland. Helsinki City Library receives special state
subsidy for the purpose.
The aim of the Central Multilingual Library Service is
to enhance library services for foreigners, to establish
connections with domestic and international organisations,
to provide information and guidance, as well as to purchase
materials in rare languages for the interlibrary use for
the ethnic minorities in Finland.
Municipalities are still in the main responsible for providing
services for the foreigners in their respective communities.
The more detailed aims - within the budgetary limits -
of the Multilingual library are agreed upon annually in
discussions between the Ministry of Education and the Helsinki
(Minedu 12.1.1995, 27/650/94)
The Central Multilingual Library Service purchases
materials in the
so-called rare languages for nationwide use. Multilingual
library does not purchase materials in the Nordic languages
or in the so-called major European languages such as English,
French, German, Italian, Estonian, Russian and Spanish.
Both the Helsinki Library collection and the materials purchased
by the Central Multilingual Library Service are available
nationwide. Helsinki City Library has books in sixty different
Municipal libraries purchase materials also in rare languages
according to local population statistics. Especially the
acquisition of newspapers and periodicals are considered
to be the responsibility of the local libraries. Multilingual
library supports this activity nationwide.
Bookstores on Internet
Multilingual library collection is situated in different
City main library together with those materials purchased
with the library.s own money. The collection contains mainly
books in c. 60 languages. The overall collectionstatistics
of both the Multilingual library and the Helsinki City Library
can be found under the heading kirjat kielittäin, (books
You can print lists of books and other materials from the
Click the keyword-link. Type two asterisks ** and choose
the language and the type of material from the dropdown
Those living in the Helsinki metropolitan area normally
acquire their own library cards and borrow directly from
the Helsinki City main library.
You can ask your local library to make interlibrary requests
by title and subject. Small selections can be sent for a
3- to 6-month loan
period. Interlibrary requests are made to the Interlibrary
Although it is not the responsibility of the Multilingual
purchase materials in other Nordic languages nor in the
so-called major European languages, the library does send
individual loans to other libraries around the country through
the interlibrary department.
The brochure .Public Library . gateway to knowledge. explains
operational principles of the public libraries in Finland.
The brochure can be freely copied and disseminated. It is
available in following 14 languages:
The brochure is also available in simplified language three
Introduction to the operations of the Helsinki City library
is available in 15 languages:
Brochures of Helsinki City Library in 15 languages
UNESCO Public Library Manifesto is the international manifest
of public libraries which IFLA, International Federation
of Library Associations and Institutions has published in
Helsinki City Library's web-publication
MCL - Multicultural Library,
provides services for foreigners living in Finland.
Information on the number of foreigners and different languages
spoken in Finland can be found under the heading 'Väestö
kielen mukaan lääneittäin ja suuralueittain'
from the following address: http://statfin.stat.fi
The Central Multilingual Library Service works in unison
corresponding Nordic multilingual libraries. In addition
libraries responsible for multicultural services, Århus
city library in
Denmark has invested considerably on multicultural library
Oslo Public Library, The Multilingual Library
flerspråklige bibliotek vid Deichmanske bibliotek
International Library, Stockholm
Biblioteket vid Stockholms stadsbibliotek
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
Library Services to Multicultural Populations Section