The public library, the local gateway to knowledge, provides
a basic condition for lifelong learning, independent decision-making
and cultural development of the individual and the social
UNESCO, Public Library Manifesto 1994
Welcome to library! Public libraries are open to everyone
and you can use their services free of charge. There is
a public library in every Finnish municipality where you
can read books and magazines. You can also burrow such library
items as books, cd-discs and videos. Libraries have items
in both domestic and foreign languages.
Reading is fun!
Library offers information and recreation for adults and
children. You can find information about Finnish society
as well as about your own country and culture. It is important
to maintain your mother tongue and reading helps you to
do that. You can find books in your mother tongue from the
library. By reading aloud to your children you will help
also them to maintain their mother tongue.
Depending on its size and location, libraries' collections
include the following materials in domestic and foreign
languages: fiction and non-fiction, poetry, picture books,
newspapers and periodicals
language courses, recorded music and videos, materials in
electronic format, brochures, study manuals, information
booklets. Most libraries have computers, which customers
can use when searching the Internet, sending e-mail or using
Libraries are very popular in Finland. Libraries are owned
by the municipalities and are tax-paid. Government supports
municipal libraries with annual grants. In addition to public
libraries there are also many research libraries in Finland.
Research libraries serve first and foremost students and
researchers but also other people can use their services.
In Finland library principles support and encourage free
and independent thinking, equality and the exposition of
different ideas. Therefore library collections include books
and other materials on different political views, religions
How to use libraries
Library has a set of library rules, which can be obtained
from each library. These rules outline the basic operating
principles. Read the rules carefully.
Library has competent staff trained in the field. The staff
willingly helps customers in all manner of information retrievals.
Reading in libraries
Library is open for everyone, so anyone can go there to
read books or magazines, or to seek answers to their questions.
However, remember that there are other people in the library.
Please respect their right to read and work in peace.
Most of the books and other materials can be borrowed,
but encyclopaedias and magazines are mostly for reference
You need a library to borrow. All those living in Finland
can obtain a library card by presenting an official identity
card. Children need a written consent from a custodian who
will act as a guarantor. Library card must be always presented
when borrowing items from the library.
Library card is personal property. No one else is allowed
to use it. The card owner is responsible for materials borrowed
with the card. Take good care of your card! In case you
loose your card, notify the library immediately.
You have to present your library card every time you want
to borrow. Loan period is usually 4 weeks, but for such
items as videos and recorded music it is often less than
4 weeks, e.g. one week. Check the due date from the expiry
slip. For overdue materials library charges a fee.
Libraries are common property
Library collections are open to everyone. Handle library
materials with care and keep them clean. Next customer would
also like to read a clean book! Return borrowed items in
time so that others can borrow them. You must pay for any
lost or damaged items borrowed with your card.
Central Multilingual Library Services
Library has books and other materials in domestic and foreign
languages. However, materials available in each library's
collections vary according to the size and the language
situation in a given community. The biggest libraries have
the most comprehensive collections.
In case your own library has only a few or no books in
your native language, please ask help from the personnel.
They will try to obtain requested materials either from
bigger libraries or from the Central Multilingual Library
Central Multilingual Library Service is a part of the Helsinki
City Library and is financed by the Government. The Multicultural
Library acquires books, recorded music and videos, which
can be sent to other libraries in order to support their
own collections. Items from the Helsinki City Library's
own foreign language collection can also be borrowed through
other libraries as interlibrary loans.
Helsinki City Library's collection, including the foreign
language collection, is included in the Helmet-catalogue,
which can be browsed through the Internet. The address is:
Multicultural Library (MCL)
Multicultural Library (MCL) is a net-service tailored for
foreigners. It provides information, for example, about
your own country, daily newspapers in different languages,
Finland or libraries. You can browse MCL-pages in libraries
which have the Internet access. The Internet address is: