Check also

There are good interlibrary loan services among the various collections.

Remember to return your book-loans to the libraries before your departure from Finland.

Please note that the Fulbright Finland Foundation is not responsible for the payment of fines or legal procedures against you as a result of the loss or non-return of library materials.

Also check the opening hours beforehand, some libraries might not be open on Sundays.


Finland is known for a comprehensive library network, high user and lending rates, and use of ICT in libraries. The vast majority of Finns are regular library users. Finns visit a library 10 times a year on average.

In Finland the guiding principle in public libraries is to offer free access to cultural and information sources for all irrespective of their place of residence and financial standing. The use of library collections at the library and borrowing are free of charge. Both municipal and research libraries are open to all. Students use public and research libraries side by side.

The Finnish library network comprises municipal public libraries, school libraries and research libraries.

Municipal Public Libraries

There is a public library in every Finnish municipality, and most of them also have branch libraries and library cars. The 18 municipal libraries also operating as provincial libraries provide information and interlibrary services in their regions.

The municipal libraries usually contain English-language books, newspapers, periodicals, records, and videotapes, which are available to you and your dependents. In addition, music departments stock a wide range of CDs and DVDs, which can be borrowed at no cost.

You can search for public libraries in your town here.

School Libraries

Schools and other educational institutions provide library and information services to their pupils and students. In this, they cooperate with public and other libraries.

Research Libraries

Research libraries, comprising university, polytechnic and special libraries, serve higher education, learning and research.  All university libraries provide self-service photocopying at moderate prices.

The nucleus of research libraries is:

University libraries offer free access to everyone, not only university students and staff.  Polytechnics have their own libraries and information services. Teaching-related information services are provided and financed by the local education authority.

The National Library of Finland is the oldest and largest scholarly library in Finland as well as one of the largest independent institutes at the University of Helsinki. It is responsible for the collection, description, preservation and accessibility of Finland’s printed national heritage and the unique collections under its care. The National Library also serves as a national service and development center for the library sector and promotes national and international cooperation in the field.

  • The National Repository Library

Some university libraries are national repositories for certain fields and disciplines.

The three universities that have special repository status, and that train librarians and information scientists, are the University of Tampere, the University of Oulu (for Finnish-speaking librarians) and Åbo Akademi University (for Swedish-speaking librarians). Tampere University library is the repository for Mass Communications, Social Sciences, Folklore, Library and Information Science, and Education. Åbo Akademi has the only university Women’s Studies library and it also maintains the Donner library, with one of the leading collections on religion in the world.

The staff of all university libraries can provide you with more information on the national repository status for different fields, and also advise you on how to obtain materials through interlibrary loans.

In addition to university and city libraries, there are numerous other collections that may prove invaluable for your research, such as the libraries of the World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER) Institute in Helsinki, and the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE, short for Yleisradio).

Learn more about Finnish libraries here.

Other library and reading related information


You can find the treasures of Finnish archives, libraries and museums with a single search. Finna provides access to the collections and services of archives, libraries and museums. Users can easily access images of museum objects and works of art, digital documents, books, maps and reference data whenever it suits them.

American Resource Center:

The American Resource Center (ARC), managed in a partnership between the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki and the University of Helsinki, is an extensive resource for current, in-depth information focusing primarily on political, economic and social issues and on American culture. The ARC is located in the Kaisa House, the Helsinki University main library (Fabianinkatu 30).


English-Language Reading Materials

English books, newspapers, and periodicals are available from bookstores and kiosks, or by subscription. The International Herald Tribune (using news services of the New York Times and Washington Post), USA Today, the Wall Street Journal European edition, and other newspapers are sold in some train stations, bookstores, and kiosks in larger cities. Nowadays all newspapers have online editions.

Books are expensive in Finland. Printing limited-run Finnish-language editions is costly, and all foreign books are taxed upon import. If you know you will need certain books, either bring them along or have them mailed. Even books that need to be ordered after you arrive will come more quickly and cheaply if you buy them through a contact in the United States.

You can also find good deals on books on online stores such as Amazon -- if you order from the UK store instead of the U.S. you can save on the delivery costs and time. Ordering inside the EU, you avoid any possible import duties. See Finnish Custom's Online shopping guide for private individuals.