Mainpage Libraries

Libraries in Finland

Finland is known for its comprehensive library network, high user and lending rates and effective use of technology and information networks in libraries. Library services in Finland are efficient, accessible and cost-effective.

About 80% of Finns are regular library users. On average, a Finn visits a library 10 times a year and takes out 18 books, discs or magazines. The library websites register over 57 million visits a year. In the 2010 national library customer survey, over 70% of the 13,000 respondents said libraries had improved their quality of life somewhat or considerably.

Finna brings together the treasures of Finnish archives, libraries and museums

FNA_tunnus_pysty_WEB_turkThe Finna search service is the first to bring together the collections of Finnish archives, libraries and museums. Finna provides direct access to some digital content and information about available material.

Finna is part of the Ministry of Education and Culture’s National Digital Library (NDL) project.

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Cross-European survey to measure users’ perceptions of the benefits of ICT in public libraries

library_surveyTNS, an independent research company with a global presence, was commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation to conduct research across 17 EU countries to identify perceptions and types of use of public libraries. The purpose of the research was to understand the impact that public libraries in the EU have on users’ lives.

In Finland, around two thirds of adults (67%), had used a public library in the last 12 months, compared with just under a quarter (23%) of all adults across Europe.

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Finns are avid readers and library users

kirjastoIn a sparsely populated country like Finland, ease of access is a key factor in terms of the quality of library services.

According to the statistics, the Finns are avid readers and library users: Last year the average resident of Finland visited a public library about 10 times, making 18 loans. The number of loans edged up by 1.3 percent from 2010, with a smaller increase in the number of visits.

Comparable statistical information on Finnish municipal public libraries covers several decades.

> Library network

Library network - Free access

kirjasto_1Municipal public libraries, research libraries and school libraries form the Finnish library network.

The guiding principle in public libraries is to offer free access to cultural and information sources for everyone irrespective of their place of residence and financial standing.

Both public and research libraries are open to all.  No fee is charged for either borrowing or the use of collections at the library.

> Library policy

Library policy - a Forerunner in the library field

Finland is one of the few countries in the world which have strategic documents outlining library development.

In Finland library and information services promote equal access to education and culture, reading and art appreciation, constant development of knowledge, skills and citizenship skills, internationalisations and lifelong learning.

> Financing and administration

Library financing and administration

The Ministry of Education and Culture is the national administrative authority for library and information services and supports libraries by financing many centrally produced services. The Ministry outlines library policy and prepares legislation on libraries for Parliament.

> International and EU cooperation

International cooperation


The Ministry of Education and Culture aims to influence decisions made in international and EU contexts already in early stages of preparation and to be an active partner in international administrative and development work.

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