Library network

The Finnish network of libraries consists of public i.e. municipal libraries, research libraries (university libraries and libraries of universities of applied sciences), special libraries, and libraries located at schools and other educational institutions. Municipal libraries and research libraries are open for everyone.

The collections and information services provided by the public libraries are considered to be part of society's intellectual capital, which is why the basic services are free of charge for all users. Under the Library Act, every Finnish municipality must provide the services specified in the Act. The services provided by the public libraries must be equally accessible to all.

Public libraries utilise digitalisation in their service production and development of operations, and they support and guide library users in managing the digital environment. As part of the project for the digitalisation of public services, metadata and system services have been introduced to guarantee the interoperability of libraries.

Libraries are accessible to all

The Finnish system of municipal libraries is of high quality by international standards. There are a total of 738 main and branch libraries in Finland. Up to 70 per cent of Finns live within three kilometres from a library, and 93 per cent of Finns have at most 10 kilometres to the nearest library.

Mobile libraries - a total of 140 of them - complete the municipal library services.  Mobile libraries have long traditions in Finland, as the first mobile library started its operations as early as in 1913.
Mobile libraries serve users of all ages and provide an opportunity to use library services also for those who for one reason or another cannot access a regular library. Mobile libraries stop at predetermined places on average once a week.

In Finland, the number of library visits per resident and the social appreciation for libraries are among the highest in the world. Library services are among the most frequently used municipal services, and the users come from all age groups. Almost 80 per cent of municipal residents use library services. In 2015, the number of library visits per resident was over 9 and the number of items borrowed over 16. The number and variety of electronic materials and services are on the rise. Municipalities used an average of EUR 58 per resident for the production of library services in 2015.

The National Digital Library and FINNA

The objective of the National Digital Library is to improve the accessibility and usability of the electronic materials and services of libraries, archives and museums. The library is also responsible for the long-term preservation of these materials.

The National Digital Library transmits information on the cultural heritage available in digital format to Europeana, the European Digital Library.
The Ministry of Education and Culture supports and steers the development of the National Digital Library. The objective is to guarantee access to information and culture and to enable active utilisation of cultural heritage.

The public interface of the National Digital Library is called FINNA,


Contact information

Leena Aaltonen, Kulttuuriasiainneuvos 
OKM, Kulttuuri- ja taidepolitiikan osasto (KUPO), Taiteen ja kulttuuriperinnön vastuualue (TAKU) 0295330344

Anne Luoto-Halvari, ylitarkastaja 
OKM, Korkeakoulu- ja tiedepolitiikan osasto (KTPO), Strategisen ohjauksen vastuualue (STO) 0295330200

Minna Karvonen, Kulttuuriasiainneuvos 
OKM, Kulttuuri- ja taidepolitiikan osasto (KUPO), Taiteen ja kulttuuriperinnön vastuualue (TAKU) 0295330142