Helsinki University Library

The instruction belongs to the following themes

By selecting a degree programme you are able to see the general content as well as the possible degree programme-specific content. You do not have to select a degree programme to see the Open University's instructions.

Helsinki University Library offers students various spaces and tools for studying in all four campuses.

When searching for materials for your studies, such as textbooks, scientific articles, or databases, you should first turn to Helsinki University Library.

Further information on the services on the library website

Library sites

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Helsinki University Library operates in all four campuses in Helsinki:

In addition, the City Centre Campus has two learning centres:

Check the locations of the libraries and learning centres on the map.

The libraries and learning centres are mostly accessible.

Check the library's opening hours from the University of Helsinki web site.

Get a library card

You can borrow books with a Helka library card at the Helsinki University Library’s service points. Depending on your preferences, you can either get a digital library card or a traditional, plastic library card.

The Helka library card also works in special Helka libraries, external to the university (Institute for the Languages of Finland, Finnish Heritage Agency Library, Finnish Literature Society, Library of the Labour Movement and Baltia-kirjasto). To borrow from the collections of the National Library of Finland you need a National Library card.

Digital Helka library card

You can can get a digital Helka library card through the Studies Service. The digital library card will be ready to use straight away. If you get a digital Helka card, you won't need a traditional, plastic library card at all.

  1. Log in to the Studies Service with your Helsinki University username and password. After signing in, you will see the Helka card icon in the upper right corner. With a mobile device, the Helka card can be found in the upper right corner in the hamburger menu. Click on the icon.
  2. The service first directs you to activate your customer information in the Helka database. After activation, you can purchase the Helka card at the Studies Service as directed.
  3. Set the PIN code and press save. Your digital Helka card has been created and will be ready to use straight away.

Traditional Helka library card

If you prefer a traditional, plastic library card, you can acquire a Helka card from the library's customer service.

  1. Activate your customer information in Helka database by signing in with your Helsinki University user credentials.
  2. After activation, you can pick up your Helka library card from any Helsinki University Library location during customer service hours. Please remember to bring an official ID card.
  3. Set a PIN code in your customer account in the Helka database. The PIN code is needed only when you borrow print material using the library's self-service lending machines.

Requesting books, renewing loans & paying overdue fines

You can request books, renew loans and, when necessary, pay overdue fines in the Helka database. In order to use the library's self-service lending machines, you need a PIN code which you have to set in your customer account in the Helka database. Do not update your contact information in Helka, as the contact information is automatically updated from Sisu. If your contact information changes, just make sure that it's up-to-date in Sisu. For more information, see page Updating your personal information and contact details.

Find and borrow books

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Find textbooks

You can locate both printed and electronic textbooks using Helka’s search. From Helka you will see the book’s availability and location.

Library codes to locate a book.  
(Hc=Kaisa-talo, Hb= Viikki, Hl=Meilahti, Hs=Kumpula) 

The loan periods vary according to library sites and book titles: 14 or 28 days, short-term loans 2 days.

There is an overdue fine according to the current price list for loans returned late.

Borrowing books

When you borrow books, show the library card to the self-service lending machine or at the customer service desk. You can use the browser of your mobile device to show your library card. You do not need a library card for e-books, just log in to Helka with your university user account.

Returning books

You can return the materials you have borrowed from the Helsinki University Library to all the library sites. However, materials from other Helka libraries or the National Library of Finland cannot be returned to Helsinki University Library.

Use the check-in machine to return your borrowed materials. The Helsinki University Library locations (the Main Library, Kumpula Campus Library) have book drop boxes where you can return books outside opening hours. Books returned to drop boxes will be logged during the next day’s opening hours.

Reserving books

You can use the Helka database to make a reservation for any material at the Library. Reservations can be made for material on loan as well as for material available at the library. Textbooks can only be reserved if all the copies are on loan. Short-term loan materials cannot be reserved.

Collect and loan the reserved material as self-service from the pickup shelf. You can borrow reserved material only with the same card you used for the request.

You can make reservations free of charge, but a fee will be charged for any uncollected requests. If you no longer need your reserved material, cancel your reservation in your Helka customer information.

Read electronic materials with remote access

The Helsinki University Library has acquired rights to a wide collection of electronic books, journals and databases. More detailed instructions on the use of e-books can be found in the library's e-book guide. Electronic journals and books are available for use in the University of Helsinki’s eduroam or HelsinkiUni Guest online network. The students of the University of Helsinki also have an option to use the electronic materials with remote access. To use remote access you need a permit to use the University of Helsinki network.

Detailed instructions for remote access through Helka

Retrieve scientific information

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You can get started on information retrieval with the help of Helka database

  • Searching the library collections allows you to search electronic and printed books, journals and databases acquired for the Helka libraries.
  • In addition, using the article search you can find international articles. 

Not all the material that the University library has acquired for students shows in the Helka database. You can search for your own discipline’s central databases in ResearchGuides that collects library’s information sources and services from the viewpoint of each research field. 

You can revise the basics of  information seeking from the Student’s Digital Skills web materials. 

Learn information seeking

Do you need sources for your thesis?

You can extend your knowledge with the library’s online course for information seeking and management.

You can also learn information retrieval at on-campus courses organized by the library. Training is offered for increasing the efficiency of information retrieval for your thesis, as well as supporting the use of reference management programs.

See the library course selection.

Guidance on information seeking

The library also offers guidance on information seeking. You will get more out of the guidance if you have familiarised yourself with information seeking in advance by taking the Library’s online course or contact teaching on the topic.

Library working spaces and services

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The Helsinki University Library sites have various working spaces: group facilities, computer rooms, and reading areas for independent working in silence.   

All the campus libraries have group facilities. Group facilities can be reserved with the university user account in the Outlook calendar for every specific space.  

Most of the computers can be found in Learning Centre Aleksandria, where it is possible to study late in the evening when the libraries are closed.
Please be considerate towards other customers and follow the library rules

Mobile storage units for storing material for thesis work

Students of the University of Helsinki can borrow a mobile storage unit for storing material needed in their research or thesis work. The storage trolleys make it easy to store and move working materials around the library facilities. The storage units can be found in all library locations as well as in Learning Centre Aleksandria and Learning Centre Minerva. Read more about the mobile storage units on the library's website.

Printing, copying and scanning

Helsinki University Library has multifunction printers for customer use. University community uses multifunction printers with a personal ID card, other customers via Print in City service. Instructions on using the multifunction printers can be found on the Helsinki University Library website.

Laptop Lender

The IT Center’s Laptop Lender will serve university degree students and staff 24/7 on the third floor of the Kaisa House. Get a Lenovo laptop to use for for hours at a time from the Laptop Lender machine.

Contact information

The customer service staff at every Helsinki University Library site are happy to help with any arising questions concerning the use of the library.  

The service phone numbers work in all the library sites during the customer service opening hours.  

If you have any questions or you would like to give feedback on the library services you can also contact us with the chat window found on the web site or with a feedback form.

Follow the library on FacebookTwitter @hulib and Instagram @helunilib