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 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. 

  1. In order to get the card, activate your customer information in Helka database by signing in with your Helsinki University user credentials.
  2. Start using the Helka card digitally or collect your card from Helsinki University Library.

Students at the University of Helsinki can acquire a digital Helka library card via the Studies Service. The digital library card will be ready to use straight away. Remember to log in to the service first. If you acquire a Helka card via the Studies Service, you do not need a plastic Helka card.

If you want to have a physical library card, collect the card from a customer service desk at Helsinki University Library during opening hours after activating your customer account. Please remember to bring an official ID card with you.

For further information on obtaining a Helka card, see the Helsinki University Library website.

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 the background systems of the University of Helsinki. So, please notify university services (eg. Sisu) of any changes in your contact information. 

The Helka library card also works in special Helka libraries, external to the university. To borrow from the collections of the National Library of Finland you need a National Library card.

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.

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 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 (in Finnish).

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 offers also 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 and contact teaching on the topic.

Guidance Corner organises regular guidance sessions on information retrieval for theses and the use of electronic publications.


Study at the library

The Helsinki University Library sites have various different 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.  

You can print and copy in every library site. The multifunction printers work with a personal ID card and they can be used for copying, printing, and scanning.  You can download balance for the ID card from the Unigrafia online printing shop
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.

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