Borrowing and renewals

You can borrow, and renew loans for, almost all materials in the Helsinki University Library collections. Materials that are not available for loan can be read in the library.

Use the self-service lending machines to check out books. In order to use the library's self-service lending machines, you need a pin code. You can set the pin code in your customer information in the Helka database. The pin code must be four digits.

Loan periods for all materials are displayed in the Helka database. You are personally responsible for all materials borrowed on your library card, so please remember to check the loan periods from your user details in Helka.

The collections also include theses, dissertations and other materials not available for home loans.

Loan periods at Helsinki University Library are as follows:

  • Textbooks: 14 or 28 days, the loan period varies depending on location and title
  • Short-term loans of textbooks: 2 days
  • Other than textbooks and parts of series: 28 days
  • Academic journals: No home loans

Renew your loans in Helka database by logging in to your customer account. You are able to renew all your loans from Helka libraries at the same time.

  • The library does not guarantee that loans can always be successfully renewed, so please do this before the due date.
  • There is an overdue fine for loans returned late.
  • A loan cannot be renewed if there are requests for the item or if your borrowing rights have been suspended.

From the details of each of your loan, you can see the date until which you can renew the loan. When loans reach the renewal limit, the books must be returned to the library.

Your borrowing rights will be suspended in all Helka libraries 14 days after the loan period has expired or if you have total unpaid fines of €15 or more.

  • Suspensions apply to all Helka libraries and prevent borrowing, reservation and the renewal of loans.
  • Your borrowing rights will be reinstated once you have returned the material leading to the suspension and paid the fines.
  • The longer you wait, the larger the fine will be.
  • Remember that you can always ask customer service for advice if you do not know what to do. In urgent cases, please phone +358 2941 23920.

Overdue loans will be handed over to a collection agency, when they are one month overdue.

  • In that case the customer has to pay compensation for the lost material (minimum €80 per item),
  • the fines incurred and
  • the collection fees.

The compensation fee need not be paid if the material is returned. Even in such cases, overdue fines and collection fees do still have to be paid.

The library sends out a reminder (second overdue notice) and warns about the collection before the matter is forwarded to a collection agency.

User rights for elec­tronic re­sources

Electronic resources of the library can be used by the students, teachers, researchers and staff of the University of Helsinki, students of the Open University of the University of Helsinki and all customers visiting the library premises.

Accessing the electronic resources from outside the library locations via a remote connection requires a University user account.  

If you are an external customer, you can access the electronic resources at the library premises either by using the library terminals or on your own laptop via a a HelsinkiUni guest network. The password to the guest network is uniguest.

Log in to Helka

By logging in to Helka, you’ll have access to all self-service functions. You can reserve books, renew your loans and, if necessary, pay fees related to your customer information.

  1. Log in by selecting “University of Helsinki login”.
  2. In your customer information you will find your loans, reservations and fees.
  3. On the My Account tab, you can see your contact information and set the PIN you need to borrow books from the self check-out machines.
  4. Do not update your contact information in Helka, as your address and other contact information will be automatically updated in Helka from the background systems of the university. Therefore, if your contact information changes, it is enough to notify the university's systems (eg. Sisu/Sap).

Logging in to Helka requires that you have provided the library with your email address.

  1. Select “Login by Email” to log in.
  2. Helka will send a link to your e-mail, which you can click to log in to Helka. The link is valid for a limited time.
  3. In your customer information you will find your loans, reservations and fees.
  4. On the My Account tab, you can check your contact information and set the PIN you need to borrow books from the self check-out machines. You can update the contact information from the link “Change”.
If you do not provide the library with your email ad­dress
  • You cannot log in to your own customer information in Helka
  • You do not see due dates in your customer information and do not receive due date reminders
  • You cannot renew your loans yourself
  • You cannot make reservations yourself and do not receive notification when the item you have reserved is ready for collection
  • You cannot pay fees online.

Helka is the joint catalogue and lending system of all Helka libraries, that is, Helsinki University Library, Institute for the Languages of Finland, The Finnish Heritage Agency Library, Finnish Literature Society, Library of the Labour Movement and Baltia-Library.

By obtaining a library card, you commit to following the terms of use for all Helka libraries.

  • Doing so, your customer data will be entered into the Helka customer register.
  • You can view your customer data by logging in to your Helka profile.

The Helka customer register will send you only email reminders relating to services.

  • These include overdue notices, notices of reservations ready for collection and reminders of items due for return or renewal.

As a customer, you are responsible for keeping your user data up to date.

  • If you are a student or staff of the University of Helsinki, your address and 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. 
  • Other customers (no university user account) are able to update their customer data in the Helka database.