Library for everyone
Helsinki University Library serves its customers on all four University campuses. The libraries' doors are open to all with a thirst for knowledge. This page presents the services that are accessible to all without a University of Helsinki user account.
Become a library customer

In order to borrow, renew and request printed materials at all Helsinki University Library locations, you will need a Helka library card.

In the Helka database, you can search for material from both the Helsinki University Library and other Helka libraries, and see the availability and location of the material in different libraries.

By logging in, you have access to all self-service functions in Helka. You can renew and request materials from the library’s printed collections.

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

Helka Library Card

A Helka card can be granted to persons over the age of 15 who present an official ID card and have a valid street address in Finland, with the exception of exchange students and researchers from abroad who can be granted a card regardless of the aforementioned terms.

The card is valid only in Helka libraries which include, in addition to Helsinki University Library, five specialised libraries outside the University.

The library card is personal and as its holder you commit to following the rules of all Helka libraries. Notify the library immediately if you lose your card. A small fee will be charged for the issuing of a new library card.

If you need assistance with accessing the library services, for example due to a physical disability, you may get your card marked for special services.

How do I get a library card?

Helka library card via the Studies Service

Students at the University of Helsinki can acquire a digital Helka library card via the Studies Service. If you acquire a digital Helka card, you do not need a plastic Helka 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.
  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.

Once you have the library card, you can request books, renew loans and, when necessary, pay overdue fines 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.

Helka library card from the customer service desk

If you prefer a 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.

Once you have the library card, you can request books, renew loans and, when necessary, pay overdue fines 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.

  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.

 

Once you have the library card, you can request books and renew loans 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 of any changes in your contact information.

  1. Acquire a Helka library card with the online form. On the first stage you only need to give your email address. Helka will then send a link to your e-mail, which you can click to fill in the information required for the library card. 
  2. After you get the Welcome email from the Helka database, your Helka card is ready for pick-up. You can pick up your card from any Helsinki University Library location during customer service hours. Please remember to bring an official ID card.
  3. Once you have the library card, you can request books, renew loans, update your customer data in the Helka database and, when necessary, pay overdue fines.
  4. 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. You need to have a valid e-mail in the system to be able to log in to Helka.
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.
Self-study areas and equipment

All library locations provide plenty of reading and working space for all customers. In the library, you will find spaces for working both while seated and standing up. In addition to the traditional reading spaces equipped with only a desk and a chair, the library provides a variety of spaces with armchairs and couches for a more relaxed reading position.

Reading and working areas are marked with orange signs.

Please note that some of the reading spaces are intended to be used exclusively by University of Helsinki students, researchers and staff. These spaces are marked with signs.

Silent areas in the library facilities and Learning Centres are marked with red and they are reserved for quiet work. The workspaces in the silent areas are mostly equipped only with a desk and a chair.

Please note that some of the silent reading spaces are intended to be used exclusively by University of Helsinki students, researchers and staff. These spaces are marked with signs.

The small silent reading room on the second floor of Kaisa House is reserved for work without laptops, but in other silent areas the use of laptops is allowed.

An accessible work room (6042) is available on the sixth floor of Kaisa House.

The work room is primarily intended for customers who use wheelchairs and for customers who wish to work while standing.

The room has reading and study space for one to four people and two easily adjustable electric desks.

The room cannot be booked.

The library has designated phone areas and booths which are meant for making calls.

Do not take up a phone area as a personal reading or study space. 

Phone areas can be found in the Main Library, the Kumpula Campus Library and the Meilahti Campus Library in Terkko Health Hub.

If a phone area is not available or you cannot find one, please make your call somewhere to the side, so you do not disturb others.

You can use your own laptop at all library locations.

If you do not have a University of Helsinki user account, you can use HelsinkiUni Guest network to access e-resources with your own devide.

The password of the HelsinkiUni Guest network is uniguest. Members of the University community can use the Eduroam network.

You can print from your own device or from a library terminal using the Print In City service.

The library provides terminals for use by all customers. 

You can use the library terminals to browse the Helka database, read the licensed electronic materials acquired by the library, log in to your Helka user profile as well as search and read the digitally stored theses of the University of Helsinki.

The library terminals also provide you with access to customer functions in the Helka database, such as saving your searches and favourites as well as saving and forwarding references to your own email address.

Please note that the library terminals do not provide regular access to the internet and you will not be able to work on your own files using them.

University of Helsinki students and staff can use the terminals to log in to their personal user accounts with their University IDs.

In the Kaisa House, microfilm reader is located on the fourth floor in room 4044. Lense for microfilm reader is available from the customer service desk on the third floor by giving your library card as a deposit.

Customers from outside the University of Helsinki can book a microfilm reader from the Kaisa House customer service or via email at kirjasto@helsinki.fi.

Students and staff of the University of Helsinki can book the equipment in the special work rooms through the University’s Office365 calendar.

Name of the device in the Office365 calendar:

  • Kaisa-talo, Microfilm Reader and Scanner, 4044
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. The library staff will be happy to help you if you have any problems with using the printers.

The multifunction printers can be used with a personal ID card and the University of Helsinki user account for copying, scanning and printing. When using a multifunction printer for the first time, you will need to register an ID card (for example, an HSL travel card) using your own University username and password.

University of Helsinki students can add credit for using the multifunction printers at Unigrafia’s print quota shop.

You can copy and scan documents by using the Print In City service even if you do not have a University of Helsinki user ID. The service allows you to add credit for printing, copying and scanning.

You can print from the library terminals using the Print In City service or save PDF documents or HTML pages to your own USB flash drive.

The default print option is double-sided black and white. If you require single-sided or colour printing, you can select these options in Print In City.

When saving to your USB flash drive, the file is first loaded on to the library terminal’s cache memory. After this, you can save the file to your USB flash drive in File Manager. Please note that the files are deleted automatically from the cache memory when you close the browser window or when the library terminal has been inactive for two minutes. 

Print­ing with Print In City for the first time 

When you are using the Print In City service for the first time, you must sign up to the service and purchase credit.

NB! You can log in to the Print In City service on library terminals only to print – signing up to the service and adding credit to your account require using your own device (laptop, smart phone or tablet).

A link to the Print In City service is available on the bookmark toolbar of the library terminals. Instructions on how to sign up and add credit to your print account are available in the Print In City service. 

You can pick up your printout from the nearest Print In City device within 48 hours of uploading your file(s). Your account will be charged only when you print out your document from the device.

How to print us­ing a Print In City device

  1. On the library terminal, click Print on the browser or PDF reader.
  2. Select Print to file. You can name the file by clicking File:
  3. Give the file a name of your choice in the Name: field and click Select. Naming the files is recommended if you are going to print several files so that you can also tell them apart on the device.
  4. Select Print. The file is now saved in the Downloads folder.
  5. Log in to Print In City. A link to the Print In City service is available on the bookmark toolbar of the library terminals.
  6. Upload the file(s) as instructed in the service.
  7. Pick up your printout(s) from the nearest Print In City device.

How to save files to your USB flash drive

  1. Click the Download button on a PDF file.
  2. Insert your flash drive into the library terminal’s USB port. Some library terminals have a USB extension cable (Kaisa House) and on some terminals the USB ports can be found on the left-hand side of the screens (Meilahti, Kumpula, Viikki).
  3. Open File Manager
  4. Open the Downloads folder.
  5. Make sure that your USB flash drive name is available on the Places list on the left.
  6. Using the mouse, drag and drop the file onto your USB drive name. The file is now saved on your USB drive.
  7. After saving, safely remove your USB drive by clicking the Eject button next to the USB drive name.
Follow the rules in the library premises

Instructions for use of the premises are summarised in the library rules. You will find other rules, such as the rights and responsibilities of the customer and the library, in the Helsinki University Library Terms of Use.

  • Green zone: Social spaces, recreational facilities, group study rooms
  • Orange zone: Working spaces, reading and study areas
  • Red zone: Silent spaces, some of the reading and study spaces

Follow the instructions for the corona situation displayed in the library. The safety of our customers and staff is important to us.

Each customer is responsible for following these safety instructions in all Library premises.

  • Protective face masks can be used at the Library at your own discretion.
    • You can get a face mask from the building’s porter for free, or buy one from the library’s customer service.
  • Keep adequate distance from other customers and library staff.
  • Please take care of hand hygiene.
  • Only visit the library when you're healthy.
  • Use disinfectant towels to clean shared devices.
    • You can get disinfectant towels from library’s customer service or from the building’s porter.

The library’s reading and study areas are general purpose areas, marked as the orange zone. In the orange zone, talking quietly is allowed, and this is the generally appropriate voice level for the library.

Please note that some of the reading spaces are intended to be used exclusively by University of Helsinki students, researchers and staff. These spaces are marked with signs.

Do not leave personal property unattended and watch out for thieves. Also make sure your bag or other belongings do not take over the spaces near you, preferably keeping them in the lockers.

When using a reading space, you may leave for a short period, but no longer than 30 minutes. Leave a note indicating the time of departure, but please remember that a note alone is not sufficient to reserve the space. If you are away for more than half an hour, another customer is authorised to take your place and put your belongings aside – they do not need to ask the library staff to do so. The library is not responsible for things you leave behind at the reading space.

Please make phone calls in the designated phone areas or somewhere to the side, so you do not disturb others.

Keep the rooms tidy and clean up after yourself. Please eat your packed lunch in the recreational facilities.

Some of the desks in the library’s general working areas are fitted with computers. Similarly to the reading areas, computer desks and rooms are marked as the orange zone where talking quietly is allowed.

All computers in the library customer facilities require logging with a University of Helsinki user account, that is, they are meant to be used only by the University's students and staff. You are required to observe the IT Centre terms of use when using the computers.  

Do not leave personal property unattended and watch out for thieves. Also make sure your bag and other belongings do not take over the spaces near you, preferably keeping them in the lockers.

When using a computer desk, you may leave for a short period, but no longer than 30 minutes. Leave a note indicating the time of departure, but please remember that a note alone is not sufficient to reserve the space. If you are away for more than half an hour, another customer is authorised to take your place and put your belongings aside – they do not need to ask the library staff to do so. The library is not responsible for things you leave behind at the computer desk.

Please make phone calls in the designated phone areas or somewhere to the side, so you do not disturb others.

Keep the computer desks and rooms tidy and clean up after yourself. Please eat your packed lunch in the recreational facilities.

Silent areas are marked with red and they are reserved for quiet work.

Please keep all your devices in silent mode and work quietly. Be considerate and let others work in peace.

Please note that some of the silent areas are intended to be used exclusively by University of Helsinki students, researchers and staff. These spaces are marked with signs.

The small silent reading room on the second floor of Kaisa House is reserved for work without laptops, but in other silent areas the use of laptops is allowed.

Do not leave personal property unattended and watch out for thieves. Also make sure your bag or other belongings do not take over the spaces near you, preferably keeping them in the lockers.

When using a reading space, you may leave for a short period, but no longer than 30 minutes. Leave a note indicating the time of departure, but please remember that a note alone is not sufficient to reserve the space. If you are away for more than half an hour, another customer is authorised to take your place and put your belongings aside – they do not need to ask the library staff to do so. The library is not responsible for things you leave behind at the reading space.

Keep the silent areas tidy and clean up after yourself. Please eat your packed lunch in the recreational facilities. Please make phone calls in the designated phone areas or somewhere to the side, so you do not disturb others.