National Library of Finland – beauty, function and that library quiet

Written by Library Planet editor Marie Eiriksson, library consultant at Gladsaxe Public Libraries, Denmark.

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In febuary is was lucky enough to visit the Finland National library, the oldest scholarly library in Finland. It is also one of the University of Helsinki’s biggest independent institutes. The library is responsible for collection, description, preservation and accessibility of Finland’s printed national heritage.

The Library underwent a massive renovation between 2013 and 2015 and reopened to the public in spring 2016.

The doorways and wooden floors in the reading halls were restored and the ceiling murals in the foyers were reconstructed.

This library is both beautiful and functional.

Even though the beauty of the vast rooms and leaterbound toomes between marble pillers was what caught my eyes first, it didn’t take long to notice that the library was full of quiet people studying and going to and from the old shelves.

Even though the library is old and very true to Its roots, they also had little nods to new tech used to show and tease different parts of the collection.

The library’s collections has three million books and three million other publications. This is placed on 115 kilometres of shelf space.

There is also an enormous collection of digitalised material.Beautiful open room with the reference desk in the center.All of the beautiful pillars had carvings of flowers and birds and I must admit I lost myself in those for a while.The study areas were impressive and silent as the grave. Everyone in there seemed lost in study and the and even the doors were quiet.There is a small cafeteria in the basement below the library. It’s is not a destination in it self but seemed like a nice quiet place for the scolars roaming the halls to get a snack or a cup of coffee.

Almost all the study spaces we saw were occupied.

Every nook and cranny in the huge library and the underground connecting halls had that hushed and pleasant old library quiet.

The Finland National library is next to the Senate Square and Helsinki Cathedral. The whole area is full of beautiful and noteworthy buildings.

If you are in the area, make sure to also visit the Helsinki City Museum. We were intertained for several hours there, both being part of the exhibition in a typical finish appartment, hearing songs about Helsinki from different decades on a jukebox and learning about the Helsinki prison, skateboarder culture and much much more. The museum also has a wonderfull childrens department and a great little cafe and shop. Entrance is free.


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