Library visits

Updated: 20 Apr 2018
Next update: 31 May 2019

The Finnish library network has been scaled down in recent years, but it is still quite extensive by international comparison. There were altogether 737 main public libraries, branch libraries and institutional libraries across the country in 2017. This was over 21 per cent fewer than in 2000. Mobile libraries numbered 134, or 33 per cent fewer than in 2000.

Apart from the density of the service network, the quality of library services is also influenced by the volume and contents of library collections. Today, libraries also offer a variety of services via the web. In 2017, the collections of public libraries comprised almost 31 million books and 4.2 million items of other material. During the past few years, especially the number of books has decreased.


Use of public libraries

Figures on the use of libraries have been falling in recent years. About 1.9 million persons, or 35 per cent of the population in Finland, borrowed something from a library in 2017. Over the 2000-2017 period, the share of borrowers in the total population fell by 12 percentage points.

Altogether more than 50 million physical library visits and almost 37 million virtual library visits via the web were recorded in 2017. Virtual visits exceeded physical visits for the first time in 2010. In 2017 the number of virtual visits fell by almost 12 per cent compared to 2016, and the number of virtual visits was 13 million lower than the number of physical visits. Expressed per capita, there were nine physical visits and 15.5 loans in 2017.