Library visits

Updated: 26 Apr 2021
Next update: 26 Apr 2022

The Finnish library network has been scaled down in recent years, but it is still quite extensive by international comparison. The decrease in the number of libraries has slowed down. In 2020, there were altogether 731 main public libraries, branch libraries and institutional libraries across the country. This was 22 per cent fewer than in 2000. Mobile libraries numbered 137.

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 2020, the collections of public libraries comprised about 29 million books and about four million items of other material. During the past few years, especially the number of books has decreased.


Use of public libraries

Due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the use of libraries slowed down somewhat in 2020. About 1.8 million persons, or 33 per cent of the population in Finland, borrowed something from a library in 2020. One year earlier, the share was still 36 per cent.

Altogether more than 35 million physical library visits and almost 50 million virtual library visits via the web were recorded in 2020. The number of physical visits decreased by nearly 35 per cent from the previous year, while the number of virtual visits grew by over six per cent. Virtual visits exceeded physical visits for the first time in 2010. Expressed per capita, there were about six physical visits and 13 loans in 2020.