Library visits

Updated: 17 Apr 2019
Next update: 24 Apr 2020

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. There were altogether 736 main public libraries, branch libraries and institutional libraries across the country in 2018. This was over 21 per cent fewer than in 2000. Mobile libraries numbered 135, 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 2018, the collections of public libraries comprised more than 30 million books and 4.1 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. Almost 2 million persons, or over 35 per cent of the population in Finland, borrowed something from a library in 2018. Over the 2000-2018 period, the share of borrowers in the total population fell by nearly 12 percentage points.

Altogether almost 50 million physical library visits and 38 million virtual library visits via the web were recorded in 2018. The decrease in the number of visits has come to an end. Virtual visits exceeded physical visits for the first time in 2010. In 2018 the number of virtual visits grew by almost 3 per cent compared to 2017. Expressed per capita, there were nine physical visits and 15.3 loans in 2018.