Library visits 

Updated: 16.6.2017 - Next update: 31.5.2018

Use of public libraries

Figures on the use of libraries have been falling in recent years. About 2 million persons, or 36 per cent of the population in Finland borrowed something from a library in 2016. Over the 2000-2016 period, the share of borrowers in the total population fell by more than 11 percentage points.

Altogether more than 49 million physical library visits and almost 42 million virtual library visits via the web were recorded in 2016. The number of physical visits has fallen by 23 per cent since 2000. Virtual visits exceeded physical visits for the first time in 2010, but in 2016 the number of virtual visits was over 7 million less than the number of physical visits. Expressed per capita, there were 9 physical visits and less than 16 loans.

Statistics Finland / Cultural statistics & Ministry of Education and Culture

Description of indicator

The Finnish library network has been scaled down in recent years, but it is still quite extensive by international comparison. There were altogether 743 main public libraries, branch libraries and institutional libraries across the country in 2016. This was over 20 per cent fewer than in 2000. Mobile libraries numbered 137, or 32 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 2016, the collections of public libraries comprised more than 31 million books and 4.2 million items of other material. During the past few years, especially the number of books has decreased.