Library: Loans and Interlibrary Loans

Neuvonta ja lainauspalvelut kirjaston ensimmäisessä kerroksessa. SKS KIA. Kuvaaja: Milla Eräsaari.
Neuvonta ja lainauspalvelut kirjaston ensimmäisessä kerroksessa. SKS KIA. Kuvaaja: Milla Eräsaari.
The Library of SKS is a special library open to everyone.

The library

  • issues loans for regular checkout or reading room only
  • orders loans from other libraries for its users
  • fulfills interlibrary loan requests from other institutions.

Materials available for regular checkout consist mainly of materials published in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

The following materials may only be used in the reading room:

  • material housed in the reference library
  • the most recent issues of periodicals
  • publications that form part of the special collections
  • books published before 1900.

The library card

The Helka library card is valid for Helsinki University Library, the Finnish National Library and five special libraries. You can get it free of charge at a customer service desk at any Helka library. If you lose your card you will have to pay a fee in order to obtain a new one. 

To get a card, you must present a valid identity card. You may obtain the card if

  • you are over 15 years old
  • you live in Finland and have a Finnish identity number.

If you are a foreigner living in Finland, you may apply for a personal identity number at the registry office. If you are an exchange student at the University of Helsinki, you will be issued a personal identity number from the university.

The Helka card is only valid for the person to whom it was issued: the holder is responsible for all the material borrowed and agrees to comply with the rules for the use of the libraries.

Report to the library if

  • you lose your card
  • your contact information changes (you can also update your account with your new information in the Helka database)
  • your name or personal identity number changes.

Loan period and loan renewals

For SKS library loans, the lending period is 28 days.

Loans can be renewed using the online Helka database or by contacting the library. Renewal will not succeed if

  • the item has been reserved by another patron
  • you have been banned from borrowing
  • you have renewed the loan 50 times.


We will give you a reminder

  • of the impending due date by e-mail, if you have included your email address in your account information
  • of overdue loans by e-mail or letter.

Make a note of the due date of your loans. You can check due dates by logging into your account in the Helka database. Overdue fines must be paid even if you did not receive a reminder of due dates due to technical or other reasons.

Material borrowed from the SKS Library can only be returned to the SKS Library. When the library is closed, you can return your loans to the drop box on the library’s Mariankatu Street door. Materials returned after-hours to the drop box will be checked in the following business day.

Loans from other libraries cannot be returned to the SKS Library.

Overdue loans and loan ban

In the event of unreturned items, we will send two reminders to the address you provided us.

If you return or renew your items late, you will accrue late fines. If you do not pay your fines within 14 days, you will be banned from checking out any new items. You will also be banned from checking out any new items if unpaid service fees reach 15 euros or more at any Helka library.

The ban on loans will be enforced at all Helka libraries, and it will also prevent you from renewing items and submitting requests. The ban will be lifted when you return the overdue materials and pay your fines or when you provide compensation for lost or damaged items.

If the loan is not returned despite the reminders, the matter will go to a collection agency. There will also be a charge for recovery costs.

Ordering material from the closed stacks collections

Using the online Helka database, you can see if the item you would like is in the open shelf collection or in the closed stacks. You can obtain material from the closed stacks by making a call slip request. You can do this

To place a call slip request you must first logg in to Helka search service. Go to Holdings tab and select SKS:n kirjasto, then click Place a Storage Retrieval Request. 

If you have included your email address in your account information in the Helka database, we will notify you by e-mail when the material is available for pick-up.


Requests for material that is currently checked out may be placed

  • by using the Helka online database or
  • by contacting the Library.

Requests for material are placed free of charge; however, there is a penalty fee (see price list) if requested items are not picked up or if the request is not cancelled by the last pick-up day.

Interlibrary loan service


  • order loans from other libraries for our patrons
  • provide interlibrary loans to other institutions.

The interlibrary loan service carries a fee.

Interlibrary loan instructions for the individual patrons

If the publication you need is not available in the metropolitan area libraries, we can order it for you other libraries in Finland or abroad. Please contact the library's customer service desk.

If you are elsewhere in the country or outside Finland and would like to request an item from our collection, please contact your own library to arrange the loan.

Interlibrary loan instructions for libraries

To request an item from our collection, libraries can submit interlibrary loan requests through our ILL request form or by contacting the library's interlibrary loan service.