4 Things You Didn't Know You Can Do at the University Library

Sure, there's the borrowing of books and finding a chair to study in, but the University of Helsinki library has much more to offer besides the obvious. Their services are catered to students and staff at the university, and here is how you can make the most out of them.


1. Book a group work space

This is one of the basics, but still important to mention since it may not be completely obvious to those who have never tried it. It is actually easier than you might think. Say you need space for your reading circle, group project, or society meeting. The University library has several rooms to choose from depending on how many people you need space for. Most of the rooms are at City Centre Kaisa and Aleksandria, but some are available also in Minerva at Siltavuorenpenger, Kumpula, and Terkko in Meilahti. To book your room, go to the library’s website and book your favourite. Note that you can use a room even without booking it first as long as there's no one else using it.


2. Take a course in information search and management

Chances are, this opportunity was mentioned to you when you first arrived at the university but by the time you are finally at the stage of producing your thesis you have already forgotten about it. Especially master's or doctoral thesis writers working on their literature review should consider taking courses offered by the library. Available as a MOOC, this flexible course teaches you to find and manage your literature and references, a lifesaving skill when you’re working with anything bigger than an end-of-course essay (but useful even then)! Courses are offered in both Finnish and English: the library site has more general information as well as a list of upcoming courses.

Alternatively, if you only have a small question you need help with, you can pop in at an Information seeking workshop. The library staff are data management professionals and happy to help you find the information you're looking for. Organized every Monday 3–7 pm in Kaisa, room 5057, no pre-registration is needed to join these sessions.

The National Library. Photo: Wikimedia commons.


3. Request new books to the collection

So the interesting sounding tome you read about on Google Scholar or in the reference section of an article isn't available at the University library? "Well, I guess I'll just leave it out..." Hold up, because as a student of the university you can request the university to acquire the book or journal you need. To request the acquisition of a book or a journal, you only need to fill in a form with information on the book – including at least name and author(s) – and you’re good to go. New acquisitions are made primarily made in electronic form, but you can sign up to get a notification by email when the new book is available.


4. Use multiple facilities

Chances are you usually stick to your own campus library, but suppose that you actually live closer to some other than your home campus, you might be happy to know that you are welcome to both pick up and return books to whichever library you want – so if you live in Viikki area and don't want to go all the way to City Center to pick up a reserved book, you can get it sent to Viikki instead. If you for any reason are located further from Helsinki – say, during a holiday – and really need that book, you can also look into interlibrary loans.

So perhaps you already knew the above, but did you know that besides campus libraries, your University library card also gets you access any other Helka library? What this means in practice is that you can use the same card to borrow books from the following libraries:


Bonus tip: Become a bookworm

Unless you are majoring in literature, you may not have thought about the University library as a source of fiction, but the university sure has a collection of that too, especially older classics. From Finland and around the world - pretty much any country researchers at the University study is represented here. Your new source of novels, short stories and poetry is located primarily on floor K3 of the Main Library. Happy reading!