Saturday, 24 July 2010

The National Library of Finland

Moving on... No more beaches for today. :P I love spending time in libraries and I have to say that generally speaking, Finnish libraries seem a lot better than English ones. They tend to be bigger and maintained better, and most of the services are free. Borrowing books is still free in England (or at least in Wolverhampton and Dudley it is) but you have to pay if you want to borrow cds, dvds or other things like that, which tends to be free in Finland. Well, at least the selection of books in English is better here. ;)

I received this gorgeous postcard from the Finnish Summer RR on the postcrossing forum. It's been such a fun RR so far and I've received a lot of great cards.

The National Library of Finland (Finnish: Kansalliskirjasto, Swedish: Nationalbibliotek) is the foremost research library in Finland. Organizatorily, the library is part of the University of Helsinki. Until 1 August 2006, it was known as the Library of the University of Helsinki.

In addition to being the most important of the libraries of the University of Helsinki, the National Library is responsible for storing the Finnish cultural heritage. By Finnish law, the National Library is entitled to receive five copies of all matter printed in Finland. These copies are then distributed by the Library to its own national collection and to reserve collections of four other university libraries. In addition, the National Library has the right to store in to its collection any material published on the Internet.

Any person domiciled in Finland may register as a user of the National Library, and after this, borrow library material for home use. The publications in the national collection, however, are not loaned outside the library. The library contains one of the most comprehensive collections of books published in the Russian Empire of any library in the world.

The National Library is located in a library complex in the heart of Helsinki, right by Senaatintori square. The oldest part of the complex, designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, dates back to 1844. The newer extension Rotunda dates to 1903. The bulk of the collection is, nonetheless, stored in Kirjaluola (Finnish for Bookcave), a 57,600-cubic-metre underground bunker drilled into solid rock, 18 metres below the library.

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