Helsinki City Library’s collection policy 

Helsinki City Library’s collection management is based on the Public Libraries Act and the strategy and values of the City of Helsinki. The aim is to form a diverse and multi-voiced collection that strives to take into account both the high demand for popular new book releases and the provision of works by small publishers and new authors to the library’s clients. Helsinki City Library is part of the Helmet library network in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. Clients can use the materials of the libraries of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen with a joint library card.    


Helsinki City Library has a shared floating collection, and library materials are selected in a centralised manner by selection groups consisting of library professionals. The selection groups have been divided, for example, according to the following principles: language, target group (children/adults) and material type.

The library operates in a financially responsible manner and within the framework of its material appropriation. Procurements are tendered and orders are placed with the selected suppliers. Direct procurement applies to a small share of the materials. The allocation of material appropriations between different types of material is made annually and attention is paid to, among other things, the material loan amounts and the population base of the city.

Clients can submit acquisition requests and donate materials to the library. However, the decision on acquisitions and acceptance of a donation is always made by the library. The library procurement focuses on new materials.

Library materials float according to client needs

Helsinki City Library has a shared floating collection. In practice, the floating collection means that the materials in the libraries do not belong to a specific library. Instead, the materials move between different libraries according to client needs and use. An AI-based logistics system operates on the background of the floating collection and it sends library materials to where they are needed the most. The materials, for which there is no room or demand in the libraries, are stored in a material depository located in Pasila, from where the materials are moved to different libraries according to the needs of the libraries and client reservations.

Floating allows varying the local collections. Borrowing activities of clients also affect the collection content of an individual library. Clients can make reservations for the materials they need and collect them at the library of their choice free of charge. The collection is being constantly renewed and the condition and use of the materials are actively assessed at the libraries.

Disposal and storage of materials 

Materials are disposed of due to falling demand, wear and tear or outdated content. The library’s logistics system produces data to support collection management. Materials removed from the collection are sold to clients, donated or recycled. 

Some of the physical materials are stored in the Helmet book depository in Pasila or in the music depository in Tikkurila. The purpose of the shared storage of the Helmet libraries is to make available materials that are of cultural importance and high in demand. Materials are also stored in the National Repository Library in Kuopio, from where they are available through the remote service. 

Digital materials form a growing share of the library material offering 

Helsinki City Library offers digital materials to its clients free of charge, including magazines, audiobooks and books. Digital services range from individual works to larger service entities. The library procures them according to availability. When procuring digital materials, its impact on the procurement of printed materials is evaluated. The library offers options to its clients and the client chooses the format of their liking. Digital materials are procured in cooperation with the other Helmet libraries, and national cooperation plays also a role in the procurement of materials. The goal is to provide clients with high-quality offerings in a financially sound manner. 

Client involvement to be developed in collection work 

The library is a basic service of the citizens, and the library aims to develop its collections according to the needs and wishes of its clients. Client involvement is important in collection work, and ways to promote it will be developed and implemented together with citizens. Study materials, such as the most common textbooks, are procured only for the needs of the public library.