Frequently asked questions about the fee for uncollected reservations

Why are you introducing a fee for uncollected reservations?

More than 2.8 million reservations are processed in the Helmet cities – Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen – every year. As the reservation volumes increase, so does the number of reservations that no one picks up from the libraries. In the Helmet cities, 14 per cent of reservations, on average, meaning about 400,000 items, are left uncollected every year.

How high is the fee?

EUR 1 per uncollected reservation (such as a book or a record)

Where is the harm in leaving reservations uncollected?

The reservation queues move slowly when the materials sit on the shelves for several days. We also need to transport books and other reservations unnecessarily between libraries.

What good does the fee do?

The aim of the fee is to encourage customers to pick up or cancel their reservations so that the books circulate faster and the queues become shorter.

I did not receive a text message, e-mail notification or letter about my reservations in time. Do I still need to pay the fee for the reservations?

The fee will be charged even if the pick-up notification has not arrived due to a delivery error, a fault in the telecommunications, or another reason. You can also check the status of your reservations via your profile in the Helmet search or Taskukirjasto. You can also ask about your reservations by calling or visiting the library.

How do I subscribe to notifications about reservations?

If you have saved your phone number in your customer information using the country code for Finland (e.g. +358 501 234 567), you will receive a text message notification about the reservation.

Could we have the option to freeze reservations in Taskukirjasto?

Freezing holds functionality was added to the latest version of the Taskukirjasto app in July 2021. You can start using this functionality by updating the app.  

Could you change the option to freeze a reservation so that I could freeze an item that is available on the shelf?

No such changes are being planned. You can only freeze a reservation when it is in the queue. Freezing available items would make it more difficult for libraries to monitor the reservation situation and the need for new materials. If you would like to make a note of an interesting item, you can use the ‘reminder list’ option and reserve the item at a more suitable time.

The mobile library did not show up. Do I still need to pay the fee? / I received a notification that a reservation was on the mobile library yesterday, and I cannot make it to the stop today. The last pick-up date for the reservation is before the next mobile library visit. Do I need to pay the fee?

No. The mobile library, patient libraries and service centre libraries do not charge the fee for uncollected reservations. The reservations will be stored on the mobile library for two visits, regardless of the pick-up date provided automatically by the system. If the mobile library does not show up at the stop, the reservations will not be removed. Instead, they will remain available during the next weeks.

My reservation is gone from the reservation shelf. Do I need to pay?

Please contact the staff. The staff can cancel a reservation on the shelf so that the fee is not charged. They will also return your reservation to the top of the list.

Will the fee be charged for uncollected children’s materials if they were reserved using an adult’s card?

Yes. The fee will be charged to customers aged over 18.

Does the fee apply to materials reserved using a child’s library card?

No. The fee will not be charged to customers aged under 18, home services customer, flexi customers or community customers, such as schools or daycare centres.

Why is the fee being introduced from 1 June 2021, even though the COVID-19 restrictions are still in effect?

We will introduce the fee for uncollected reservations on 1 June, as planned, since customers are able to visit the libraries even while the COVID-19 restrictions are in place. However, the libraries do not want their customers to incur extra fees caused by the pandemic. If you cannot make it to the library, you can freeze or cancel your reservation via the Helmet online service or by contacting the library by phone, for example.

I have been ill and therefore unable to run errands. Can I be exempted from the fees?

You can be exempted from library fees. Please contact your library to resolve the matter.

I am unable to pick up my reservation. Can someone else pick it up for me?

If you are unable to pick up your reservation yourself, you can ask another person to borrow the reserved item on their own library card at the library’s customer service desk. The person borrowing the item must present reservation notification you received from the library by text message, e-mail or post, so please forward your notification to this person. If you would like the reservation to be borrowed on your own library card, the person picking up the item must have with them your library card, a power of attorney where the intended use is specified and their own identity card.

If you no longer need the materials you have reserved, please cancel your reservation as soon as possible. This way, the item will become available for the next customer in the queue. You can cancel the reservation any time before the end of the reservation period. You can also freeze a queued reservation for the duration of a holiday or other absence. You can freeze your reservation before it is on the way to the shelf or it has arrived at the shelf. Reservations cannot be frozen in the Taskukirjasto app.

How to cancel or freeze your reservations

Could you extend/shorten the collection periods of reservations?

The reservation periods are the same for all Helmet libraries. Customers occasionally request that we either reduce or extend the reservation periods, but in practice, we have noticed that the shorter periods are too short, while longer periods also lengthen the queues. The directors of the Helmet libraries decide on the length of the reservation periods jointly.

Shouldn’t libraries offer the services for free? Is this fee based on law?

As specified in the Public Libraries Act (1492/2016), the basic services of libraries are offered to customers free of charge. However, according to Section 12 of the Act, municipalities may charge fees for materials returned late or uncollected reserved materials.

Are there other libraries than the Helmet ones that charge a fee for uncollected reservations?

The libraries of Joensuu, Oulu and Pirkanmaa (1 euro), as well as Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Rovaniemi and Southwestern Finland (2 euros), for example, charge a fee for uncollected reservations.