The Story of Herttoniemi Library

When Herttoniemi joined the city of Helsinki in 1946, the city inherited a side library that had been set up in 1930 for a Swedish speaking elementary school. At the time, the library was open twice a week for four hours at a time. There were 976 items available for loaning. In 1952, Herttoniemi Library moved into a 43 square meter space at the newly built Finnish elementary school located on Ahmatie. At this point the collection had grown to 2 257 items. Soon more space was required and a new location was found on Siilitie 5. In 1972, the library moved to Kettutie, a space designed by architects Kirsti and Erkki Helamaa. At the Kettutie location the impressive statue called "Marjatan pojan paluu" (1964-65) by Heikki W. Virolainen became the unofficial mascot of the library.

The new Herttoniemi Library was opened on Thursday 14th of May in 2020. The library is located in the same venue as the youth services on the second floor of the shopping center Hertsi. The space is 1 000 square meters in size. The colourful and bold locale is designed by  Rune & Berg Design, taking into account the wishes of the local residents.

The children's section includes the beautifully illustrated Satukattila - often referred to as the treasure of the library. Based on the poem "Kattila ja perunat" by Kirsi Kunnas, the space is home to what are probably the world's largest soft toy potatoes that children can play with.

Herttoniemi Library displays a versatile selection of art. The high walls get splashes of colour from magnificent paintings by Lasse Juuti from the series Queue (2019) and the piece of art called Ghost (2019). These large modern paintings resemble both letters and people. "Marjatan pojan paluu" (1964-65) by Heikki W. Virolainen delights visitors also at the new venue. At the time of its making the statue was considered rather unconventional. Now the statue is known as the unofficial mascot of the Herttoniemi Library.

The Herttoniemi Library's exhibition wall called Kattilagalleria is open for all artists. Kattilagalleria can be reserved for your use for one calendar month at a time in Varaamo, and it is free of charge. The library also houses a reservable digital piano for customer use and offers some loanable objects as well. You can read more about the services offered by the library at Helmet.fi.

Herttoniemi Library is one of the first libraries in Helsinki to offer self-service hours for customers. During self-service hours customers are able to use the library ouside the actual opening hours. There is no staff present at the library during self-service hours. Surveillance cameras are used in the library. During self-service hours you can loan and return materials, use the customer computers, read magazines or for example work and have meetings at the library.

Herttoniemi Library works as a triple library together with Laajasalo Library and Roihuvuori Library.

Picture: Maarit Hohteri, 2020.