Services of the Helmet libraries during corona virus epidemic

In its meeting on 26.11.2020, the Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group decided on new recommendations and restrictions to curb the spread of the epidemic.

The group has decided on 27 May that library premises will be opened for a maximum of half of the number of customers as of 1 June 2021. Group activity spaces and reading rooms will remain closed and self-service library activities will not be opened. Seating arrangements will be decreased in order to maintain safe distances. Other arrangements will also be made in library premises to ensure safe distances, for example at computers and copy machines. Libraries will monitor the number of customers and, if necessary, restrict access. 

The objective of the new coronavirus restrictions is to stop the spread of the virus in the Metropolitan Area.  

This article will be updated with more details based on the cities’ new decisions. 

General information on the services

As of Tuesday 1 June, customers at libraries will be able to pick up works directly from the shelves. 

Face mask usage is a requirement in the libraries, if a health condition does not prevent the use.

Please maintain a safe distance of at least two metres to other customers and the staff. 

Device guidance is given only from a safe distance or at the library’s service desk.

City-specific safety instructions are followed in equipment-related guidance. 

The libraries’ opening hours in the summer may be shorter than normally. Please check your library’s Helmet.fi page for up-to-date information. Pages of the libraries on Helmet.fi.

Book swap shelves are not in use at all Helmet libraries during the period of restricted service. Please contact your local library to ask whether the book swap shelf is in use. Pages of the libraries on Helmet.fi.

Using services on another person’s behalf 

If you or your relative or friend have a hindrance that makes personal library visits difficult, you can apply for a flexible customer account. The flexible customer model means that the customer will authorise someone else to visit the library on their behalf. 

You can also perform transactions on behalf of others with a single-use authorisation and your own identity card.  

Use of the customer computers

Use of the customer computers is possible in compliance with the safety guidelines. It will also be possible to print, copy, and scan at customer computers in libraries. 

Mobile libraries

In Helsinki 

The mobile libraries run their normal routes. The mobile library can be used by 2–6 people at a time.

In Espoo

The mobile libraries will not operate. 

In Vantaa

The mobile libraries run their normal routes. The mobile library admits one person or one family inside at a time. 

Self-service hours

The library only serves in the presence of personnel. There will be no self-service hours until further notice. 

Workshops and equipment

Helsinki:  

Facilities and equipment cannot be booked yet. 

Espoo:   

The workshops will open to a limited extent, taking safe distances into account. When the workshops open, customers will have access to 3D printers and sewing machines. The information on the equipment available at each library will be updated in Varaamo. The workshop equipment is available for independent use, and no guidance is provided for its use for the time being due to coronavirus restrictions. 

The studios and music rooms at libraries will be open, but the music facilities may only be used by one customer at a time for the time being. We do not provide guidance in the use of the studios. 

Vantaa:  

Facilities and equipment cannot be booked yet. 

Home service

Home services will be continued. Loans will be left at the customer’s door and returns will be picked up without close contacts.

Loan expiry

You can check the expiration dates of your loans by logging into your account in the Helmet search or the Taskukirjasto application or by calling the library by phone. 

Loan renewing and reservations

By logging in to My Account at Helmet.fi 

You can also renew loans and make reservations with the Taskukirjasto application.

You will be notified by text message, e-mail or post when your reservation is ready to be picked up. 

Reminder lists

You can save items on a reminder list and make a reservation later. Instructions for using the reminder list in the Helmet search

Library cards and PIN codes

Library cards are made at the libraries. To receive a new library card and your first PIN code, you must present an ID document in the library.

You can renew a forgotten PIN code on the Helmet.fi login page if your customer information contains an email address.

Use the eLibrary

To use electronic materials, you will need your library card number and the PIN code you received from the library. Have a look at Helmet libraries’ eLibrary.   

Helmet chat

Helmet chat serves from Mondays to Thursdays 12–17 and on Fridays 12–16. The chat is visible on the Helmet.fi front page during on-call hours.

Remote digital support 

Do you need help using different devices, programs and online services? We continue to offer digital support during the coronavirus epidemic online and by phone. Contact information of the providers of digital support.  

Cooperation with schools and daycare centres 

Agree upon group visits with the library in advance.

Libraries’ resources to offer services to schools and daycare centres vary. Some libraries offer remote sessions to schools. Libraries also help schools and daycare centres reserve books and compile theme packages. If you have any requests, please contact your local library. Also see the School and daycare section (in Finnish) for further information. 

Remote services 

The remote services and events of the library will be announced on the Helmet.fi front page and on social media. You can find the Helmet library on Facebook under the id @helmetkirjasto and on Twitter under @helmet_kirjasto.  

Website of the City of Espoo

Website of the City of Kauniainen

Website of the City of Helsinki

Website of the City of Vantaa

During the coronavirus epidemic, each library follows the respective city’s policies and practical instructions in all of its operations. 

Photo: Virpi Peltola / City of Helsinki