Tour of the Rikhardinkadun Kirjasto
Helsinki's Old Main Library


Saturday, February 10, 1996 - 2:00 - 3:00 PM:

Saturday afternoon Mr. Taskinen took Mr. Napoli on a tour of the downtown area of Helsinki. One of the highlights of the tour was a visit to the old Helsinki Main Library, the Rikhardinkatu Library, located at the center of the city. The Rikhardinkatu served as the Main Library of Helsinki from 1882 when it was built until 1986, when the new Main Library was completed and opened to the public in the Ita-Pasila area, the new administrative center of Helsinki's central government. Still very much in use, it is one of Helsinki's busiest branches, circulating more than 580,000 (1995) items per year and over 650,000 visitors per year coming through its front doors.

Helsinki's Old Main Library Reference Desk

The Old Main Library Of Helsinki

Reference Desk

Photo courtesy of Helsinki City Library

The library building, one of the city's finest Neo-Renaissance structures, was designed by Carl Theodor Hoijer and was the first library building in the Nordic countries planned specifically as a public library, another first for the Helsinki City Library. Mr. Napoli was impressed with how well maintained the building was and how very busy it seemed to be despite its proximity to the new Main Library.

Helsinki's Old Main Library

Rotunda

Helsinki Old Main Library Rotunda-1
Photo by Don Napoli using SJCPL's digital camera
A long spiral staircase, added to the building in 1920, runs up through the atrium center and provides a spectacular view of this "book tower" from the fifth floor. The cork finished stairs of the atrium provided not only excellent traction but also absorbed the sounds of many feet.

Helsinki Old Main Library Rotunda-2

Helsinki's Old Main Library

Fifth Floor

Photo by Don Napoli using SJCPL's digital camera

Helsinki's Old Main Library

Rotunda

Helsinki Old Library Rotunda-3
Photo courtesy of Helsinki City Library
From here Mr. Taskinen took Mr. Napoli to the Helsinki University Library, another very impressive building, and an auto tour of the city.

Return To Travelogue

Created 3/18/96; Last Modified 3/22/96