The state finances library services by allocating central government transfers to local government. In addition, the Ministry of Education and Culture may grant discretionary government transfers to public libraries for carrying out special tasks and projects as well as subsidies for procuring literature with limited circulation.
The Ministry guides and directs the operations of the National Library of Finland, which is one of the research libraries and has certain national responsibilities, and its funding is determined in the Budget. The funding of university libraries, libraries of universities of applied sciences and special libraries is determined by the organisation to which they belong.
Municipalities receive central government funding for the organisation of library services. The funding covers part of the costs arising from library operations. The purpose of the system of central government transfers to local government is to guarantee the availability of public services and to balance out differences between municipalities when it comes to the costs for arranging the services. Local authorities may use their discretion in allocating the central government transfers they receive.
The Ministry of Education and Culture grants discretionary government transfers to public libraries for carrying out the national and regional development responsibilities, for carrying out the special tasks, and for developing their activities. In addition, the Ministry allocates an appropriation to the regional state administrative agencies to be granted to public libraries for their regional and local experimenting and development activities.
Subsidy for acquiring high-quality literature of low circulation
The Ministry of Education and Culture annually allocates financial aid to public libraries for acquiring quality literature of low circulation. All municipalities in Finland, with the exception of the Åland Islands, are eligible for the subsidy. The subsidy is granted to municipalities based on the number of inhabitants in the municipality. The subsidy aims to make high-quality literature of low circulation more readily available. It also helps public libraries increase and diversify their collections and expand their range of material to readers.
The appropriation for the subsidy for each municipality ranges between approximately EUR 2,000 and EUR 11,000 and is determined on the basis of the number of inhabitants in the municipality. The appropriation allows libraries to acquire literature for their collections from a list of works containing approximately 500-600 titles for both adults and children, including fiction, non-fiction and books written in easy-to-read language that have been published in Finland. A company called Suomen Kirjastopalvelu Oy will be responsible for the reception of book orders and the delivery of books to libraries. The Ministry invites tenders for this service provider every four years.
The books selected for the list of works subject to the subsidies are decided annually by the Ministry of Education and Culture based on proposals submitted by the National Council for Literature (Arts Promotion Centre), the Committee for Public Information, and the Plain Language Centre.
Subscription subsidy for low-circulation cultural magazines and journals
The Ministry of Education and Culture allocates an annual appropriation for public libraries to use to subscribe to printed cultural magazines and journals of low circulation. The list of cultural magazines and journals, which is drawn up annually, includes publications for which the Arts Promotion Centre of Finland grants a government grant or for which the Ministry of Education and Culture awards a general grant to the publisher.
All municipalities in Finland, with the exception of the Åland Islands, are eligible for subscription subsidies for cultural magazines and journals. The aid is granted to municipalities based on the number of inhabitants in the municipality.
Research libraries and other libraries
The Ministry of Education and Culture conducts performance target negotiations with the National Repository Library and the Library for the Visually Impaired Celia to agree upon the objectives and resources for their activities.
Every four years, the Ministry of Education and Culture conducts separate negotiations with the National Library in connection with the negotiations conducted with the University of Helsinki. The funding to be allocated to the National Library is determined in the Budget. The centralised services of the research library network are primarily maintained with the funding of the National Library and the National Repository Library.
The funding of university libraries and libraries of universities of applied sciences is determined by the organisation concerned. Decisions concerning the operations of other libraries are made by the organisation to which they belong.