Kallio Kirjasto (Kallio library), the red-brick beauty that I am very glad to call my local library, is situated in a very central place in the Kallio District, next to Bear Park and only a couple of blocks away from must-sees like Kallio Church and Vaasankatu. This late jugend building was built in 1912 and in the olden days you had to ask the clerk for the book you were looking for and just hope that they would not pass judgment had your request been more of the (grey) shady kind…During the bombings in the Continuation war, in 1944, the building took a hit and in the subsequent renovations the system was changed so that clients can now browse through the selection on their own.
And these days they offer a lot more than books. You can use the internet for free or for a minimal fee, swap books with other clients and read Finnish and international newspapers. There are reading hours and playgroups for children and even a mysterious cellar full of whodunnit-tales. Also, check out their changing art exhibitions.
If you do have a Helsinki Library card, in addition to checking out books, you can also borrow some yard games such as petanque or “mölkky”, to be played for example in the park next door. The coolest service they offer in my opinion? Well, that would have to be the Personal Literary Trainer, a library professional who will give you suggestions on books to read, based on your interests and needs!