The library of the Department of Physics was founded in 1854 and reorganised in 1995 when the libraries of physics and theoretical physics were merged.

The physics library is financed by the Department of Physics and the Helsinki Institute of Physics, and, in part, by certain other funds. The library is run by two librarians who have in 1997 had as help one library secretary financed by external funding.

The collection of the library of physics contains 226 periodicals some of which are also on-line and 21,617 books the oldest of which date back to the 16th century. Currently 131 journals are received. During 1997 470 books were acquired.

The books and periodicals are mainly located in five different places and there is room for about 2000 shelf-metres of volumes. The main collection at Siltavuorenpenger 20 C, 4th floor, consists of the most used books and journals. These books in the fields of modern and classical physics and applied mathematics are arranged by subject. In the database, the books in the library of physics are classified according to the INSPEC classification scheme. The newer books are also provided with subject words.

All the books and journals are indexed in the University of Helsinki "Helka" database and in the Finnish scientific libraries' "Linda" database. These databases (and some others) can be accessed by computers in the main collection room.

The loan method is computerized and is a self-service application of the Helka VTLS system. During 1997 5,501 items were borrowed. Altogether 393 interlibrary loans or copy orders were received from outside the Department. The library sent 232 interlibrary requests.

Another service that the library of physics offers to the personnel of the participating institutions is the cataloging of bibliographic data of their research articles to the publication database of the University of Helsinki (JULKI).