Here we gather questions that we receive by mail, telephone or from visitors. If you have a question about material, please contact our researcher desk.

Go directly to: General information | First visit | Rules and procedures | Collections | Buy and Sell | History of the Swedish Labour Movement | Other

General information

What sets you apart from other archives and libraries?

We are both an archive and a library, and are considered both wide within our field as well as well niched. Our collections cover the labour movement on a national level, as well as regional of Stockholm with additional international collections. We keep some of the most important parts of the Swedish history of the 20th century. We have a research promotion activity. We may be the oldest institution of our kind in the world, since we started already in 1902.

Are you the only labour movement’s archives and libraries?

Landskrona, Malmö and Trelleborg have local labour movement archives and maybe there are more in other locations, but we have no direct link to them. More or less similar sister institutions can be found through the associations we belong to, such as the Federation of Finnish Movements (Sweden) and IALHI (The International Association of Labour History Institutions).

How are you financed?

We are an independent foundation with TheTrade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen i Sverige – LO), Social Democratic Party and the Swedish state as principals.

What are your target groups?

The public, the labour movement, journalists, genealogists, students and scientific researchers.


First visit

Do you have to book a time to visit you?

No, but it may be a good idea to get in touch with us before the visit. All archive materials are stored in our storage facilities.

Do you have to be “real scientist” to see your material?

Everybody is welcome. We call everyone who visits us “researchers”.

Can anyone borrow books with you?

Yes, if you are above the age of 18, and approve our lending rules.

Are you open during the evenings and weekends?

See our detailed opening hours.

Do you have any courses in how it works to search and research with you?

You will receive individual assistance when you visit us, but please prepare by reading this website.


Rules and procedures

How long are my loans on the shelves?

Archive material: stays for 30 days if you do not agree with the staff about anything else.
Library materials: Have a 30-day loan term for both home loans and reading-room loans. Readers’ loans are placed on the research shelves. You can extend your loans by signing in to the libarry catalogue.

Is it true that permission is required to access some archives?

Yes, in some cases, the archive facilitator has restricted the availability. This may apply to all or part of the archive, and it may apply for a certain period of time. Staff can answer exactly what is applicable and who you should contact in order to access the material. Our basic approach is however that the archives should be as open as possible.

Can I use my laptop in the reading room?

Yes, as long as you do not disturb others. Power outlets are located along the window. You can use our wireless network.

Is there a copier? Can I copy myself?

Yes, usually, but ask the staff first. Be careful with fragile documents. Personnel are entitled to refuse copying if the material is deemed to be too fragile. Material larger than the copy glass can not be copied. Keep in mind the copyright rules that apply when copying.

Can I photograph documents with my own digital camera?

In some cases. Talk to the staff first.

Can I check my email and browse the computers in the researchers expedition?

No, they may only be used to search our material. On the other hand, we have wireless networks which allow you to surf through your own computer.

Can you use a cell phone?

When in the reading room: keep the phone silent and step outside if you receive a call. In other areas you can talk on the phone, but keep in mind the volume of your conversation and respect the work enviroment of others.

I know that a particular personnel know my topic very well. How do I contact that person directly?

First of all, contact the researcher expedition. The staff will assist you, either with an answer or by forwarding the question.



Do not you have bigger collections than what I see in the reading room?

Yes, much more, over 15 shelf kilometers. Almost everything is in the magazine and has to be ordered.

What material can I watch without ordering anything?

At our premises you will find: current year’s newspapers and journals, the most recently purchased books, our reference library and the material that is included in the current exhibition. Via the computers you can also take part of the digitized parts of our poster, image and audio collections.

Why do not you put everything online?

Some important reasons: we do not have the time and we are permitted from doing so (license rules, copyright etc.) and it’s expensive. In addition, lots of documents of such kind are hardly worth the effort.

What is the oldest material in your collections?

The oldest is an edition of Thomas Mores’s book Utopia, it dates back to 1563. The oldest archive with us is the Bookbinding Society, whose operations started in the 1620s. Otherwise, most of us are from the 19th century onwards.

What’s the weirdest item you have in the collections?

Good question. August Palms bread dices? The homemade weapons from a strike? The chairman’s club with Hjalmar Branting’s cut head? The postman’s club funeral? Or the cupboard of miniature books like Olof Palme received a gift from East Germany?

You are talking about “archive material” and “library material”. What is the difference?

A simplified explanation: The library contains printed, multifaceted material. The archives consist of “unique” documents, such as letters and the like.

But it’s not entirely true either, because even an archive can contain books. An archive constitutes the sum of the activities, held together on the basis of provenances, and often consists of a variety of types of documents.

In fact, however, we have a clear dividing line: our material is usually searchable either in the archive or library directory/catalogues. Which makes them “archive material” and “library material” respectively. This also means that they are ordered and borrowed in different ways.

You say you have “archives” with you. Are not you an archive?

It depends on what you mean by the word. We are an archive institution that stores and manages thousands of archive files, from various archives.

Can you find international and foreign material in your collections?

Yes, start for example by reading our book The World in the basement, search our library catalogue or see ‘Worlds of Women’.

Why do not you have the latest publications from some organizations?

We will have them sent to us with some delay. Sometimes they have forgotten us and we will remind them. It may also happen that we have received them, but have not even cataloged them. Ask us.

I know I once read a document/book with you, but now I can not find it again. Why?

The reasons can be many. Exactly what was it for? Have you spelled correctly when you search? Is your reference correct? Has the archive been rewritten? Is it a item not yet cataloged in Kata? In the worst case, the material may be obliterated or abrasive. Ask the staff for help and we will jointly solve the problem.


Buy and sell

I have some books that should interest you. Do you want to buy them?

We have most of the materials when it comes to the labour movement and Swedish working literature. On the other hand, consult with librarian about any supplements of our collections.

Can I pay with card?


Do you have the book X for sale?

Perhaps. We sell own and a selection of other people’s publications, as well as have a shelf with used books and duplicates for sale in the researcher’s expedition.

Can you get the copying costs billed?

Yes. Do see our page for reproductions.


The history of the Swedish labour movement

What do you have for statistics relating to the Swedish labour movement?

Start by looking in the library catalogue. The organizations’ activity reports often contain statistical information. Statistical Yearbook contains statistics relating to the labor market and much more. See also SCB’s website and Historia.se – the historical statistics portal. See the database OFFSTATS for official statistics from all over the world.

Can you say what happened a certain year or date in the history of the labor movement?

There are several books that have chronological reviews. Below is a selection.

  • Röda dagar och svarta i arbetarrörelsens och frihetskampens historia / Hans Haste
  • Arbetarrörelsens historia : människor, idéer, dokument / Hans Haste
  • Det första seklet / Hans Haste
  • Vi bygger landet : svensk arbetarrörelse från Per Götrek till Olof Palme / Yvonne Hirdman

Can you tell me in what context the person X said “Y”?

Perhaps. We have a lot of books with known quotes and numbers, but almost always a qualified guess is required and then a review of large amounts of text. Which of course you are welcome to do yourself with us!



I want to work at your institution, are there any vacancies?

When applicable, vacancies are advertised here on the website and at Platsbanken.

I am a student and want to do my internship with you. Can I?

We regularly receive students from archivist and librarian programs, however, depending on our ability to handle. Contact us if you are interested.

Can you give me a topic for my essay?

We can help you find sources and materials. Subject, purpose and question you must come by yourself.