Libraries in German-speaking countries

German Libraries Online
A survey of German libraries offering services in the WorldWideWeb.

National libraries

Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
This is the central German library responsible for the collection and bibliographic cataloguing of German literature after 1913. The German National Library was founded in 1990 after the reunification of Germany, a new institution embracing the former National Library Leipzig, the National Library Frankfurt am Main and the German Music Archive Berlin. The above link will connect you to their search engine which facilitates data searches of the entire German publishing output.

  • Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Leipzig includes:
    • Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum: a library concerned with the history of the book.
    • Archiv und Bibliothek des Börsenvereins des Deutschen Buchhandels e.V. This archive and library are dedicated to German book trade.
    • Anne-Frank-Shoah Bibliothek: this is an international research library dedicated to the study and the memory of the Holocaust. Its aim is to make accessible literature on the persecution and genocide of the European Jews in Germany.
  • Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Frankfurt am Main is responsible for the development of IT technology and of bibliographic services at a national scope. Moreover it houses the
    • Exilsammlung der Deutschen Bibliothek: its task is the preservation of German-language based exile literature from 1933 to 1945. It also acts as an archive collecting relevant manuscripts, estates, letters, and various other materials. They are running an interesting digital project called Exilpresse international which allows you to search a digital library containing German exile newspapers and journals from 1933 to 1945.

Swiss National Library - Bern
The task of the Swiss National Library, as they write, is to collect 'Helvetica', to preserve this material for posterity and make it available to the public. The term 'Helvetica' denotes the entire literary production of the country stored on all kinds of information media (handwritten manuscripts, printed, digitized, in pictorial form or as sound documents), all works published abroad with a bearing on Switzerland, its population, its past, present and future and works (including translations of them) by Swiss authors.

Österreichische Nationalbibliothek - Vienna
This is the central research library in Austria with collections dating all the way back into the fourteenth century. Preserving the heritage of the Habsburger Hofsbibliothek, it holds important collections of antique, medieval and modern manuscripts, music autographs, incunabula, portraits, prints and various other treasures, plus the estates of Austrian authors.

University Libraries

Universities in the German-speaking countries
An index with links to all German University libraries.

Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Bern
The Municipal and University Library Bern includes many sub-libraries, archives and institutes. Especially interesting is the 'Schweizerische Osteuropabibliothek', Switzerland's most important research library for questions of contemporary politics, economics, law and social sciences and the history of the European East and the states that emerged from the former Soviet Union. Another noteworthy institute is the Gosteli foundation, an archive for the history of the Swiss Women's Liberation Movement.

Universitätsbibliothek München
The Munich university library owns a rich collection of bookplates, manuscripts, estates and autographs, incunabula, the C.G. von Maassen Library, many literary estates, modern and medieval manuscripts.

Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg
Special collections of the Oettingen-Wallersteinische Bibliothek comprise the Oettingen-Wallersteinsche Library, The Library of the Cassianeums, the Library of the Freisinger Lyzeums, Hymnological Collections, a collection of historical schoolbooks 1500-1920, the Collection Jonas including articles on Thomas Mann, the manuscript library of Heinrich Brüning, the photo collections of Groth-Schmachtenberger, and a European centre for documentation.

Bauhausuniversität Weimar - Library
The roots of this library reach back to the foundation of the Bauhaus School in Weimar and have many interesting books from that period (1910s) on architecture and the arts.

FU Berlin - Library
The Library System of the FU Berlin is the largest among all German universities. The FU's library holdings amount to around 8 million volumes and 20 000 periodical subscriptions. Holdings are distributed between the University Library and approximately 70 departmental libraries.

Humboldt University Berlin - Library
Another major university library in Berlin. Here you will find special collections on ethnology, and amongst its historical holdings autpgraphs of the Grimm Brothers, von Humboldt, Theodor Mommsen, Robert Bunsen, all of whom taught at the Humboldt University.

Niedersächsische Staats-and Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen
This university library holds many documents of important historical value, special collections in philology and is since 1751 the library of the 'Akademie der Wissenschaften'. It also functions as a National Library for German eighteenth-century prints.

Sächsische Landesbibliothek - Staats - und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden
Its special collections include manuscripts, rare prints, autographs, a graphics collections, a collection of children's books, maps and musicalia, and a media centre.

Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main
This is the library of the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. Amongst its special collections, it holds the Heinz-Joachim Heydorn-Archiv, Horkheimer-Pollock-Archiv, Editha Klipstein-Archiv, Franz Lennartz-Literaturarchiv, Bruno Liebrucks-Archiv, Leo Löwenthal-Archiv, Herbert Marcuse-Archiv, Alexander Mitscherlich-Archiv, Schopenhauer-Archiv, Erwin von Steinbach-Stiftung. It preserves many important manuscripts and incunabula of medieval, Hebrew, and oriental origin. The library is especially well equipped in the areas of German studies, comparative literature, linguisitics, theatre and film studies, and Jewish studies.

Staats-und-Universitätsbibliothek Bremen
Apart from maintaining some special collections on journalism, this library holds many historically important documents, manuscripts, historical maps, Greek papyri, autographs and estates. It preserves the library of the seventeenth-century Humanist Melchior Goldast von Haiminsfeld.

Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg
Amongst its manuscript collections you can find here documents of medieval, oriental, Hebrew and African origin, papyri, musicalia, contracts from the 14th to the 18th century and autographs. Amongst its autograph collections are the 'Uffenbach-Wolfsche Correspondence', the 'Campe Collection' and the 'Literatur Archiv'.

Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg
One of the oldest universities in Germany, its library has special manuscript collection of the Kurpfalz and Baden, amongst others, the 'Codex Manesse'. Moreover it holds important collections in Egyptology, Archeology, and Art History before 1945.

Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig
Amongst its collections you will find special units on manuscripts, incunabula, prints from the sixteenth century, autographs, estates, the important 'Hirzel Collection' which contains books, manuscripts and materials of and about Goethe. Moreover there are maps and portraits. There are also extensive collections dedicated to media studies and journalism.

Universitätsbibliothek Marburg
This is the library attached to the oldest Protestant university (founded in 1527) and thus possesses vast resources in rare and ancient books.

Universitätsbibliothek Salzburg
Salzburg's university library has holdings involving medieval manuscripts, incunabula, prints from the sixteenth century. Especially valuable are the former 'Wolf-Dietrich Collection', sketches from Italian Renaissance artists. There are also rare books and prints from the sixteenth century.

Universitätsbibliothek Basel
Founded in 1471, this is the most important library in Switzerland, owning holdings of important historical manuscripts, early prints, musicalia, maps and potraits. The collections of the university library are complemented by the libraries attached to the different university institutes, the municipal libraries and the specialized libraries.

Universitäts- und Forschungsbibliothek Erfurt/ Gotha
This university library puts special emphasis on collecting cultural studies, humanities, political sciences, pedagogics and theology. Their historical collections include manuscritps and prints of national and international importance. Its core is the Bibliotheca Amploniana.

Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Bonn
Here you will find medieval manuscripts, some of which stem from nunneries in the Rheinland and oriental manuscripts going back to the research of August Wilhelm von Schlegel. The library also holds the estates of Gottfried Kinkel, Felix Hausdorff, Ernst Robert Curtius and other important inhabitants of the city of Bonn. Moreover the musical manuscripts of Robert Schumann are deposited here.

Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Düsseldorf
In its manuscript and incunabula collection, this library holds important items from the medieval ages. You can also find here the 'Thomas-Mann-Sammlung Dr. Hans-Otto Mayer'. After the Thomas-Mann-Archiv Zürich, this is the most important collection of about 6100 volumes and documentary materials relating to Thomas Mann.

Universitätsbibliothek Wien
Founded in 1365, the University Library Wien is the oldest Univesity Library in the German-speaking countries. It flourished especially during the 15th century.

Regional Libraries
There are far too many regional and municipal libraries to list them all, so we will only refer to a small selection. Otherwise we recommend using the meta-opac search engine Karlsruhe Virtual Catalogue. This search engine has a section listing all the different regional catalogues. Each catalogue consists of a communal conglomerate of university, regional, municipal and specialized libraries adhering to one particular region.

Staatsbibliothek Berlin
This is the largest general library in Germany. It is especially well equipped in the humanities and social sciences with important collections of manuscripts, music scores, Asian documents, maps and historical prints. Here is the link to the stabi catalogue.

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München
The Bavarian State Library was founded in 1558 as the Court Library of the Wittelsbacher. Today it is one of the largest research libraries in the German-speaking countries. It has holdings of more than 8 million volumes, special collections of early printed books, maps, estates, autographs, exlibris, portraits, image archives, and one of the most important manuscript collections in the world. With more than 40 000 journals and newspapers, it is after the British Library the largest journal library in Europe.

Specialized libraries

WEBIS - Arthistorical Resources in German Libraries
This website provides information about the collections in libraries affiliated with museums and in research institutions specializing in art history.

Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel
The Herzog August Bibliothek is an important research centre for the study of the medieval and early modern period. Their special collections include the 'Bibliotheca Julia', the 'Bibliotheca Augusta', 'Ducal libraries of the 17th and 18th centuries', 'Scholars libraries', 'Acquisitions 1705-1819', 'Acquisitions 1820-1950', 'Acquisitions since 1950', and a Collection of German Prints.

Deutsches Theatermuseum München - Theaterbibliothek
The archive and library attached to the Theatre Museum München have about 70 000 autographs, diaries, directors' books, role indexes, annotations of choreographies and many other materials concerned with the history of the theatre.

Bibliothek des Instituts für Zeitgeschichte
This library is based in Munich and specializes in the history of the twentieth century, German history, European history, and the history of international relations.

Internationale Jugendbibliothek München
The International Youth Library is the largest library for international children's and youth literature in the world. Ever since it was opened in 1949 by Jella Lepman, it has been continuously expanded to an internationally recognized center for the world's children's and youth literature. Jella Lepman began her work immediately after the end of World War II as an opportunity to find new hope and values after the years of Nazi terror and the horrors of war and to awaken a new understanding for other people and nations. She directed her attention to both children and adults. She sought to establish a discourse about children's literature and offered at the same time the children themselves a selection of books.