Libraries in the UK with holdings of German collections

We cannot list all the libraries in the UK holding German resources. So before checking one of the larger libraries on this page, always search the catalogues of your University library first, and those which are in your neighbourhood. University libraries tend to have different specialisms depending on the research interests of the lecturers and researchers associated with the institution, so collections may vary considerably. Be creative when doing your research and use COPAC to locate your materials.

The British Library
The British Library is one of the world's greatest libraries. It holds over 150 million items from every age of global civilization. You can search the catalogues and order copies of some documents online. Access is free but you need to get a reader’s pass. Photocopying, microfilming, photographic and digital services are available but be warned: charges are very high. If you can copy the materials elsewhere, then do so. See the special webpages dedicated to the German Collections of the British Library. These include amongst other links special pages on German exile collections (1933-45), Austrian collections and Swiss-German collections.

The Library of the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies
If you are doing your postgraduate studies in London and cannot find your books or journals at the British Library, try the library of the IGRS which houses substantial collections: 65 000 volumes of books, 20 000 volumes of journals, nearly 500 current subscriptions, over 22 000 microfiches, theses and archives. There are smaller collections on background subjects such as history, art, folklore, publishing and other Germanic languages. The holdings on German film and theatre history are more than just 'background', as is the 'Wende' collection. The whole stock is for reference only and predominantly open access; no books or journals may be borrowed, but photocopying facilities are available. The Library is open to all 'bona fide' researchers who can make use of its resources. Regular users may become Members of the Institute.

The Library of the Goethe Institute in London
A large library with collections on German life and culture is available on membership (concession rates for students). The main subject areas in stock are German language and literature, contemporary art, film, theatre and dance, as well as German history, politics and economics since 1945. You will also find a good range of videos of theatre productions and German films. Their catalogue is online and forms part of OPAC.

German Historical Institute in London
Collections in both German and English on German history with particular emphasis on Anglo-German relations and the period 1933 - 1945. Free access but a photo and ID are required.

Bodleian Library at Oxford
This is the main research library of Oxford University, and in Britain is second in size only to the British Library, having a stock of 6 million volumes. Admission is free to members of Oxford University, and to other bona fide scholars on production of a suitable letter of recommendation and proof of identity. Graduate students affiliated to universities and colleges funded by the higher education funding councils of the UK or the Republic of Ireland are exempt from payment.

Cambridge University Library
This library has more than 5 million books and more than 1.5 million serial volumes. For vacation access only your student ID is required, although during term time and for the section Manuscripts & Rare Books you have to produce a letter from your supervisor. Students from foreign universities are subject to an administration charge of £10 for six months.

The Taylor Institution Library - Oxford
The Taylor Institution Library is devoted to modern languages and has a total stock of over 500 000 volumes - it is the largest specialist library in its field in the UK. Its collection concentrates on the literary and philological aspects of continental European culture, but also contains much background materials in fields such as history and philosophy.

The Library of the Warburg Institute
Particular to this library is the classification of its collection of 350 000 volumes in four sections: a) social and political history, b) religion, history of science and philosophy, c) literature, books, libraries and education d) history of art and archaeology. It also holds 2500 runs of periodicals, about half of them current (on mobile stacks in the basement). The libraries of the Royal Numismatic Society and the British Numismatic Society are housed, and accessible, in the Institute. Access is restricted to researchers. A letter signed by your supervisor is required.

The Wiener Library
The Wiener Library is one of the world's leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust and Nazi era. Formed in 1933, the library's unique collection of over one million items includes published and unpublished works, press cuttings, photographs and eyewitness testimony.

National Library of Scotland
The Advocates' Library of the National Library of Scotland had acquired some German material during the course of the 18th and 19th centuries and several of the Library's special collections possess a significant number of German items. The Dieterichs Collection of pamphlets, dissertations and miscellaneous literary publications, which was purchased in 1820, comprises the largest single collection of German materials in the Library, while the Crawford Collection of Lutheran pamphlets contains some 1500 16th-century tracts. Three substantial microform collections of German interest are held: 'Flugschriften des frühen 16. Jahrhunderts' contain on microfiche the complete texts of some 5000 pamphlets in German and Latin printed between 1501 and 1530 within the Holy Roman Empire; 'Flugschriftensammlung Gustav Freytag' contains some 6000 miscellaneous pamphlets on microfiche which were collected by the 19th-century author Gustav Freytag; 'The Harold Jantz Collection of German Baroque Literature' contains on microfilm a large number of literary, political, scientific and general cultural texts.

The British Film Institute National Library
The BFI Library provides access to a large collection of documentation and information on film and television including German films and scripts.

The National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum
NAL is both a major reference library and the Victoria and Albert Museum's curatorial department for the art, craft and design of the book, with a special collection of prints, drawings and paintings.