The library currently holds more than 650,000 volumes, 1,695 ongoing subscriptions to journals, 3,380 manuscripts, approximately 1000 incunabula and 3,000 16th-century prints.
Thus the Germanisches Nationalmuseum not only is a museum with an important collection but also holds the largest publicly accessible special library in the areas art and cultural history, ethnology and folk art as well as local and regional history of the German language areas. Purchases and exchanges with more than 1000 partners worldwide result in an annual accession of 8,000 volumes. The reading room holds 16,000 dictionaries, reference books and bibliographies free of access.
Since 1962 the library in cooperation with the German Association for Art History (Deutscher Verein für Kunstwissenschaft) publishes the bibliography “Schrifttum zur deutschen Kunst” (Bibliography of German Art), converted to an electronic database in 2003, accessible via Web-OPAC.
Overall Concept of the Library
Since the foundation of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, the library as part of the museum collection preserves, acquires and makes accessible books about German culture, art and history. Thanks to its holdings, it is firmly anchored within the national research landscape, distinguishing itself by the competence of its staff.
Offering free access to printed and digital information, the library supports research and education. Its goal is to realize the demand for specialized information in the areas of art and cultural history in German language regions.
Online-Catalogue (German only)
Digital Library (German only)
Database offer at a glance (German only)
The library card catalogue contains books and non-book-material accessioned up to March 2000. All acquisitions since then are recorded in the Web-OPAC of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, also searchable via the Southwest German Library Network (Südwestdeutscher Bibliotheksverbund). Subject catalogues for the old and new holdings offer thematic searches. In the course of retrospective cataloguing approximately 10,000 titles in the old card catalogue are transferred annually to the EDP (Electronic Data Processing).
Use of the Library
The library of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum is open to the public and may be used by everyone older than 18 (16 with certain restrictions) on presenting a passport or ID card. As reference library, books and other documents can only be used in the reading room.
The use of the library is governed by the library regulations of October 22, 2010.
The library of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum provides photocopies (scan-prints) and scans only on order and in consideration of copyright. The purchaser will be supplied with a bill for the costs. Prices are set according to the fees regulations valid at the time.
As part of the copyright provisions, it is permitted to take photographs in the reading room with a digital camera. Please consult with the library personnel.
You may access the internet with your personal laptop via WLAN. We will gladly inform you of the necessary settings.
As a reference library, the library of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum is not part of the interlibrary loan system, with the exception of providing photocopies or scans for the usual fees. Only in exceptional cases, e.g. if a book is only available in the museum’s library, may books be borrowed through interlibrary loan. In this case, the book may only be used in the respective library’s reading room.
We gladly arrange free library tours for groups, designed according to your special interests.