Frequently asked questions regarding use

Who can use the Library? What rules must be observed?

Access is open to all persons who have completed their fifteenth year. Using the Library is possible only if you have a valid ID with photo and a valid library card.

Before entering the facilities please leave in the cloakroom your coats (overcoat, jacket, bags, laptop bags, backpacks, umbrellas, etc.). If you wish to take personal valuables (wallet, keys, etc.) with you into the library, you will be loaned a plastic bag.

Use of the Austran National Library takes place within the framework of the Library regulations.

How do you get a library card? How do you extend its period of validity?

Annual membership card / EUR 10.00
You can order the card electronically (online application form) or apply in person for the library card at the service desk at Heldenplatz or in the Departments. The period of validity is limited. The annual membership cards are issued and extended exclusively at the service desk at Heldenplatz, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. till 9 p.m.

Day ticket / EUR 1.50
Day tickets can be obtained at the service desk at Heldenplatz and in the Departments as well.

If you want to use the Library you need not only the library card, but also a valid ID with photo.

What materials are collected by the Austrian National Library?

The Austrian National Library holds about 8 million objects, among them about 3.5 million books, periodicals, and newspapers. Other media present are microfilms and microfiches, electronic documents and audio-visual media, in addition incunabula, manuscripts, autographs, lifetime and posthumous estates, pictorial documents, maps, globes, graphic pages, music items, broadsheets, posters, ex libris, materials on Esperanto and planned languages.

Up to 1920 the Library collected Austrian and foreign works in all areas (universal library). For Austrian writings that holds true till today. Because of the obligation to deliver specimens of all Austrian publications – the legal obligation applied until 1918 to most of the lands of the Empire – the Austrian National Library possesses the entire body of Austrian writings within Austria’s political borders at the respective time. From 2008 onwards diploma theses are no longer archived.

Foreign literature is acquired with focus on the humanities.

For further information see German version Sammelrichtlinien (Wir über uns / Organisation).

Are there guided tours through the Library?

There are guided tours on various themes, e.g., on use of the Library, on the history of the building, through the museums, etc. Tours for children are also offered.

For further information see Guided tours.

Where can you direct questions to?

Within the Library please turn to the information desk in the facility where you are. General information you can get by telephone from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. till 9 p.m. through the information telephone: +43-(0)1-53410/444 .
Any inquiries on printed matter that was published from 1851 on are also to be directed to the Abteilung Informationsservices / Department of Information Services. For inquiries concerning older books, please contact the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books. If your inquiry is about other collection items, turn to the relevant Department.
Queries about online databases and electronic journals will be answered between Monday and Friday, from 9 am to 4 pm, by “Databases – electronic research”: +43-(0)1-53410/446.

Please read the detailed information on Information and Research Service.

How do you search for a book, newspaper, periodical, article, etc?

The catalogues give information on the holdings of the Library and supply the shelf mark (number of the book), which you need to order the work from stack. The Main Catalogues list all prints (books, newspapers, periodicals, series) and microforms (microfilms and microfiches), digital and AV media. Collection objects you will find in the relevant departments catalogues. Maps are listed in the “Catalogue from 1992 on” (among the Main Catalogues).

Follow-up hints on looking for books, periodicals, newspapers, legal texts, objects in the Departments, and so on, you will find in Search tips.

Are online databases and electronic journals accessible?

The Austrian National Library offers 3,000 article databases via the Database Infosystem (DBIS), along with online encyclopaedias from a range of producers and covering all special areas. Around 28,000 electronic journals from all special areas are accessible at the “Electronic Journals Library (EZB)”.
You can get advice and special search tools from “Databases – electronic research”: +43-(0)1-53410/446.

For more detailed information see Database Infosystem or Electronic Journals.

Can you access online databases and electronic journals from home as well?

Persons holding a valid annual membership card from the Austrian National Library can access many subscribed databases and electronic journals from home.
After selecting a database (via the Database Info System) or an e-journal (with the Electronic Journal Library) you will be asked to log in, using the log-in form (which will open automatically). Enter the user ID specified on your annual membership card and date of birth in the format YYYYMMDD.  Just click ‘log-in’ and the online databases and full-text e-journals will be ready for you to search.

For any direct inquiries to “Databases – electronic research” call: +43-(0)1-53410/446.

Is there training on how to use catalogues and databases?

The Austrian National Library regularly offers training to make you familiar with the research possibilities and search strategies in databases, library catalogues, and in the Internet.

For further information please contact the team Supervised database research.

How do you obtain a book, a newspaper, a periodical, etc, for use?

Most of the holdings of the Austrian National Library is kept in stack and are therefore not freely accessible to the public. The volumes/objects are not taken out for use until they are ordered. They must be used in the reading rooms. You receive the ordered works when you hand over a valid ID with photo at the book issue area of the reading room, where the material will be waiting for you by name.
Only the literature on display in the reading rooms – mostly reference works and recent newspapers and periodicals that have not yet been bound – is freely accessible and does not have to be ordered.

Please read the detailed information in Information on ordering books.

How many volumes can be ordered at one time?

In the reading rooms of the Modern Library (at the Heldenplatz site) a maximum of 10 volumes can be ordered at the same time. In the reading rooms of the Departments the maximum is 5 volumes/items per reading room at the same time.

Where, when, and how long can a book be used?

In general, works you have ordered are at your disposal about 3 hours after the order is placed. Waiting times may vary from one site to another. At some sites, immediate delivery may be possible. Detailed information can be obtained from the List of Locations (Standortsigelliste).

Last delivery
From Monday to Friday last orders will be accepted at 6 pm, and on Saturdays at 12 noon. Orders that arrive later will be processed on the next working day and items will be available for collection from 10.30 onwards. To find out about last orders in the Collections and in the special reading rooms, please see List of Locations.

The ordered works stay reserved for you for 1 week. Extensions of one more week after the last use are possible.

Follow up: Information on ordering books and Reading rooms.

Can you search in the Internet and use a laptop in the Library?

There are Internet and laptop workstations and also Wireless LAN available.

For further information see Internet und laptop workstations and W-LAN.

Is it possible to make copies? Can printouts be made?

Copying machines and a public scanner are available on the premises. If it is not possible for you yourself to copy/digitise – on conservation grounds – you can usually ask for copies/digitisations to be made for you. In addition, it is possible to make printouts and to order microfilm duplicates and digitised material.

Detailed information see Reproductions, printouts.

Can books be taken home?

The Austrian National Library is a reference (non-lending) library, i.e., the holdings are placed at your disposal for use only in the reading rooms of the Library. That guarantees that the majority of the holdings are available at any one time. Local loan is therefore permitted only in exceptional cases.

Details see Local loan.

The work I want is not in the Austrian National Library. Where can I get it?

Literature not held by the Austrian National Library or other libraries in Vienna can be provided by the interlibrary loan service from other Austrian or European libraries. Orders from overseas libraries are possible in exceptional cases. Our service offers book loans and supply of periodical article photocopies.

See Interlibrary loan for clients in Vienna for information on which catalogues you can use to find out whether a work is available in another Viennese library and details on how to order using the interlibrary service.

last update 8/24/2012