Book Adoption Campaign

Book Adoption Campaign of the Austrian National Library | an initiative to preserve valuable holdings

The Austrian National Library

As one of Europe’s oldest libraries, the Austrian National Library today has more than 8 million books and other objects and is known as the Cultural Treasure-House of Austria. The outstanding holdings of its eight special collections make it one of the five most important libraries in the world. The former Imperial Court Library – today the State Hall – was built under Emperor Charles VI and designed by the famous baroque architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. It is considered to be the most beautiful library hall in the world. Parts of the collections of the Austrian National Library are on UNESCO’s Memory of the World list.

The challenges

It is our responsibility to preserve this cultural heritage and to care for it. The Library’s aim is to make it accessable for its readers and for inter­national scientific research and to maintain it for future generations.
Many objects need to be conserved. The preservation of these large holdings of valuable objects represents a great challenge. Long term ­conservation is needed to protect the Library’s objects against ­damage caused by the natural ageing of these valuable items and their frequent use.
For conservation treatment – the measures necessary to repair ­damage and take precautions for the future – we need your help. The Library’s books and other objects contain the knowledge of centuries.
To preserve this knowledge, we ask for your financial support.

The Adoption Campaign

The Austrian National Library’s Book Adoption Campaign was founded in 1990. Private individuals and corporations all over the world, and also many celebrities who have an interest in preserving our cultural ­heritage have ­adopted books, maps, globes, drawings, music manu­scripts, papyri, ­posters, photos and other objects of the Austrian ­National Library.

The reasons vary – possibly an anniversary, a conference, a birthday, a memory of a visit to Vienna or simply the idea of responding to one’s cultural responsibility in a very special way.

Your help

As a book sponsor you help preserve the valuable holdings of the ­Austrian National Library and to care for the future of the Library’s ­extensive collections. 
Your donation helps us in rescuing badly damaged books and other objects, which urgently need conservation treatment. Also, the Book ­Adoption Campaign financially supports the rehousing of valuable books and manuscripts in acid-free archival boxes and other long term preservation activities.

Make your decision

With a donation of € 500 or more, you can become a book sponsor of the Austrian National Library. You decide whether it should be an item that needs conserving or an object you choose based on your interests or for a special occasion – in any case, the donation will be used for the conservation of our collections.

You will receive a certificate with your name and the objects title on it. A book plate inscribed with your name will be attached to your book or item (map, poster, music manuscript …). Additionally, you
will be invited to the Director General’s annual reception.

If you donate € 1,000 or more, we also invite you to a behind-the ­scenes-tour of the Library. Furthermore, you will be honoured at the ­Director General’s annual reception.
We are grateful for any amount donated to the campaign. Amounts less than € 500 are used for the long term conservation of the Library’s holdings.

Successes to date

Over 5,000 adopters have made it possible to restore thousands of individual books, to employ more trained staff, to acquire new instruments for the work, and to preserve whole groups of holdings.

"Initiative Gutenberg 3000"

The Austrian National Library looks after holdings of most valuable historic prints, among them 8,000 incunabula (early prints done from 1454 to 1500). Those incunabula are preserved from decay due to acidic chemicals and physical wear through the use of protective envelopes. A donation of at least € 36 provides boxes for middle-sized prints. With a donation of at least € 500 you become a “classic” adopter and receive an honorary document.

Book adoptions – a timeless investment

Would you like to bequeath money? Invest in the future – in the conservation of historic sources so that further use of them and their preservation for future generations is assured.

Bank account:

Austrian National Library
BAWAG P.S.K. AG (bank code 60.000)
Account Number: 96.050.710
Seitzergasse 2-4
1010 Wien /Vienna

Intended purpose: Book Conservation
IBAN: AT38-6000-0000-9605-0710

Donations to the Campaign Book Adoption of the Austrian National Library may be quoted in Austria by private persons as a tax deduction, by companies as operating expenditure.


Elisabeth M. Edhofer
Director of Development and International Relations
Tel.: (+43 1) 534 10-260
Fax: (+43 1) 534 10-550


Michaela Hübner
Department of Development and International Relations
Tel.: (+43 1) 534 10-263
Fax: (+43 1) 534 10-550

State Hall – 200,000 books from 1501 to 1850


Conservation work in the State Hall


Body of book removed from front cover


Torn off back of book


Resewing the headband


Stitching the individual layers


New spine


Saved for future generations


last update 10/3/2013