Reading Rooms and Services

The Staatsbibliothek houses in its reading rooms reference works and information resources on all academic disciplines – with a special focus on humanities, cultural and social sciences.
Special reading rooms differ from the general reading rooms. There you find reference works which, as a result of the type of material or the geographical area, especially refer to the items preserved in the special departments.
Items of the special departments can only be consulted in the respective reading rooms.

Orientation in the Reading Rooms

Reading Rooms

Holdings in the General Reading Rooms

Collection building activities in the general reading rooms of both locations are closely coordinated and complement each other.

The reading room at Haus Unter den Linden represents the historical research library and offers sources and reference works on the period until 1900 (subject history until 1918). The reading room at Haus Potsdamer Straße represents the modern research library, that is the period from 1900/1918 until today – enlarged by a core collection for all subject areas.

Readers wishing to know which works - including electronic resources - are available in the General Reading Rooms can consult the relevant subject classification via the the online catalogue (StaBiKat). The abbreviations HA and HB refer to the reference collections at the sites of Potsdamer Straße and Unter den Linden respectively. The classification scheme is roughly the same at both sites and also includes a selection of scientific journals and their recent issues.

The print collections are completed by the Electronic reading room, the deliberate inclusion of particularly important electronic resources into the subject classification of the open-shelf reading rooms. The electronic resources available in the reading room can nearly always also be remotely accessed from outside the library.

Conditions of use

Items shelved in the reading rooms can only be consulted in the reading rooms, they cannot be borrowed.
Some of our holding are only provided for on-site use in the reading room (or even only in the reading room Unter den Linden).

Drinks may be taken into the reading rooms in closeable bottles. Food is only permitted outside the reading rooms.


In the following, you will find information on our services related to the use of the reading rooms.

At our site Potsdamer Straße you can reach the information staff in the reading room personally from Monday - Saturday from 10am - 6pm.

At our site Unter den Linden you can get help and advice at the Information next to the Issue Desk from Monday - Friday, 10am - 6pm and Saturday, 2pm - 6pm.

Study Desks in the Haus Unter den Linden:

General Reading Room

  • 250 study desks
  • 27 carrels

Information Centre

  • 32 study desks, 8 Database and Internet Workstations

Group Study Rooms

  • 12 study desks
  • 4 Group Study Rooms (overall capacity: 28 persons)

Claudio Abbado - Room

  • 18 study desks

Former Children’s and Young People’s Literature Reading Room

  • 16 study desks

Study Desks in the Haus Potsdamer Straße:

  • 570 study desks, 27 Database and Internet Workstations
  • 27 carrels

In all locations study desks for wheelchair users and visually impaired people are available. Find out more information here.

At the site Unter den Linden on the 1st floor opposite to the Information Centre you may find three group study rooms for 6 persons and one for 10 persons. The rooms may currently be used without registration You can also retreat there alone, for example for a web meeting. The rooms are relatively soundproof.
Condition for access and use is a valid library card of the Staatsbibliothek.

Group Study Rooms at the site Potsdamer Straße will remain closed due to long-term constructions until further notice. For group work there are tables and seats in the Entrance Hall.

Haus Unter den Linden

  • Information Centre, 1. OG
  • Claudio Abbado-Hall, 2. OG
  • all Special Reading Rooms

Haus Potsdamer Straße

  • Laptop-free zone in the General Reading Room: on the 4th floor in the gallery at the very back and on the 2nd floor in the window corner behind HB 5
  • all Special Reading Rooms

You can find a room for participating in video conferences with your own laptop in the former Reading Room for Children's and Young People's Literature at Haus Unter den Linden. Soundproof furniture between the study desks is still being installed.

Carrels are available to you for more extensive academic work with the collections of the Staatsbibliothek. You can reserve a carrel online. For further information on booking conditions, please visit StabiBooking.

For people with severe disabilities and pregnant women one carrel is available at both sites. Please enquire about free capacities via / using the keyword "Carrel."

Microform readers are available in the reading rooms.

Study desks and computers with access to the internet and to licensed databases are available in the reading room. Internet access via Wifi or Eduroam is, of course, possible. For more information please have a look at the Wireless Portal. If you encounter difficulties with the Wifi access, please contact staff at the information, you may also use the contact form in the Wireless Portal.

The start of print-jobs from your laptop is possible. View instructions on the pages of the copy-shop.

You can bring your laptop or netbook (without bag) with you into the reading rooms, power sockets are available at all study places. If you wish to transport work materials, we would provide a carry basket for you.

Our provider Bibliocopy offers library users scanners, printers and digitization facilities i.e. for scanning library collections, as well as a selection of office supplies. All devices are equipped with a card for self-service, which can be loaded with credit. Scanning and copying equipment is available within the reading room areas during all opening hours. 

The service times of the copy facilities in both buildings: Mo-Wed, Fri and Sat 11am-5pm, Thur 12pm-6pm.

During service hours, card loading, service and advice, office material sales and the acceptance of repro or service orders are possible.

There is also a scantent in each building to enable easy scanning with an appropriate smartphone app for free and up to A3 format. Exactly where to find and how to use them is explained in this German blog entry. Furthermore, three microfilm scanners are available in the Newspaper Reading Room at the Haus Unter den Linden. You can reserve an appointment time in advance.

In both buildings you have the possibility to rent StabiBoxes for storing your documents. For more information, please click on StabiBooking.