FAQ | Registration and Borrowing

For your orientation on the library's website and for your first visit to one of our library buildings we have put together some helpful information. Here you can also find answers to frequently asked questions.


We are one library located at different sites:

  • At the site Unter den Linden (currently closed) readers find our historic collections.
  • At the site Potsdamer Straße readers find our modern collections.

The general collections published after 1850 can be consulted at both sites. The materials of the special collections departments (manuscripts, sheet music, maps, rare books, etc.) can only be consulted in the respective special reading rooms.

For using the library - reading rooms included – you need a library card of the Staatsbibliothek. You obtain the library card after registration. With your library card you can order books and you have access to all our electronic offers.

The library card is valid for both sites of the Staatsbibliothek.

Individual readers (minimum age: 16 years) can obtain a library card. For so-called corporate users (corporations, universities, institutes, etc.) we offer a joint library card for several authorized signatories.

Only a small part of the holdings of the Staatsbibliothek is shelved in our general and special reading rooms, where they are freely accessible. These books are for reference only (bibliographies, reference works, manuals, etc.). They cannot be taken out and can only be consulted in the library.

The largest part of the holdings is kept in the closed stacks of the two main sites or in the remote store and can be ordered electronically via the catalogue.

Registration | Library card

For using the reading rooms, the licenced electronic ressources and when ordering items from the stacks you need a library card ('Bibliotheksausweis'). Please register online.

You obtain a library card upon presentation of your identity card or passport:

With your library card you have free access to the facilities and sites of the Staatsbibliothek and you can borrow items from the libary's collections for use in the reading rooms (minimum age: 16 years). Minors need a Einverständniserklärung (declaration of consent) of their parent or legal guardian.

A renewal can be made via online renewal or in person in the library. Please come to the registration point at the book issue desk (Site Unter den Linden(currently closed)) or the registration point at the lending desk (Site Potsdamer Straße).

If you wish to borrow books to take home, we need - in addition to your identification document - a certificate of residence in Germany. If your address is not on your identification document, we need an official registration certificate.

Citizens from non-EU countries who wish to take books home need a residence permit which is still valid for at least three months or the certificate of matriculation of a university in Germany.

As a rule, you can borrow items published after 1920.

Yes, through our StabiOnline service you can register online in our library and, after receiving your access data, order media and use electronic resources. The registration is valid for one month and can be extended by issuing a library card.You will find all necessary information on our registration page.  In case you need materials from special collections (e.g. maps or sheet music), please contact the respective special department.

Library account | Password

In your library account you can see the progress of orders, items on loan and due dates. You can also renew borrowed items and update your contact information.

All information regarding your password is available at Passwort-Center. There you can change the assigned password (date of your birth, six digits) and create a new safe password.

Updates of your personal data and adress information are made upon presentation of the respective documents (identity card or passport and certificate of residence) either at the issue desk (site Unter den Linden (currently closed)) or the lending desk (site Potsdamer Straße). You cannot change these data directly in your library account.

If you indicate your email address, you will receive email notifications for your interlibrary loan requests and also for items which you have reserved.

Email notifications for standard requests will not be sent.

You will also receive a reminder email 4 days before your borrowed items are due for return. This includes items requested to the reading room as well as items borrowed for home study.

Requests | Borrowing | Returns

After searching in the catalogue you can order the desired items by clicking on the button 'Request'. Type in the number of your library card and the password (the default password is your date of birth in the format DDMMYY), then you select where you wish to collect the item and confirm with 'Request/ Reserve'.

Items which readers requested to either the collection area at the site Potsdamer Straße or to the lending desk at the site Unter den Linden (currently closed) are kept for seven days.

If a book (an item) is already on loan, you have the possibility to make a reservation. You will be notified when the item is ready for you. Then you have seven days to collect the item.

If you wish to order an issue of a journal or newspaper, please first click on the link 'zugehörige Publikationen', bottom left of the title details. Then you find a list of most volumes of the requested journal and can order the desired volume. In the list you can select either year or volume and place your order.

If you do not find the year or volume in the list, you have another way to submit an order. You can use the link 'Bestellen' next to the details on volumes/years.

You can borrow up to 60 items and in addition you can request items which you can only consult in the reading rooms (Potsdamer Straße or Unter den Linden (currently closed)). 
When you place an order it is possible to request up to a maximum of 10 items at the same time. Once the orders have been processed, you can place a new order.
If you need to increase the number of items you are allowed to borrow, you may submit an application (free of charge) to our research service.

When placing your request you can select where you want to collect the items:

  • site Potsdamer Straße, Book collection area - for external use
  • site Potsdamer Straße, Reading room hold shelf
  • site Unter den Linden, Issue desk (currently closed)

Items to take home can only be delivered to the respective collection area at the site Potsdamer Straße where readers can collect them.

We will notify you as soon as your reservation is ready for collection. The notification includes the final collection date and the respective collection area:

  • site Potsdamer Straße, Book collection area - for external use
  • site Potsdamer Straße, Reading room hold shelf
  • site Unter den Linden, Issue desk (currently closed)

You will then have seven days to collect the item.

That depends on different factors: location in the stacks, weekday and time of the day. You can see the status of your request in your library account.

When you order an item after 3 pm, the requested item can only be delivered on the next day at the earliest. Orders placed on Fridays after 3 pm and orders placed on Saturdays or Sundays can only be processed on Monday. Requested books which you wish to take home will be held in the collection area for seven days (Potsdamer Straße exclusively).

Materials of the special departments can mostly be requested and consulted in the respective special reading rooms.

In your library account you can see if your item is ready for collection. When you log in to your account with your library card number and your password, you can see on the left side at 'Loans' your orders and borrowed items. Reservations can be checked in a separate section.
If you want to see your current orders or what is available to collect: on the right side you can change the sorting order to 'return date desc.'.

You have one week to collect your requested items.

Items which you have requested to the reading room, will be available for consultation for a period of 30 days. At the end of this period we will return the items to the stacks. After an internal processing time of five days the items can be reordered.

When you have reserved items, the notification gives you the information how many days the items will be ready to collect. As a rule, the time limit is seven days.

If you have supplied your email address, you will receive an email, when a reserved book is ready for collection. If you have not supplied any other contact information, we will notify you by post. In your library account you can enter and update your email address.

As a rule you can borrow and take home items which have been published after 1920. However, this depends on the condition of the book.
Excluded are materials from the reading room collections, large formats, especially valuable books, and items which, for preservation reasons, are only available to view in the reading room, for example loose-leaf publications and unbound journals.

If the item you requested cannot be supplied, a notification will be sent to your library account where you find it under ‚Loans‘: "keine Bereitstellung möglich" = "cannot be made available". 
The section ‚additional information' gives the reasons for it. For more information, please contact our information services.

For hygiene reasons, the return of borrowed books is currently only possible without receipt.

For the return of items which you have borrowed and taken home there is a book trolley at the entrance control at the site Potsdamer Straße.

For the return of books used in the reading room at the site Potsdamer Straße there is a book return trolley on the 2nd floor, right in the middle of the section for books requested for consultation in the reading room.

Please contact one of our reference desks, if you are not sure whether a publication is actually not in the Staatsbibliothek's holdings. During our service hours you can reach us by telephone on +49 30 266 433 888. 
If you need literature that we do not have in stock, you can place an interlibrary loan order - Fernleihbestellung.

Loan period | Renewal | Fines

The regular loan period is 30 calendar days. It is possible to renew seven times online as long as the item is not reserved.


Provided that you have indicated your email address, you will receive a reminder email four days before the end of the loan period for your borrowed media which you use either at home or in the reading rooms.

Please consider that this is only an additional service of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. Overdue fines for books/ items which were returned too late will not be waived, they still must be paid. Therefore you should always check when your borrowed items are due for return.

In your library account you find the menu item 'Loans' where you can select the media items which you want to renew. You submit your extension request by clicking on „renew". The information whether the renewal is possible will be instantly displayed. Please note that the extension of a loan period is limited to a maximum of up to seven times.

You can renew your items up to seven times.

For the extension of the loan period the following is required:

  • At the end of the loan period of your library card still has to be valid.
  • Your library card is not be blocked.
  • The requested item is not reserved by another reader.

Please take care that you do not renew an item long before the loan period ends.

If you still need the item after the seventh renewal, you first have to show the item at the lending desk and then you can request it again.
These renewal rules do not apply to permanent lockers or book trolleys listed in your library account.

You will receive a reminder by email or by post. These reminders are generated automatically. You will also have to pay an overdue fine for every single item:

1st overdue reminder: 3 Euro
2nd overdue reminder: 4 Euro
3rd overdue reminder: 5 Euro
4th overdue reminder: 10 Euro

The library sends out overdue reminders every 10 calendar days.

The following only applies, when there is no response to the reminders: Any user who, on demand, fails to return an item has to face legal action and will be held liable for all costs incurred.

We do not charge overdue fines for items, which were ordered to the reading rooms.

You have different opportunities to pay:

  • with a German EC card)

    • at the site Unter den Linden  on the 1st floor at the issue desk (currently closed)

    • at the site Potsdamer Straße on the ground floor at the lending desk

  • by bank transfer

Loans are not automatically extended when you pay overdue charges or fines. You still have to renew the items.

In the reading room

Please leave any jacket, bag or backpack in a locker. For these lockers you either have to bring your own padlock or a 1 € coin which you get back.
For your working materials we offer you baskets. Alternatively, you can use a transparent library bag of your own or buy one at a vending machine in the entrance hall.
Unfortunately, food, drinks (water is allowed), sweets and hand cream have to be left outside. 
Due to the pandemic, the cloakroom is currently closed.


Yes, it is permitted to take water into the controlled area of the general reading rooms provided that readers use closed and transparent bottles. Please close the bottles and keep them under the reading room tables. 

Bringing drinks and food into the controlled areas is not permitted.

If you buy food and drinks in the library café, please consume them in the café. Bringing products bought in the café into the reading rooms is not permitted, except for water in closed and clear bottles.

There is a library café in both buildings: in the Potsdamer Straße building on the 1st floor, in the Unter den Linden building (currently closed) on the ground floor.

Yes, that is possible. In both buildings you can reserve working places and carrels. Please note that there may be waiting lists.

Due to the pandemic, booking a time slot is necessary for the use of a desk. Reservations for specific desks are not possible.


Yes, registered readers can use WiFi in the library buildings.
To have access to eduroam you can also use the access details of your home institution.
For more information please refer to the WiFi website.


You can place items which you requested to the reading room on shelves in a special section on the 2nd floor (Buchrücklage).

For a monthly fee of 5 € you can rent a locker (site Potsdamer Straße) or a trolley (site Unter den Linden (currently closed)). For rental forms and information on other additional services please look here. Lockers and trolleys will be listed on your library account. After the end of the loan period a reminder will be sent and you will be charged an overdue fine. The rental period can be extended.

Of course you can. In both buildings readers may use the facilities of our copy centre:

  • At the site Unter den Linden (currently closed) the copy centre is located on the 1st floor beside the book issue desk, on the way to the Rare Books reading room.

  • At the site Potsdamer Straße the copy centre is located on the 1st floor (level of the library café) directly left of the main stairway.

There you have the opportunity to put money on your library card in order to use the scanners. As soon as you have added credit to your library account, you may use all facilities available in the copy centre.

  • Self service: Mon-Sa 8am-10pm
  • Service hours: Mon-Sa 12am-6pm

Yes, you can contact our DigiService for the digitisation of copyright-free works (70 years after the author died).
You may have your own materials digitised in the Copy Centre.