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About the Vienna City Library

The Wienbibliothek im Rathaus, Vienna City Library, looks back on a long history, with the first written record dating back to the year 1466. In the meantime it ranks as one of the three main scholarly libraries in Vienna. Its main focus is on research into and the documentation of the history and culture of Vienna. From the second half of the 19th century on, the special collections and the collection of printed works received a major boost through the acquisition of the papers and bequests of public figures, artists, writers and scholars.

It was in the year 1905 that the Manuscript Department and the Music Department became autonomous units within the library itself. This was followed in 1923 by the Poster Department and in 1930 by the Documentation. The Printed works department is by far the oldest individual collection with its origins dating back to the 15th century.

The Vienna City Library – four of the five major collections – has been located on the 1st floor of the Vienna City Hall since the building's completion in 1883. The Music Department and the Documentation are located just around the corner at Bartensteingasse 9 in a flat designed by the Austrian architect Adolf Loos.

Holdings and collections

The Vienna City Library is one of the most important scholarly libraries with a special focus on Vienna. Its extensive holdings include not only unique Viennensia and Austriaca but also a large archival collection with the papers of many individuals. They cover the period from the late 18th century up to the immediate present and in the case of printed works date back to the late 15th century.

In addition to the Printed Works Collection with its roughly 550,000 volumes, there are more than 1100 literary bequests with around 6 million individual autographs in the Manuscript Department, almost 100,000 items in the Music Department ranging from original scores to sheet music. The Vienna City Library also has 300,000 posters - the largest collection in Austria - as well as an extensive documentation in the form of newspaper clippings and historical photographs.

Most of the holdings can be accessed online and ordered via the online catalogue or by post [at] wienbibliothek [dot] at (e-mail).

Digital collections

Access historical Viennese Adressbooks, travel guides, manuscripts from Johann Strauss, Hugo Wolf and more... : Digital collections.

How to use the library

The Vienna City Library is open Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. As it is a reference library, books and materials can only be consulted in the reading room and do not circulate. Most of the holdings can be researched and ordered in the online catalogue.

Use of the library facilities is free of charge. Users require only a valid library card and this can be obtained by presenting photo identification and filling in a short form.

Because books and other library items are located in the stacks and these are not open to users, it takes roughly 45 minutes from the time you order to the time you receive the requested book. Materials from the manuscript and music departments will be provided on the working day following your order.

Copies in digital or analogue formats can be ordered at the Reproduction Service. In addition, the library offers several microfilm and microfiche readers as well as self-serve copiers and scanners.

Large reference book sections in the reading rooms can be consulted without prior order.