1558Duke Albrecht V founds the Munich court library by purchasing the private library of the Austrian chancellor and Orientalist Johann Albrecht Widmannstetter.
1571The library of Johann Jakob Fugger, containing the collection of the Nuremberg physician and humanist Hartmann Schedel, is purchased for the court library.
1663The Bavarian legal-deposit law enters into force. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek already ranks among the largest libraries of Europe.
1802 – 1803In Bavaria monasteries and clerical dukedoms are annexed by the secular state. The library's holdings are increased by about 450,000 printed books and 18,600 manuscripts.
1803 – 1804The court library of Electoral Palatinate, owned by Elector Karl Theodor and comprising 100,000 volumes, is transferred from Mannheim to Munich.
1814 – 1850The cataloguing of the enormous number of works acquired in the course of the secularisation takes several decades. Johann Andreas Schmeller catalogues the collection of manuscripts; Martin Schrettinger catalogues the printed works.
1832 – 1843The move to the new library building in Ludwigstrasse, built by Friedrich von Gaertner to the order of Ludwig I, puts an end to the so far rather cramped conditions of storage and use of the library's collections. The exquisite building designed by Friedrich von Gaertner is for a long time regarded as the most modern library building of the world and gives direction to library building concepts.
Around 1900The library develops into a modern library for public scholarly use. User catalogues are set up, the opening hours are extended and access to the library is liberalized.
1919In the year of revolution the Munich court library is renamed as Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.
1939 – 1945During the Second World War 85 percent of the building and a quarter of the holdings are destroyed.
1945 – 1970The building is reconstructed, evacuated holdings are reintegrated. In 1966 the annex designed by Sep Ruf is completed; in 1970 the reconstruction of the south wing is concluded.

Built 175 years ago – destroyed 75 years ago

Virtual exhibition on the construction history of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

To the virtual exhibition
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, annex from southeast. Photography around 1968 | © BSB/ Image Archive
Since 1949The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek assumes responsibility for the subjects of pre-history and early history; history (general); classical studies; Byzantium; history of Germany, Austria and Switzerland; history of France and Italy; CIS states; Eastern Europe; modern Greece (up to 1998) and musicology within the framework of the programme of special collection areas of the German Research Foundation. In 2008 the subject area "information science, book studies and library science" is added.
Starting 1972The electronic cataloguing of periodicals represents the advent of electronic data processing. In 1982 electronic cataloguing is extended to also encompass monographs, in 1993 the online public access catalogue (OPAC) is made accessible via the Internet. Today the majority of holdings from the publication year 1500 onward is searchable online by means of state-of-the-art search engine technology.
1988With about 150,000 new acquisitions per year the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek maintains its leading position among the German libraries. In 1988 some urgently required additional storage space was obtained in the form of a book repository in the north of Munich.
1994 – 2004Refurbishment of the building and of the technical systems, incurring expenses of 40 million euros.
1995The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is one of the first libraries in Germany to establish a Department of Conservation and Collection Care.
1996 – 2005Retrospective conversion of the comprehensive catalogues from 1841 to 1981. The complete holdings of printed works of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek are thus made searchable online from all over the world.
1997The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek presents itself in the Internet with its first own website.
Since 1997Establishment of the "Munich Digitization Center" of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek with the financial support of the German Research Foundation.
1998The Association of "Sponsors and Friends of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek" ("Förderer und Freunde der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek e. V.") is founded.
1999The public library-administration system in Bavaria is reorganised. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek starts acting as a public agency, assuming coordination and planning tasks for the overall Bavarian library system.
Since 2001Establishment of "Virtual Special Libraries" in the areas of collection emphasis of history, music, Eastern Europe, classical studies and the Romanic cultural area with the support of the German Research Foundation.
2004Three Reichenau manuscripts held by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek are entered in the Memory of the World Register of UNESCO.
2005Conversion of the conventional catalogues concluded. The complete holdings of printed works of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek are thus made available from all over the world.
Start of the second construction stage of the Garching book repository. The Garching branch now offers room for approximately 6 million books.
2006The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek extends its opening hours. It is now open for visitors from 8 AM to 12 PM every day.
The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek presents its completely redesigned website.
Conclusion of a cooperation agreement with the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz.
The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is entered in the University and College Act as service provider for Bavaria as a center of science and research.
2007First-time use of scanning robot technology, among others for digitising the printed books of the 16th century published in the German-language area held by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.
Entry into the public-private partnership with Google, aiming at the digitization of the collections of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek which are not subject to copyright protection.
With the substantial aid of a large alliance of foundations, public and private sponsors and particularly also the Federal Republic of Germany, the Free State of Bavaria acquires five volumes of the famous Ottheinrich bible.
2008The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek celebrates its 450th anniversary.
The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is awarded the title "Library of the Year 2008" by the ZEIT Foundation Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius.
Press release of the year 2008 (in German)
2009The Nibelungen manuscript of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is entered in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.
Thanks to a broad alliance of funders the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek manages to acquire an extremely valuable manuscript and a unique coloured print from the private collection of S. D. Hubertus Fürst Fugger-Babenhausen.
2010The new research reading room especially for the historical sciences and Bavarica is inaugurated.
The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is the first library worldwide to present digital copies of most valuable, outstanding items from its collections in the mobile internet.
2012The exhibition "Magnificent Manuscripts" in the Kunsthalle of the Hypo Cultural Foundation attracts 80,000 visitors.
The "Literaturportal Bayern" goes live.
2013The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek acquires the 10-millionth volume and presents over one million digitised works.
The portal "bavarikon – Kultur- und Wissensschätze Bayerns" goes live.
2014Thanks to the support of a broad alliance of foundations, public and private sponsors and particularly also with the support of the federal government, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek acquires the so-called Lafreri atlas and the historical archive of the Schott publishing house.
2016The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek presents the three-part exhibition series "Bilderwelten – Buchmalerei zwischen Mittelalter und Neuzeit" (Worlds of images – Illumination and book illustration between the Middle Ages and the modern era), for the first time also accompanied by a virtual exhibition on Google Arts & Culture.
The library's website is being remodelled, adopting a modern, new design.
2017The Munich Digitization Center celebrates its 20th anniversary.
In its annual exhibition "Showcase", the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek presents artist's books from its internationally renowned collection.
2018Opening of the new "Plaza" on the ground floor of the library building in Ludwigstrasse. The new, 400 square metres large area offers a broad variety of working-place scenarios for the library’s users.
2019The publishing house Gruner + Jahr transfers the analogue photographic archive of the magazine STERN, which comprises 15 million photographs, to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in order to ensure the long-term existence of the archive and to make it accessible to the public and research.
2020The Covid pandemic leads to the first complete closure of the library since the Second World War. The library remains closed from 17 March to 26 April 2020. Online services are expanded massively during this period. The library restarts its on-site operations carefully, in multiple steps and with a large number of limitations as of the end of April 2020. The photo exhibition "MUNICH. LOOK here!" is likewise affected by the library closure.
2021After the strong limitations due to the Covid pandemic, the library’s operation and user access are normalised again in mid-2021.
2022With the provision of around 33,000 issues of the Münchner Neueste Nachrichten from 1875 to 1932, digiPress, the newspaper portal of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, presents a further central historical source and grows to around 8.5 million pages.
Having been extended, the annual exhibition on the 50th anniversary of the Olympic Games, "The Olympic Games 72 in images. Photographs from the collections of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek", closes with a record number of visitors.