Press archive

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB) preserves an extensive collection of most valuable manuscripts and printed works. A selection of 400 important works, which form part of the unique written cultural heritage of Bavaria, has now been made available online at the cultural portal bavarikon. The access to the cultural treasures has been designed to be particularly user-friendly for laypersons, giving an insight into the collection without requiring any prior knowledge. A large part of the manuscripts and printed books in addition has extensive descriptions in German and in English.

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The manuscript collection of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek records the addition of precious items: A total of three high-ranking German-language manuscripts of Bavarian origin could be acquired at the same time for the library from the antiquarian book trade. After conservatory treatment by the library’s own Institute of Conservation and Restoration and cataloguing, they are now being digitized and will be made available for academic research subsequently.

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The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek complements its renowned collection by two very rare works of the Czech artist Josef Váchal (1884 – 1969): "Ďáblova zahrádka, aneb přírodopis strašidel" ("The devil's garden, or the natural history of spirits") of the year 1924 and "Šumava umírající a romantická" ("Bohemian Forest dying and romantical") of 1931. The two impressive, leather-bound folio volumes are illustrated with exquisite coloured wood engravings and rank among the absolute masterpieces of Czech modern art between the two world wars.

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In the course of the Bavaria-wide loosening of the measures taken due to the corona pandemic, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, which had to be closed completely on 17 March, has been re-opened and taken up its services again step by step. Since 25 May, the library has now been offering the majority of its services again.

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On 25 May 2020, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek reopens its successful photography exhibition "MUNICH. LOOK here!" for the public. Visitors can then view the 270 exhibits from the historical image archive of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek with certain limitations – up to and including 31 July 2020 at that.

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In the light of the current situation, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is directing its focus more strongly at its digital contents and optimizes its services for users. These services range from a simplified registration process to virtual exhibitions.

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From 6 March to 21 June 2020, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek shows the photographic exhibition "MUNICH. LOOK here! The Image Archive of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek". 250 historical images from the mid-19th century up to the 1970s invite visitors to go on an exciting journey through time in Munich and its surroundings. The extraordinary photographs are from well-known Munich photographers, such as Franz Hanfstaengl, Georg Fruhstorfer, Felicitas Timpe or Heinrich Hoffmann. The Image Archive of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, which manages the photographic legacies and image archives, offers a representative insight into the institution’s outstanding photograph collections.

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The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has received the personal papers of the composer Josef Anton Riedl (born in Munich in 1927, died in Murnau in 2016), including both his musical work and documentation of his life, as a donation by the family von Külmer, Christiane and Stefanie von Külmer. At the initiative of the musicologist Pia Steigerwald, who could be won by the heirs as curator of the personal papers, the Staatsbibliothek now preserves music manuscripts and reproductions of Riedl's own works. In addition, the collection includes his very extensive correspondence with renowned composers and international cultural institutions since the late 1940s. Film material, slides, photographs, manuscripts and an extensive collection of concert and event posters and program booklets of the time between the 1950s and the 2000s complement the collection and round it off.

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In the course of the coming three years, the German Research Foundation will fund the development of a union catalogue and of a portal "Orient-Digital" for oriental manuscripts. It is intended to establish common cataloguing standards, to convert printed catalogues into electronic ones and to pool all existing electronic catalogue entries. Under the direction of the Oriental Department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, the Gotha Research Library, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich and the University Computation Center (URZ) Leipzig will be cooperating closely. Academic libraries in Germany host extensive and diverse collections of oriental manuscripts. These constitute an essential part of the written cultural heritage of the world and are of utmost importance as primary sources for various scholarly fields of specialisation.

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Within the framework of an event on 4 December 2019, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB) has restituted 203 illegally acquired books from its holdings to the German Masonic Museum in Bayreuth in the presence of Minister of Sciences Bernd Sibler. The library thus continues its endeavours started in 2003 to return NS loot to its original owners or their heirs or legal successors.

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The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has just made its 2.5 millionth digital copy available online. Around 70 percent of its copyright-free holdings have thus been made freely accessible on the Internet. Scholars, researchers and the broad public are thus provided with fast and easy access to important treasures of culture and knowledge. For the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek digitization today does not only mean the scanning of its holdings. The development, testing and provision of digital services and products have meanwhile become the core of its activities in the topical field of the "digital library".

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In the presence of Bernd Sibler, the Bavarian State Minister of Sciences, Research and the Arts, the analogue photographic archive of the magazine STERN is presented for the first time today at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB), with a number of former STERN photographers taking part as well. Moreover, a small selection of photographs is shown. The Hamburg publishing house Gruner + Jahr donated the analogue photographic archive of the magazine STERN, which comprises 15 million photographs, to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek at the start of 2019, in order to ensure the long-term existence of the archive and to make it accessible to the public and research.

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The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has concluded the renovation of its East European, Oriental and Asian Reading Room. Designed by the well-known architect Sep Ruf, the reading room now offers around 50 modern, barrier-free workplaces with high-performance WLAN and a comfortable reading corner. The reconstruction also involves a new concept of use. The East European, Oriental and Asian Reading Room is opened to the public again on 15 July.

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Starting in the treasure vaults of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek on 15 April, the third part of the exhibition "God, the world and Bavaria" tells about "war and peace, joy and sorrow". The exhibits are from the collections of the ten regional State Libraries of Bavaria, including a filigree silver binding crafted by a goldsmith from Augsburg, a caricature by E. T. A. Hofmann from his time in Bamberg, a handwritten letter by Bertolt Brecht to his childhood sweetheart, as well as a little wartime cookbook from Regensburg of 1915.

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The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has successfully submitted three requests for the continuation of the funding line "Fachinformationsdienste für die Wissenschaft" ("Specialised Information Services for Research and Scholarship") by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The library receives funds in the amount of EUR 7.4 million for the years 2019 to 2021. They will serve for the further expansion of the Specialised Information Services for Classical Studies, Historical Studies and Russian, East and Southeast European Studies.

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The publishing house Gruner + Jahr commits the analogue photographic archive of the journal STERN to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB) in Munich, in order to secure the long-term existence of the archive and to make it accessible to the public and to research. The donation comprises over 15 million photographs from the years 1948 to 1997 in the form of prints, negatives and slides. The archive constitutes one of the largest collections of photographs in the German language area. It is considered the visual memory of the Federal Republic of Germany and one of the most important documents of photo journalism on a worldwide scale. With its multiply award-winning illustrative features, the STERN has developed a unique visual power and has set standards in magazine journalism for over 70 years. The BSB is one of the world’s leading heritage institutions to now take over responsibility for this unique cultural good. In addition to conserving the photographic archive, the donation contract also includes the gradual digitization of the archive by the library and the legal clarification of the conditions of use.

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As of 21 January 2019, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek shows books, maps and globes of the 16th and 17th century in the second part of its exhibition “God, the World and Bavaria”. Titled “From the Orient and the Occident”, a number of outstanding pieces are shown, such as two globes of Gerhard Mercator, the celestial atlas of Andreas Cellarius, “De Revolutionibus” of Nicolaus Copernicus and a coat of arms of Lucas Cranach the Elder.

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One hundred years ago, a revolution brought down the rule of the Wittelsbach dynasty and Kurt Eisner proclaimed the "Free State of Bavaria". On this occasion the cultural portal bavarikon presents the virtual exhibition "Revolution and Soviet Republics in Bavaria 1918/ 19". At bavarikon.de/revolution1918, 90 high-carat exhibits from ten cultural institutions have been made accessible recently. The focus of the exhibition is on the events in the capital Munich. In addition, also different developments in ten further places in Franconia, Swabia and Old Bavaria are shown.

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400 square metres, 130 new workplaces, modern design and high quality of stay: On Thursday, 8 November 2018, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek inaugurates the new "Plaza" on the ground floor of the library building in Ludwigstrasse. The new space with a wide variety of workplace scenarios is the next step towards further improving services for the library users.

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Titled "Gott, die Welt und Bayern", the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek presents one hundred highlights of the ten regional State Libraries of Bavaria in its treasure vaults from 17 October 2018 to 7 July 2019. Up to 13 January 2019, the first part of the tripartite exhibition series shows valuable medieval manuscripts and printed works up to the time of the Reformation, among them the famous World Chronicle of Hartmann Schedel or the so-called "Lorscher Arzneibuch", which forms part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

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The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has recently acquired an album and armorial containing twelve rare gouache works of the Munich Renaissance painter Bartholomäus Reiter (1570 – 1622). Created between 1568 and 1621, the manuscript is the first testament to the master painter forming part of the collections of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Apparently, it is also the first manuscript evidently created by his hand to be found worldwide.

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The project "NatHosting II" supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) provides a Germany-wide, coordinated solution for ensuring permanent and undisturbed access to licensed digital publications – independently of publishers' platforms. The acquired electronic resources of all participating libraries will be kept retrievable after the end of a subscription, in the event of temporary failures of publishing houses' servers or the complete withdrawal of a publishing house from the market. Like a safety net, "NatHosting" takes the place of the publishers' platforms in such cases by its hosting, thus permitting undisturbed, continued access to the licensed contents.

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According to most recent findings, the Bavarian State Library’s broadside of globe gores by Martin Waldseemüller (BSB call number Mapp. I,5 ua) is not an authentic print but a copy, probably produced before 1960, of the document in possession of the University of Minnesota. This is the conclusion based on the results of a thorough materials science examination conducted by the Bavarian State Library’s Institute of Conservation and Restoration. The print, thus far dated from the year 1507, is one of only six known copies. The Waldseemüller map is famous for being the first to use the name "America".

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Historians and everybody interested in regional history can use the research platform "recensio.regio – Rezensionsplattform für die Landesgeschichte" (review platform for regional history) as of now. At the address www.recensio-regio.net, the portal offers access to reviews of regional-historical specialist journals, constituting a primary point of access for information on recent publications about regional history in the German language. The reviews of the cooperating journals are available to the users in full-text search mode. The platform can be accessed freely and free of charge.

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The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek receives the personal papers of Anna Wimschneider (1919 – 1993) as a donation from the community of heirs, i.a. the handwritten manuscript of her autobiographic novel "Herbstmilch" ("Autumn Milk").

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The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek acquires an extensive collection of partisan prints, predominantly from the region of today's Slovenia. The library thus complements its holdings by adding first-class sources on the South-East European and German history during the Second World War.

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On 27/09/2017, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB) hands back 67 titles formerly owned by the "Association of Catholic religious education teachers at the institutions of higher education in Bavaria" to its successor organisation, the "Association of Catholic religious education teachers at the grammar schools in Bavaria" (Verband der katholischen Religionslehrer und Religionslehrerinnen an den Gymnasien in Bayern e. V., KRGB).

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From 20 September 2017 to 7 January 2018, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek presents the book as an autonomous work of art, forming the center of its exhibition "SHOWCASE – Artists' books from the collection of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek". The exhibition illustrates impressively the enormous differences between the artists' approaches to using the book as a form of expression. The works on display reach from the historical avant-gardes of the 20th century to conceptual artists' books of the 1960s and 1970s, and up to the present.

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The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek returns 56 unlawfully acquired books from its holdings to two institutions and one individual, thus facing up to its responsibility.

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Over 1.9 million digitized volumes, the largest fleet of scanners of all German cultural institutions, innovation projects such as the image-based similarity search, the newspaper portal digiPress, apps, 3D digitization, new presentation systems for digital contents, cooperation projects with Google, the Stanford University Libraries or the Fraunhofer Society and much more mark the digitization strategy of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich. The library now celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Munich Digitization Center (MDZ). Founded in 1997 in the form of a digitization division of the library with the financial support of the German Research Foundation, today the MDZ is the central library institution for developing, testing and launching new, innovative products, services and processes in the broad field of the "digital library".

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