Rare and precious prints, predominantly from the early collection groups, were protected by placing them into special collection groups, such as the Rariora collection, already in the 19th century.
Starting in 1973, the library's holdings were searched systematically for further rare and valuable books, works with original graphics, first editions and rare works from the fields of belles lettres, scholarly disciplines and cultural history.
For this substantially expanded collection of rare and valuable printed works particularly worthy of protection from all subject areas and all centuries, the collection group "Reserve" was founded. The volumes transferred from the general collections have kept their classification marks, which are now preceded by the letters "Res" as shelf mark.
The collection group has a universal orientation and contains, in addition to first editions of famous works, unique copies or particularly rare printed works, also books of special provenance, products of famous print shops, and important works with original graphics or editions with special book decoration.
The collection is managed by the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books. Titles from the collection group Reserve can be consulted in the reading room of the department, provided that this is permitted by their state of conservation. The titles can be searched in BSB DISCOVER!.