General Reading Room

Opening hours General Reading Room

Monday – Sunday08:00 – 24:00 Uhr

Booking a working place

Prior reservation of a working place is required for every visit to the reading room.

Further information on booking a working place in a reading room
To the date selection for the General Reading Room


The General Reading Room – on the 1st floor – is the largest reading room of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, offering 520 seats and 80,000 freely accessible volumes. On three levels, important reference works, basic standard literature on almost all subject areas and the bound annual volumes of selected, frequently requested periodicals are provided. The General Reading Room is connected directly to the Periodicals Reading Room by a lift.

Overview plan  (PDF, 132 KB)

Reference library

The reference library encompasses reference works and the basic standard literature on all subject areas, with emphasis placed on humanities, and is shelved systematically. The literature types available in the individual subject areas are primarily: Subject encyclopaedias and specialized dictionaries, source works, text editions, handbooks, text books, comments, subject bibliographies and partly specialized periodicals.

The entire collection housed in the reading room is traceable in BSB DISCOVER! (location mark: Hbl).


Search tip: You can locate items belonging to the reference library of the General Reading Room in targeted manner in BSB DISCOVER!, for example, by selecting "General Reading Room" in the search field of the "Simple Search" (click on the magnifying glass) instead of "Search everything".

The collections of the General Reading Room may be used exclusively in the reading room.

Online reading room classification system

The online classification of the reading room is currently still divided into two main parts:

  • HIRA (general departments) and
  • HIRB (Bavarica departments, literature particularly about Bavaria).
    The Bavarica literature is accommodated in the Aventinus Reading Room.

► Online reading room classification system

Quick guide

The left screen side of the online version shows a tree structure that can be expanded as needed to view further sub-items.

The searched term can also be entered in a search window (at the very top). As a result, the corresponding system location or a selection of similar terms is displayed.

Clicking on a bullet on the left screen side opens a display of the superior hierarchy levels on the right screen side and (if applicable) more detailed descriptions (in brown colour) and references to related system locations (blue).

The system location designates the location of the works in the General Reading Room. These collections can be consulted immediately in the General Reading Room, however they are not available for home lending.

Reading room classification system (Quick guide)

The classification system of the reading room is subdivided into a total of 999 main categories.
Subject-related literature is catalogued under the main categories 004 to 999.

Subject areas (in alphabetical order)
Administrative law (general)428
Biography (general)299
Christian religion350
Civil engineering538
Civil law402
Communication studies476
Computer science664
Dictionaries (general)003
Economic science (general)569
Education science860
Educational science860
Environmental protection250
General bibliographies002
Higher education882
International law (general)434
Labour law412
Library catalogues002
Military science440
Nature conservation251
Penal law419
Political science (general)500
Private law402
Protection of industrial property411
Public law (general)425
Regional studies140
Religious studies310
Science (general)085
Social sciences460
Tax law555
Veterinary medicine710

Contact reading-room loan service

Phone+49 89 28638-2416
Online enquiry serviceOnline form

Loaning items to the General Reading Room

Almost all items from the collections of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek can be ordered for consultation in the General Reading Room in BSB DISCOVER!. For reasons of conservation, some works, e. g. large formats or books with a large number of illustrations, may be used exclusively in the reading rooms anyway.

Ordered items are made available in the corresponding provision shelves in the reading room after 2 to 3 working days. Please collect the volumes there yourself. These are already booked for you and you can work with them immediately. For subsequent use kindly return the media to the provision shelves. After expiry of the loan term they are automatically returned to the stacks. Please note in this context that the loan term can be extended. When you no longer require the media, kindly take them to the depot in the marble hall.

Media ordered for consultation in the reading room cannot be taken home.

Detailed information about loaning media  (to the reading rooms)

Opening hours of service desk 1  (in the Marble Hall)

Monday – Friday09:00 – 17:00

Opening hours of service desk 2  (in the Marble Hall)

By arrangement
Please contact us if you have any questions:
Phone  +49 89 28638-2005

Service desks

At the service desks 1 and 2 in the Marble Hall in front of the entrance to the General Reading Room, our staff offers the following services:

Service desk 1

  • Information and support in connection with your user account (questions on ordering and loaning, locking of account)
  • Ordering and provision of special media
  • Admission to the Aventinus Reading Room

Service desk 2

Reading-room cubicles

In the General Reading Room, a number of lockable work cubicles are available, containing a writing desk, a shelf and, if required, a book trolley. They can be rented by individuals for a certain period of time.

The cubicles are intended primarily to facilitate work for which a large number of books from the collections of the library is permanently required. They can be rented exclusively by individuals for concretely specified scholarly work which takes a longer period of time but is nevertheless limited in time, and which aims at publication. Doctoral theses and professorial dissertations fall under this category of scholarly work, but not internal papers for examination purposes, such as graduate theses, admission dissertations and diploma theses.

  • The rental period can be two, four, six or eight weeks.
  • The use of the cubicles is subject to charge.
    The fees are € 12.50 per two weeks.
  • A written request is required for renting a cubicle, stating the grounds of the necessity and the required period of time (for example the subject of the thesis together with a confirmation by the faculty or by the thesis supervisor).

An online form is available for application:
Online form  (reading-room cubicles)

Request forms and further information can also be obtained at the service desk in the marble hall (1st floor).

Technical equipment

  • WLAN access   (WLAN information)
  • Internet workstations
  • Microfilm- and microfiche reading devices
  • PC with DVD-ROM drive  (for using CD-ROMs and DVDs from the reading room collection and media ordered from the stacks)
  • Earphones, Walkman, slide viewer  (available upon request at the service desk 1 in the marble hall)

Opening hours copying center

Monday – Sunday08:00 – 23:45

Availability of technical support

Monday – Friday09:00 – 18:45
Saturday10:00 – 15:00

Contact technical support

Phone+49 89 28638-2423

Copying/scanning service

Copying center in the General Reading Room

In order to safeguard the collections also for the coming generations, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek offers incident-light book scanners which provide for gentle scanning.

The following equipment is available at the copying center in the General Reading Room:

  • 5 incident-light scanners
  • 2 printers black & white/colour
  • 2 copy card vending machines

Detailed information about services and fees, further locations, service times, etc. can be found here:

Scanners, copiers, printers

The on-site technical support will be pleased to assist you with all questions concerning copying, copy cards and internet access.

Digitization orders

The digitization and photographic reproductions service within the framework of the document delivery service "Altes Buch" ("older and rare printed works") of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek produces high-quality and reproducible scans. You can generate corresponding orders for reproductions with the aid of the programme ERaTo. Such orders can also be placed at the information counter in the General Reading Room.

Document delivery service "Altes Buch"  (range of services, prices, etc.))

Generate an order for reproductions online using ERaTo