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Library

Information on the use of the library in the Federal Archives

Außenansicht der "Andrews Chapel" in Berlin-Lichterfelde, bis 2018 Ort der Bibliothek des Bundesarchivs

The Federal Archives holds over 2 million publications for its employees and visitors at six different locations.

The various locations of the Federal Archives collect different types of literature depending on their areas of expertise:

  • Koblenz: literature on the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Berlin-Lichterfelde: literature on German history from 1495 to 1945, the GDR, the labour and trade union movement, and the history of German film
  • Freiburg: literature on German military history
  • Bayreuth: literature on flight and expulsion at the end of the Second World War
  • Ludwigsburg: literature on the investigation of Nazi crimes
  • Rastatt: literature on the history of freedom movements in Germany

The themed literature at each location is supplemented by general reference works and archival documents. Our libraries acquire topical research and specialist literature and expand their holdings with official publications, grey literature and library collections obtained through acquisitions made by archive departments. They also collect specimen copies of publications written with the help of archive material.

Detailed information can be found in the library’s collection profile.

The libraries at all our locations form a joint academic library and staff library for our employees. From an organisational perspective, the library forms part of the foundation “Archives of the Political Parties and Mass Organisations of the GDR” (SAPMO) in the Federal Archives. This was founded on 1 January 1993 as a dependent foundation under public law within the Federal Archives, in order to conserve, utilise and supplement archive material and library holdings on the political parties and mass organisations of the GDR.

The library holdings acquired when the foundation was created can now be found in Berlin-Lichterfelde (including 750,000 volumes from the Institute for Marxism-Leninism in the Central Committee of the SED and 250,000 volumes from the Central Library of Trade Unions of the FDGB). Its collections have since been supplemented by 200,000 volumes from the staff library of the Central State Archive of the GDR and other acquisitions, which means the library in Berlin-Lichterfelde now boasts 1.7 million volumes and by far the most extensive range of holdings within the Federal Archives.

Use of the Library

The media held at our locations in Koblenz, Freiburg, Bayreuth, Ludwigsburg and Rastatt are reference holdings and can only be used in our reading rooms.

Media published from 1956 onwards in our library collection in Berlin-Lichterfelde can be taken out at our lending desk or through our inter-library loan service. The conditions of use can be found in our Library Regulations. Non-loanable literature can be consulted in the reading room. Most of our library holdings are kept in our storeroom and can be requested for use in the reading room.

All reading rooms also offer access to selected electronic databases.

All publications from after 1995 are contained in our online library catalogue. Large amounts of our old collections have also been added to our online catalogue. The information found in the online catalogue can also be accessed via the Cooperative Library Network of Berlin-Brandenburg (KOBV) and the Karlsruhe Virtual Catalogue (KVK).

As some of the library holdings are yet to be added to our online catalogue, it may be worth looking through card catalogues for certain research topics. Library users can enjoy access to the most important card catalogues.

Our library staff will be happy to help if you have any questions about library collections, searches or requests.