Introduction to Libraries in Berlin

Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

What makes the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin a top address for fellows of the ZMO is that it provides access to most electronic resources in Berlin (to some of them you have access from outside with your user number and password), that they offer the longest borrowing period (limited to four weeks), and that all resources of interest to us are availlible at one location: Haus Potsdamer Straße, close to Tiergarten (Potsdamer Straße 33). At the two Berlin universities, in contrast, most books are divided into small departmental libraries.


The Staatsbibliothek in Potsdamer Straße, for example, contains the:
- Orientabteilung
- Ostasienabteilung
- Handschriftenabteilung
A library card can be obtained at the lending department (Leihstelle) on the ground floor (opening hours Mo-Fr: 9-20.30, Sa: 9-16.30).
A monthly card costs €10, an annual card €25.
For admission you need an identity card (or passport) and a registration card. Citizens of the European Union need proof of residence in Germany. Citizens from countries outside the EU are kindly requested to present the following documents for registration:
- passport / identity card
and to borrow books you will also need:
- police confirmation of course registration
- residence permit for at least three months or confirmation of enrolment at a German university.
You can also print out and complete the application form at home and bring it to the library.

You can use the electronic resources of the Staatsbibliothek at the Elster portal. If they are marked "remote access" or with a yellow traffic light, access is only possible in the Staatsbibliothek building.
green = free access
yellow = access in the Staatsbibliothek building only
red = access with charges

You can search for arabic manuscripts in the Staatsbibliothek at ZMO with the printed catalogue Verzeichnis der arabischen Handschriften of Wilhelm Ahlwardt (10 vol., Berlin 1887-1899, call 51/1501 a-k).

University Library of the Freie Universität Berlin

What makes the University Library of the Freie Universität Berlin (FU) interesting for us, is for example, that inter-library lending via online catalogue is free of charge to registered FU members and costs only € 1.50 for non-members. Even more important is that FU staff members and students off campus also have access to all FU electronic resources. An account at ZEDAT, which can be availed of by all members of the FU is the precondition. The Internet is then accessed via ZEDAT-Dialup. You can also use the Internet through another provider if you have registered the FU-proxy on your browser or installed VPN-Client (Virtual Private Network). When you log in through your ZEDAT Account (Dialup, VPN, FU-Proxy) your computer has an IP-number from the FU campus. However, an analog service of the Berlin Humboldt University (HU) is more convenient for us, since it only requires a HU guest or member account and an updated web browser such as Internet Explorer and not the admission by a proxy server or the installation of a client software required by the FU (see paragraph 3 below). The main gateway for digital resources at the FU Berlin (for example, library catalogues, databases or digital collections) is the Library Portal (Bibliotheksportal).


Admission: a valid student card serves as a library card for students enrolled at the FU Berlin. Residents of Berlin and the State of Brandenburg are eligible for a library card free of charge on production of a German identity card or foreign passport and the form issued by the registration office in Berlin or Brandenburg. All other users can obtain a guest library card that enables them to order books for the reading rooms only.

Library of the Otto-Suhr-Institut für Politikwissenschaft (OSI) and the Institute für Soziologie und Ethnologie
Ihnestaße 21 (all monographs of the Institut für Soziologie are in the Osteuropa-Institut/OEI in Garystraße 55)
The library is open to the public.
Library topics: political science, gender studies, Middle Eastern and African politics, and sociology and cultural anthropology.

Library of the Seminar für Semitistik und Arabistik
Altensteinstraße 34.
Opening hours: Mo-Do: 9-16, Fr: 9-14, and by appointment.
The library is open to all members of the Freie Universität Berlin. It is not possible to take books out on loan.
Library topics: Semitic and Arabic Studies.

Library of the Instituts für Islamwissenschaft
Altensteinstraße 40.
Opening hours during the lecture period: Mo-Do: 10-12 & 14-17, Fr: 10-12.
Opening hours during the semester break: Mo-Do: 10-12 & 13-16, Fr: 10-12.
The library can be used by all members of the Freie Universität Berlin but there are restrictions on taking out books on loan. Library topics are the Middle East and Turkey (19th and 20th century), Arabic literature, modern Turkish literature, Ottoman history and literature.

University Library of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

For our purposes the Universitätsbibliothek of the Humboldt-Universität (HU, Central Library: Hessische Straße 1-2) provides the best service in terms of convenient use of electronic resources externelly (e.g., from computers at ZMO). The so-called VPN-SSL-Gateway provides safe access to the HU network. All you need is your account as a member or guest of the HU and an updated web browser, e.g., Internet Explorer. In contrast, access to the network of the Freie Universität Berlin (FU) requires admission via the FU proxy server or the installation of a special client software (see paragraph 2).


The University Library of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (including the Central University Library and all branch libraries) is open to the public. Registration or permission is not necessary in order to use the reading rooms of the Central Library and the holdings in the open stacks. However, if you need to order books from the closed stacks or wish to take media out of the library, registration is required. Students of the Humboldt-Universität are automatically registered. Their student card serves as a library card and no further registration procedures are necessary. All employees of the Humboldt-Universität as well as anyone with an officially verifiable address in Germany will be issued with a library card on application. Library cards are issued by the lending department of the Central Library as well as by many of the branch libraries. Those who have no official address in Germany can obtain a reading room card (Lesesaalausweis). This permits the ordering of books from the closed stacks for use in the reading room only. To apply for registration at the University Library please bring either your identity card or your passport and a "Meldebescheinigung" from your regional citizens registration office. You will then be asked to fill out a registration form and be issued with the library card immediately.

Zweigbibliothek Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften
Invalidenstraße 118, entry also by Schlegelstraße 26.
For terms of use, see paragraph 3.

Zweigbibliothek Europäische Ethnologie
Mohrenstraße 40/41, to the left on the ground floor.
For terms of use, see paragraph 3.