Berlin State Library - for research and culture

On 28 February 2019 WiB was guest at the Berlin State Library. Headquartered in Haus Unter den Linden, it is the largest universal library in Germany and one of the most important libraries in the world. The building was built in 1903-1914 by Ernst von Ihne and inaugurated by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1914. It was badly damaged during World War II. At the beginning, only a part of the building was repaired. After several years of extensive restoration by architecture firm HG Merz, the original domed reading room was rebuilt in an impressive contemporary form. Today, the property is divided into two main sites. Both sites are classified as historical monuments. Beside the head office in Unter den Linden, the library building on Potsdamer Straße designed by Hans Scharoun is also a part of the Berlin State Library.

Gudrun Nelson-Busch, Public Relations of the Executive Board, gave a guided tour through Unter den Linden premises, followed by a presentation on research and culture by General Director Barbara Schneider-Kempf. The Berlin State Library is an archive library. Therefore the book collections are in original language only. Its collections consist of 480,000 manuscripts, including Mozart’s opera masterpieces, Alexander von Humboldt’s American travel journals and the Gutenberg Bible printed on parchment.

The Berlin State Library is also the proud guardian of four valuable objects: the poster printing of Martin Luther's 95 theses, Martin Luther's personal copy of the Hebrew Bible edition, Bach's Mass in B minor and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. All these four objects are registered in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. With such outstanding collections, it is  hardly surprising that 35,000 readers are registered and an average of 5000 books are borrowed everyday.