Libraries in Bavaria

Treasure troves of cultural heritage

Staircase of the Bavarian State Library Munich
Staircase of the Bavarian State Library Munich

For the Free State of Bavaria, all media archived in Bavarian libraries are of great cultural as well as scientific significance and contribute to the intellectual, social and cultural development as well as to Bavaria’s leading position in science, technology, research and the economy.

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library) is one of the most important European general libraries and ranks among the best research libraries on an international scale. As a treasure trove of cultural heritage, a multimedia information service provider for scholarly research and as an innovative force in the field of digital services, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is one of the prime national and international addresses for researchers, students and all those seeking information. Together with the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (Berlin State Library) and the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (German National Library) in Frankfurt and Leipzig, it forms Germany's virtual national library. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is also the central state library and repository library of the Free State of Bavaria. With almost 10 million books, about 55,000 current periodicals in printed or electronic form and more than 93,000 manuscripts, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is one of the most important knowledge centres of the world. Every year, approximately 150,000 volumes are added, which are selected and catalogued systematically according to scholarly criteria.

The library's unique collection profile is characterised by extremely precious manuscripts, rare printed books and comprehensive special collections from thousands of years of cultural heritage. At the same time, the library rises to the challenges of the future: The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is continuously enhancing its digital and Internet-based services, for example, in the areas of electronic journals, mass digitisation of its collections and the development of innovative digitisation technologies.

In 2008, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek celebrated its 450th anniversary with a series of exhibitions and events. In the same year, it was awarded the title Library of the Year.

The Bayerische Bibliotheksakademie (Bavarian Library Academy) is responsible for the professional training and further education  of librarians in Bavaria. In addition, the Library Academy also carries out theoretical professional training of prospective librarians of the middle-level and higher library service on behalf of the German states of Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony, Rheinland-Palatinate, the Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein as well as the libraries of the Bundestag (German Parliament) and the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussican Cultural Heritage Foundation). The Library Academy is also the examining authority for all levels of qualification. Within the framework of the Bavaria-wide programme of further professional training, the school determines the needs of scientific libraries for further training, develops suitable training concepts and organises further training courses. It also co-operates with other service suppliers in these endeavours. In addition, the Library Academy carries out measures of modular professional quality assurance for librarians.

Furthermore, the Bavarian library landscape consists of regional state-owned libraries, university libraries and Fachhochschulbibliotheken (Libraries of Universities of Applied Sciences) as well as numerous public libraries, which are funded by regional organisations or the church, and last but not least, specialised and privately-funded libraries. The Bibliotheksverbund Bayern (BVB) - Bavarian Library Network is the regional network of Bavarian libraries comprising more than 135 libraries of different sizes and fields. Members of this network are the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the libraries of the universities and universities of applied sciences, regional state-owned libraries (website in German) as well as numerous other libraries in Bavaria.

Through the Staatliche Landesfachstelle - Consulting Centre for Public Libraries, the Free State of Bavaria supports the development of public libraries in all parts of the state by providing financial support and subject-specific counselling.
In addition, the Centre advises Bavarian schools on all matters with regard to school libraries. The Counselling Centre for Public Libraries inspires and supports the libraries in their process of becoming modern and innovative educational and cultural institutions as well as attractive meeting places and qualified information providers. The Counselling Centre for Public Libraries promotes these institutions by steering attention of the public and the media towards their activities and services.
In general, all activities of the Bavarian libraries take place in an atmosphere of even and meaningful allocation of tasks and mutual co-operation. You will find links to libraries of all kinds on the web pages of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek - Bavarian State Library.