Bavarian State Library: Universal library with cultural significance
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek: Info, exhibitions and tips
The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (better known as "Stabi" by students and residents of Munich) is the largest academic universal library in Germany – beautifully located in a historic setting.
In cooperation with the cultural department and the museums
This article about Munich's museums is sponsored by the Cultural Department of the City of Munich and was conceived in cooperation with the State Agency for Non-State Museums in Bavaria. The content has been coordinated between the participating museums and muenchen.de, the official city portal.
Why the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is worth a visit:
The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is considered a treasure house of written cultural heritage. It is not only an important address for researchers and students, but also worth a visit for exhibitions.
What to see? Annually changing exhibitions (on the upper floor) provide insights into the library's extensive holdings, for example from the important manuscript collection or the numerous photo archives.
What's special? The entire historic library building and its impressive staircase.
The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB): All information at a glance
- Location: In the university quarter, opposite from the main building of the LMU (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich).
- Museum category: Library, culture and art
- Recommended length of stay: Up to 2 hours
- Directions: U3/U6, MetroBus 58/68 or StadtBus 153/154 to the "Universität" (university stop)
- Parking: Only a few public parking spaces are available
Library and exhibition house in one
This institution of learning and knowledge holds almost 37 million media objects, including 11.2 million volumes, 53,700 current periodicals and 143,000 manuscripts, making it an important source of access for researchers, students and information seekers from all over Europe. But you can expect much more than a user-friendly bare research library.
Regular annual exhibitions are held on the second floor. In addition to books and documents, pictures, drawings and documents from times long past are also displayed.
Highlights of the library's holdings include:
- Manuscripts from the UNESCO World Heritage: The library holds several manuscripts that are listed in the UNESCO World Document Heritage, including the Song of the Nibelungs, the Pericopes of Henry II or the Gospel Book of Otto III.
- The Carmina Burana, the Babylonian Talmud and the Codex Aureus are also among the library's top holdings.
- Bequests and artist books: In addition to manuscripts and rare prints, the library has an important collection of over 1,000 bequests (e.g. of Paul Heyse, Richard Wagner or Franz Graf Pocci) and an extensive collection of modern artist books by Max Ernst, Anselm Kiefer or Joseph Beuys, among others.
- The extensive historical photo archive: From portraits of important personalities of the 19th and 20th centuries to the photographs of the "Reichsbildberichterstatter" Heinrich Hoffmann (1885-1957) and more recent journalistic photographs from the fields of art, culture and travel, everything is represented. The analog photo archive of Stern magazine, with its approximately 15 million images from 1948 to 2001, is part of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek since 2019.
A permanent exhibition is not offered, unfortunately.
Guided tours and accompanying events to exhibitions
The exhibitions cover a wide range of topics.
- Usually, a free guided tour program and a free audio guide are offered.
- In addition, there is an extensive program of accompanying events for most exhibitions and presentations.
- But a visit to the Stabi is also interesting regardless of the exhibition: guided tours of the library rooms are offered regularly.
In the basement of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek you can find a cafeteria with a weekly changing menu. In the adjacent lounge, you may also consume drinks and food that you have brought with you.
The library building and the exhibition are open to the public free of charge.
Digital exhibitions and OPAC online catalog
- More than 3 million works from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek's collection can also be read in digital form via the OPAC catalog and www.digitale-sammlungen.de.
- Numerous exhibitions can also be viewed virtually on the Stabi website.
Accessibility and offers for individuals with disabilities
Barrier-free access is possible via the mailroom on the south side of the building (open Mon - Thurs, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Fri, 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., there is a bell with a wheelchair symbol to the right of the door). The exhibition on the second floor is accessible by elevator.
- A parking space for disabled visitors is also located on the south side of the building.
- An accessible toilet can be found in the "Zeitschriftenlesesaal" (periodical reading room in the basement).
History of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich dates back to the court library of the Wittelsbach dynasty, which was established in 1558 at the request of Duke Albrecht V. The library is located on Ludwigstraße. It moved into its current building there, designed by Friedrich von Gärtner on behalf of King Ludwig I, in 1843.
Precious manuscripts, rare prints and extensive special collections make the library's holdings unique to this day. As the central state and archive library of the Free State of Bavaria, it has almost 37 million media units. Approximately 125,000 volumes are added each year.
The Stabi is also constantly expanding its online offerings: Be it through the mass digitization of the holdings or, for example, in the area of electronic journals. With over 3 million digitized works, it has the largest digital database of all German libraries. And since it also took over the analog photo archive of Stern magazine in 2019, it also owns the largest publicly funded image archive in Germany.
At a glance
Bayerische StaatsbibliothekLudwigstr. 16
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