The Library of the German Bundestag
© German Bundestag/Jörg F. Müller
The Bundestag Library began its work in 1949 with a stock of 1000 volumes taken over from the Parliamentary Council. Today, with over 1.5 million volumes, it has both an extensive collection of specialist literature and special collections. This includes parliamentary materials, publications by national, international and supranational organizations and ‘grey literature’ from numerous institutions, special interest groups, political parties, political foundations, trade unions, churches, citizens’ action groups, research institutes, academic societies and think tanks, reflecting the full, diverse spectrum of opinion in a pluralistic society.
The Online Catalogue, which has an accessible user interface, covers the entire stock of the Library – including monographs, articles from periodicals and collected works. Ever since its establishment, the Library has catalogued and indexed articles relating to politics and Parliament from more than 1000 periodicals.
The Bundestag Library serves the Members of the Bundestag and the parliamentary groups. It also supports the committee secretariats and organisational units of the Bundestag administration by making available to them publications required on an everyday basis for their work. Additionally, it is used by former Members of the Bundestag, and current and former German Members of the European Parliament, along with staff of the federal and Land authorities located in Berlin, the diplomatic missions and German and foreign journalists.
In order to provide Members with as comprehensive a range of information as possible, the Library's collections, though they mainly focus on politics, public administration, law, economics, social sciences and modern history, are supplemented by publications in numerous other specialist fields. The Library acquires works through the book trade; it receives official publications by way of legal deposit or special supply agreements.
The Bundestag Library is not open to the general public. Academics can, however, request special permission to visit the Library and consult its print holdings in the reading room.
The area of the Library which is accessible to users is located in the rotunda of the Marie-Elisabeth Lüders Building – sited by architect Stephan Braunfels in a prominent position within the building. The galleried reading room has a stock of around 20,000 volumes; the periodicals reading room makes available more than 1000 individual titles. Since the move to this building in spring 2004, the Library is now housed with the Archives and the Parliamentary and Press Documentation Divisions in a building which meets its specific requirements.
During the German Bundestag’s Open Day, the library’s reading room and the stacks beneath it are accessible to the public.