Please note the changed opening hours of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin since 16 April 2024. More

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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Who can use the Kunstbibliothek (Art Library)?

The Kunstbibliothek can be used by individuals who are at least 18 years old.

Does it cost anything to use the Kunstbibliothek?

The Kunstbibliothek is free of charge and can only be used after receiving a library card.

What do I need to know before coming to the Kunstbibliothek?

The Kunstbibliothek is a reference library. Its holdings can only be used in the reading and study rooms. No loans are made outside the library. Permission to use the library is allowed upon presentation of an official identity card showing the owner’s registered address. Those authorised receive a library card valid until the end of the current year. Prior to using the library, the user enters their name and library card number in the user registry at the entrance. If the library is used several times on one day, a single sign-in is sufficient. Before entry, coats and bags have to be checked at the cloakroom or locked in the available lockers. The lockers must be emptied daily. Food and drinks may not be taken into the reading and study rooms, open access areas, or catalogue areas. Mobile phones must be muted in all of these areas.

What are the Kunstbibliothek opening hours?

The Kunstbibliothek reading room is accessible from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 8 pm.

What are the study room opening hours?

The study room on the first upper level is open Monday, 2 to 8 pm, and Tuesday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. Books from the Lipperheide Costume Library and objects from the special collections  will be made available there (from the special collections on the next opening day).

Must I register? Why do I need a library card?

The Kunstbibliothek can only be used after a library card has been issued. The user must enter their name and library card number in the user registry located at the entrance. The library card is required for ordering books in the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC).

I come from out of town (or out of the country) and must travel a longer distance to the library. How can I best prepare my visit at the Kunstbibliothek?

In exceptional cases, new users can register in advance by email including a scan of their identity card or passport. If you are only in Berlin for a short time and would like to consult a holding from the special collections, please contact the Information Desk in advance: auskunft.kb[at]smb.spk-berlin.de

Can I use the Kunstbibliothek’s digital resources from home?

Yes, if the digital resources can be accessed remotely, and you possess a library card. In the OPAC, the resource is marked with the note: “Access for registered users of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin”. For Remote Access the initial password must be changed, which can be done via the login page from the user account. Free resources are also accessible with no limitations. They can be accessed without a library card from home or any other location. In the OPAC, the notice, “Access for registered users …” is missing for these resources.

Where and how do I obtain my library card?

Library cards are issued during opening hours at the entrance control or at the bibliographic information desk in the reading room.

After presenting an official form of identification (identity card or passport, but not a driver’s licence or student ID) the user receives a library card permitting them to use the library. This numbered library card is non-transferable and must be presented whenever necessary. By personally signing the registration form and taking possession of the library card, the user agrees to observe library regulations. At the same time, they agree to the inclusion of the following personal data in the digital user file: family name, first name, date of birth and address. The library card is valid from the date of issue until 31 December of the same year. The card’s validity must be renewed each year.

How can I extend my library card?

You can apply for an extension by presenting an official form of identification (identity card or passport, but not a driver’s licence or student ID). Renewal for the current year is also possible by phone or email. When you come to the library, your card will be stamped with the year’s date.

What should I do if I lose my library card?

The user is obligated to immediately inform the library of the loss. A replacement card will be issued if the requirements for library use are still met.

Can I order media before my library card has been issued?

No, ordering media is only possible after the library card has been issued. It takes from 30 to 45 minutes for ordered books to be made available.

Can I see an overview of my orders and expiration dates?

In your OPAC user’s account you will find an overview of orders under Loans that is updated daily. This will be deleted during the night prior to the following day and can no longer be viewed. Orders remain reserved for three working days after being placed.

How do I change my address?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to change your address on your own. Please contact the library staff if an address change is necessary.

Why can’t I reset my password?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to reset your password on your own. Please contact the library staff should you need to change it.

Why am I no longer able to access the OPAC with my password?

It is possible you have not yet changed your initial password for using the Wi-Fi, which also applies to the OPAC. If you have forgotten your password, it can be reset by library staff.

Why can’t I access the Wi-Fi with my password?

It is possible you have not yet changed your initial password for using the Wi-Fi, or that you have forgotten it. In this case, it can be reset by library staff.

Where can I research media / books?

The Kunstbibliothek’s public catalogue is accessible on the Internet: opac.smb.spk-berlin.de. It lists books, newspapers, articles, databases and digital media. For assistance with research, please contact library staff.

For research regarding the Kunstbibliothek’s digital resources, we also recommend this guide: doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6509869

How do I order media / books?

Orders can be placed in the OPAC by entering your library card number and the first three letters of your family name. The books are delivered within 30 to 45 minutes and can be picked up at the counter in the reading room. Books from the Lipperheide Costume Library and objects from the special collections are made available in the study room on the first upper level (from the special collections on the next opening day).

Can I take borrowed books home?

No, the Kunstbibliothek is exclusively a reference library. The holdings may only be used in the reading and study rooms. No loans are made outside the library.

How long are books held for me?

Three days from the day an order is placed. On the morning of the fourth day, the books are returned to the stacks. The last books are made available daily at 6:30 pm.

Can I renew orders?

Yes, orders can be renewed by email or phone for an additional three days.

Can I place an order for an interlibrary loan at the Kunstbibliothek?

No, the Kunstbibliothek does not participate in the interlibrary loan service.

What items can I take into the reading room?

Before entering the reading room, coats and bags must be checked at the cloakroom or secured in available lockers. The lockers must be emptied daily. Food and beverages may not be taken into the reading and study rooms. Mobile phones must be muted within the library. Personal laptops and writing and study materials may be brought into the library. You will be given transparent plastic baskets at the cloakroom to bring your items into the reading room. When leaving the library, you must present all brought-in books and other printed material at the exit control without being asked.

Can I reserve a work space or cubicle in the reading room?

The right-hand cubicles may be reserved up to 14 days in advance; the left-hand ones only for same-day use. The reservation expires one hour after the scheduled use or, if no time is given, one hour after the library opens.

Can I make copies or have copies made of media?

This is only possible with prior permission from our library staff. Copies/scans may not be made of works published before 1950 or from the library’s special collections. There is a self-service copy machine/scanner with a coin slot in the reading room that cost 5 cents per copy/scan. (The machine does not make change!)

You can order digital reproduction photographs from the Kunstbibliothek’s in-house photographer. Please contact the library staff about this.

Is Wi-Fi available in the Kunstbibliothek?

The Staatliche Museen (SMB) offers Internet access via a wireless (Wi-Fi) connection (WLAN-SMB) to its users in the Kunstbibliothek reading rooms and at the Archäologisches Zentrum. To use the SMB Wi-Fi, you must enter a secure password, which requires that you change your initial password. You can do this in several ways: at the OPAC workspaces, under “User Account”; on the Wi-Fi network, at the Wi-Fi portal on the SMB webpage; or – if you have Internet access – wlan-smb.spk-berlin.de/de/pwchange. A detailed information sheet on Wi-Fi registration is available from library staff.

Is there a cafeteria or coffee machine at the library?

There is a coffee machine to the left of the cloakroom in the library lobby. The cafeteria is located on the building’s second upper level.

Where can I make telephone calls?

Using mobile phones in the Kunstbibliothek is not allowed. Please leave the library to make or receive calls.

Contact us at +40 (0)30 266 424141 or auskunft.kb[at]smb.spk-berlin.de