Both of the Staatsbibliothek’s buildings have been subject to various construction and renovation measures for several years now. The concept of “One library in two buildings” is being implemented.

Glass cube of the new general reading room of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

Glass cube of the new general reading room of the Staatsbibliothek on Unter den Linden, designed by HG Merz, which opened in March 2013. © bpk / Jörg F. Müller

One Library in Two Buildings

When Germany was divided, the holdings of the Staatsbibliothek (State Library) were also divided up between two different institutions, one in East Berlin and one in West Berlin. Hence the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin has two buildings in two different locations: the historical library building on the boulevard Unter den Linden and the building at the Kulturforum, which was designed by Hans Scharoun and Edgar Wisniewski and opened in 1978. Following reunification, the two libraries from East and West Berlin were merged organizationally under the roof of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation).

Subsequently, a utilization concept was worked out for the Staatsbibliothek. Each building would have a distinct profile. The building on Unter den Linden would be developed into a research library for the period up until around 1900, while the Scharoun/Wisniewski building would be a research library for the modern period. The “two-building concept” also foresees the creation of a storage warehouse.

Construction Projects while the Library Remains Open

Extensive renovation and repairs were and still are necessary for the historical building on Unter den Linden. Moreover, it was decided to supplement the building with a new general reading room and other new buildings on the site of the domed reading room that was destroyed during the Second World War.

The building at the Kulturforum is also the site of a number of construction projects. They include asbestos removal, refurbishing the ventilation system, and repairing water damage on the ground floor. The library will remain open during all the construction projects.

An Additional Location: Storage Warehouse

The Staatsbibliothek’s holdings are constantly growing. Its storage facilities are already inadequate for its roughly eleven million volumes. With that in mind, the Foundation is creating a new storage warehouse in Friedrichshagen. It will house the holdings of the Staatsbibliothek, the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut (Ibero-American Institute), and the bpk Bildagentur für Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte (Picture Agency bpk – Fine Art, Culture, History).

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