Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin reopens Unter den Linden building

News from 01/25/2021

The main building of the Staatsbibliothek was reopened today in a digital ceremony

Building front
© SPK / / Thomas Koehler

The main building of one of the world's most important libraries has been extensively renovated and modernized with the help of federal funds. The personnel of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (Berlin State Library) are once again on hand in the seven reading rooms with 660 workstations and in the storage facilities to assist scientific and cultural researchers from around the world. All of the items collected over many centuries are now available again in analogue or digital form in the two buildings on Potsdamer Strasse and Unter den Linden. When the reading rooms will be opened for use again depends on the course of the pandemic.

The Unter den Linden building of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preussischer Kulturbesitz was officially reopened today by the President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, the Minister of State for Culture and Media Affairs, Monika Grütters, the President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Hermann Parzinger, and the Director General of the Staatsbibliothek, Barbara Schneider-Kempf.

Wolfgang Schäuble, President of the Bundestag: "Article 5 of our Basic Law guarantees the fundamental right to 'furnish oneself with information from generally accessible sources without hindrance.' The task that this imposes on libraries changes in nature with the demands of the times. In the past, libraries were seen as information monopolists. Nowadays, it is their job to prevent commercial monopolies of information. In a digitized public realm, especially, we need neutral and reliable institutions that document knowledge, make it accessible – and yes, even filter it! And put readers in a position to evaluate information critically."

Monika Grütters, Minister of State for Culture and Media Affairs: "In new splendor and old splendor, the Staatsbibliothek on Unter den Linden offers unrivalled access to unique treasures of human knowledge, history, and art. The stocks held by the library at all of its locations comprise twelve million books and extraordinary special collections. Preserving these cultural treasures and making them accessible to as many people as possible is one of the core tasks of our cultural policy. That's why the federal government has fully financed the refurbishment of this epoch-making building. All the more reason for me to wish that the Staatsbibliothek will soon be full of seekers after knowledge, who have come there to read, research, reflect, and discuss things – and thus contribute to rediscovering our cultural heritage afresh and keeping it alive."

Hermann Parzinger, President of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz: "The historical center of Berlin has regained a cathedral of knowledge. After complete refurbishment, extension, and modernization, this building, which is over a hundred years old, is once again ready to enter service as an excellent place for concentrated scientific work, with world-famous historical treasures, extensive stocks of contemporary items, and state-of-the-art service."

Barbara Schneider-Kempf, Director General of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin: "The translucent reading room designed by HG Merz, which is already in use, is now augmented by the opening of six brilliantly refurbished reading rooms for our world-class special collections: manuscripts and music, maps, newspapers, rare and old books, and children's and youth literature. One of the largest and most richly stocked library buildings is ready to receive readers!"

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