Libraries Vienna

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Libraries Vienna

founding 1936
Duration 1.5 million media, including 1.2 million books as of 2013
Library type library
place Vienna
operator City vienna
management Christian Jahl
Website Libraries Vienna
The main library opened in 2003 above the Burggasse-Stadthalle underground station on the Gürtel .
View of Urban-Loritz-Platz from the roof of the main library.

The Vienna Libraries operated by the Municipality of Vienna represent a municipal library network. While the Vienna Library in the City Hall, which is also owned by the city , is geared towards academic work, the Vienna Libraries are dedicated to broad popular education.

In addition to the main library on the Neubaugürtel, the Vienna libraries have 38 branches in almost all of Vienna's districts. The "mobile libraries" in the form of book buses, which had been in operation since 1958 and stopped at various locations in Vienna, including schools, were discontinued in June 2009.


In the Vienna libraries, which are the responsibility of Municipal Department 13 (education and extracurricular youth care), over 1.7 million media are available. In addition to books that offer a cross-section of all topics, from non-fiction books to guides, children's books, fiction and Viennese literature, the Vienna libraries also lend audio CDs (classical, jazz, folk music, rock and pop), CD-ROMs , DVDs , Computer games, audio and video cassettes. The media are freely accessible in open access areas and can either be used on site or borrowed. Often there are separate “reading corners” for migrants with books from their home country. Each branch has at least one computer for catalog and Internet research. In 2004, the Vienna libraries recorded 5.265 million borrowings from 129.125 readers.

Since September 30, 2010, numerous digital media can be borrowed by downloading around the clock from the Vienna Virtual Library . These media can be downloaded and used on computers or other devices such as e-book readers or MP3 players. In order to be able to borrow e-media, a valid library card from the Vienna libraries and a computer with an Internet connection are required. The "return" takes place automatically, after the period of use the eMedium can no longer be opened and is immediately available to other users again. This means that there are no default fees.

Main library and other branches

Branch offices 2013
Surname district Media
Engerthstrasse library 2. 31,000
Zirkusgasse library 2. 47,000
Erdbergstrasse library 3. 46,800
Rabenhof library 3. 17,500
Fasanviertel Library 3. 16,900
Wieden Library 4th 34,300
Margareten Library 5. 29,000
Library Mariahilf 6th 30,000
Main library 7th 406,700
Alsergrund library 9. 13,500
Per-Albin-Hansson-Siedlung library 10. 16,700
Laxenburger Strasse library 10. 30,700
Hasengasse library 10. 12,400
Library in the Simmering Education Center 11. 45,800
Library on the Leberberg 11. 23,500
Library at the pumping station 12. 21,800
Philadelphia Bridge Library 12. 64,700
Hietzing library 13. 34,200
Breitnerhof Library 14th 18,800
Penzing library 14th 33,500
Library at the Meiselmarkt 15th 16,700
Schwendermarkt library 15th 28,300
Sandleiten library 16. 21,700
Ottakring Library 17th 19,800
Hernals Library 17th 41,200
Weimarer Strasse library 18th 26,700
Heiligenstadt library 19th 21,700
Billrothstrasse library 19th 40,600
Pappenheimgasse library 20th 33,100
Leystraße library 20th 17,200
Schlingerhof library 21st 38,200
Großjedlersdorf library 21st 31,600
Großfeldsiedlung library 21st 17,000
Aspern library 22nd 29,000
Kaisermühlen library 22nd 12,900
Stadlau library 22nd 16,100
Donaustadt library 22nd 38,000
Liesing library 23. 41,500
Alt-Erlaa library 23. 29,100

In 2003 the main library moved from the Haus des Buches in the Josefstädter Skodagasse (where the headquarters of the music schools of the city of Vienna are now) to the new building belt . The building designed by the architect Ernst Mayr in the shape of a 150-meter-long abstract ship was built between the two lanes of the belt in the 7th district (address: Urban-Loritz-Platz 2 a) above the Burggasse-Stadthalle underground station . The main entrance to the library can be reached via the largest flight of stairs in Vienna, stylistically borrowed from the Villa Malaparte . This leads to the roof where the Café Above is located. The facade has a terracotta look

240,000 books and 60,000 audiovisual media as well as newspapers and magazines can be viewed on two levels. An area called Kirango is available to children. There are 130 computer workstations for catalog and internet research as well as 40 audio and video workstations.

The main library has been using the BiblioChip System RFID system for contactless media booking and security since 2002 . This means that library customers can use their own reading devices, similar to a scanner or copier, to book their borrowings themselves. Christian Jahl is the head of the main library.

Lesofantenfest and free book promotions

An annual cultural event of the City of Vienna for children is the Lesofantenfest (the Lesofant is the reading mascot of the Vienna libraries and all public libraries in Austria), which takes place every November in Vienna's libraries, lasts at least two weeks, offers around 60 events and has 10,000 visitors. The program consists of readings, music, storytelling and children's theater, dance theater, clown theater, puppet and object theater and a special adventure night - called BücherDschungel - in the Dschungel Wien (theater for children and young people) in the Museum Quarter . The supporting program includes 400 supervised games by the spielebox Wien, KinderKurier newspaper workshop, workshops and animations. Lesofantino's own event bar offers programs for the little ones up to four years of age. The Vienna libraries also support the City of Vienna's free book campaign Eine STADT. A book.

Development of the number of employees
year Employees
Data source: See running text.


From 1945 to 1992 the workforce increased continuously. In 1945 78 people were employed, one year later 122. In 1992 there were 220 employees, which was the highest number of employees to date. A large proportion of this was made up of the employees in the main library, in smaller branches often only small teams of 5 people worked. In 1954 around 63% of employees were women, in 1964 only 56% and in 1992 again 64%.


Background: public libraries in Vienna until 1936

While urban libraries had sprung up in major cities in England, Scandinavia and Germany around 1900, the City of Vienna's workers' libraries were not founded until 1936. In that year the City of Vienna took over the sponsorship of already existing public libraries, which until then had not been run by the city but by associations .

The public libraries were built up, for example, by the Vienna People's Education Association , founded in 1887 , which by 1914 had set up 27 branches (including a reading room in the Ottakring Volksheim ) with 2 million loans annually. Also of importance was the Central Library Association , founded by Eduard Reyer in 1897 , which in 1911 operated a head office and 24 branches with a total of 3.5 million loans annually. Here user fees were collected and paid librarians were employed. These two librarians who, according to their own statements, were striving for “neutral” popular education and enlightenment, were opposed to those who were trying to promote a religious worldview. Sun founded Ignaz Stich 1899, the People's Reading Room and in 1909 was the Catholic library and reading club founded. The greatest importance for the Viennese library system before the establishment of the Vienna City Libraries came from the library network built up by the Viennese workers' movement . At first it was their educational associations, later trade union and party organizations that sought books and libraries for the broad masses of the population. In 1908 the Central Office for Education was created with Robert Danneberg as secretary. Numerous libraries with quality standards and uniform guidelines were set up, as well as a library commission headed by Josef Luitpold Stern . Many of these libraries were located in the community buildings built during the Red Vienna era . In 1932 there were 2.36 million borrowings in 60 workers' libraries.

Founded in 1936

The takeover of power by the Austrofascists meant the end of the social democratic institutions, so the association of workers' libraries with Karl Lugmayer as chairman took over the previously confiscated libraries. If attempts also germinated within the association of workers' libraries to offer resistance against the corporate state with legal cultural work, these were stifled in 1936 with the resolution of a new Vienna People's Education Act. The city took over the Association of Workers' Libraries and placed it and its new management under the municipal collections as a municipal office. If the censorship of books began in 1934, it has now been tightened again and a total of 1,500 titles are indexed.

Period of National Socialism and the post-war period

1938 was club workers libraries in Urban libraries renamed, after the seizure of power by the Nazis more works were sorted out of the inventory, this time books by Jewish authors. After the November pogrom of 1938 , Jews were banned from using the library; the librarians, however, remained largely the same after the political left and Jews had been removed since 1934. The director was the National Socialist Hans Ruppe, a student of the library theorist Walter Hofmann and who has worked in the library system of the Third Reich for years. Rupp aimed at controlling and regulating reading behavior, for example reducing works of fiction and strengthening the holdings of non-fiction books in line with the Nazi ideology. From December 1941, readers could only borrow one novel per visit. The number of readers fell sharply, but the professionalism of librarians increased. In place of the previously existing reimbursement of expenses, permanent posts were set up and the librarians had to complete training at one of the German public library schools.

After the end of the war, reconstruction also began for the municipal libraries . Only a third of the former workers' libraries was left (in 1945 there were 23 branches) and the book holdings had been decimated by the purges of the Austrofascists and National Socialists. The Social Democrats decided not to return the workers' libraries , so the city libraries could be incorporated into the new city administration. They were administered by the Department of Culture until 1979, and the primary goals of the post-war period were the procurement of books and the repair of branches.

Since 1950

The House of Books was the main library of the Vienna Libraries from 1970 to 2003; today the headquarters of the music schools of the City of Vienna are located here.

Since the 1950s, libraries have also been set up in newly built community buildings (later also in people's homes and meeting houses) and equipped with a department for children and young people. In terms of the number of branches, the level of the workers' library was soon reached and in 1970 a main library (with an attached music library) was established for the first time (see House of the Book ). Under the direction of Rudolf Müller (1950 to 1970), writers were employed as librarians, with the aim of practically promoting literature by securing their literary work with a job. They included Christine Busta , Rudolf Felmayer , Gerhard Fritsch , Walter Buchebner , Franz Hiesel , Wilhelm Meissel and Herbert Wadsack . The so-called counter lending system, in which users had to order their books at a counter and were not able to choose from accessible shelves, was only abolished late. He was followed by the still existing open access that allows the reader to look through the books. From the late 1950s until 2009, a book bus served areas that were on the outskirts or that did not have their own branch. Until 2003, the municipal libraries also operated apprentice libraries in vocational schools and hospital libraries . A home call service has been providing books to the disabled since 1982 .

In 1979 the division of business groups of the Viennese magistrate was reformed and the municipal libraries were spun off from the cultural office and placed under the newly created magistrate department 13 for education and extracurricular youth care. Electronic data processing was introduced under the leadership of Franz Pascher (1976 to 1998) . Under the direction of Alfred Pfoser (1998 to 2007) an online library catalog was set up . Due to a lack of space for the book inventory, a new building for the main library was built on Urban Loritz-Platz and opened in 2003. In 2008, Elke Bazalka as economic director and Markus Feigl as library director jointly took over the management of the Vienna libraries. Since 2010 digital media ( e-books , e-audios and e-papers ) have also been offered for download . At the end of 2012, there were around 17,200 such digital media available; in 2012 there were around 155,000 loans in this area. Media wien (the former Landesbildstelle) has been part of the Vienna Libraries since 2011 and provides numerous media such as films, themed boxes and CD-ROMs with media wien medienverleih . In 2012 there were 1.524 million media, 39 branches, 5.7 million borrowings and 210,937 users. Elke Bazalka has been the sole head of the libraries since May 2016, when Feigl joined the Austrian Library Association.

On June 11, 2019, the Vienna Libraries noticed that they had been the target of a hacker attack . A database with partly personal data from over 713,000 users was copied. This data was later put online.

In August 2020, Christian Jahl, who had previously headed the main library on the Gürtel, took over the management of the city of Vienna's libraries.


  • Alfred Pfoser: The Wiener Städtische Libraries. On library culture in Austria , WUV Universitätsverlag, Vienna 1994, ISBN 3-85114-153-9
  • Martin Bartenberger, Christoph Wendler: National Socialist Library Policy in Vienna. Municipal libraries and the Central Library Association in comparison. In: Searching for traces. Journal for the history of adult education and science popularization, 20./21. Vol. 1–4, Vienna 2012, pp. 335ff.
  • Herbert Exenberger: The labor libraries of the city of Vienna after March 1938. In: Felix Czeike (Ed.): Vienna 1938 , Vienna 1978, p. 237ff. (= Research and contributions to Vienna's urban history , volume 2)
  • Herbert Exenberger: The Vienna Workers' Libraries. Its history and its cultural achievements in the service of Viennese popular education , Vienna 1968
  • Heimo Gruber: Books from the rubble. The Wiener Städtische Libraries 1945-1950 , Vienna 1987
  • Alfred Pfoser: The Leipzig radical cure. The Wiener Städtische Libraries under National Socialism. In: Peter Vodosek, Manfred Komorowski (ed.): Libraries during National Socialism , Part 2, Wiesbaden 1992, p. 91ff.
  • Alfred Pfoser: The Wiener Städtische Libraries in the National Socialism. In: Peter Vodosek, Manfred Komorowski (Ed.): Libraries during National Socialism , Part 1, Wiesbaden 1989, p. 273ff.
  • Karin Steinlechner: Constriction and cosmopolitanism. The structure of the book inventory of the Wiener Städtische Büchereien after 1945. In: Alfred Pfoser, Peter Vodosek (Hrsg.): On the history of the public libraries in Austria , Vienna 1995, S. 118ff.
  • Ernst Mayr among others: The main library in Vienna. The Main City Library Vienna , Springer, Vienna / New York 2005 ISBN 978-3-211-23353-5

Web links

Commons : Libraries Vienna  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Media offer on the homepage of the Vienna Libraries, accessed on August 24, 2013.
  2. ^ An institution is going into well-deserved retirement (town hall correspondence of April 20, 2009). April 20, 2009. Retrieved May 18, 2018 .
  3. ^ Branch offices , accessed November 8, 2013.
  4. Falter article on the opening of the main library ( Memento from June 9, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  6. ^ Alfred Pfoser: The Wiener Städtische Büchereien. On library culture in Austria , 1994, p. 229.
  7. a b c d e f g Heimo Gruber: History on the homepage of the Vienna Libraries, accessed on August 24, 2013.
  8. New tour for the Vienna Libraries. March 25, 2008. Retrieved August 16, 2018 .
  9. Markus Feigl designated new managing director of the BVÖ. Retrieved August 16, 2018 .
  10. Birgit Riegler: Libraries Vienna: data from over 713,000 users leaked. In: . June 26, 2019, accessed June 26, 2019 .
  11. August 23, 2020, accessed on August 24, 2020 .

Coordinates: 48 ° 12 '9.6 "  N , 16 ° 20' 14.3"  E