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Vienna's most beautiful libraries

The city guarantees the right place for every bookworm. Behind the doors of these libraries, you'll discover Vienna as a city with a rich cultural heritage and find oases of peace amid the fast pace of the city. Above all, the spines of books can also charm the eye.

Baroque splendor: National Library

With seven reading rooms and around 3.9 million books, the Austrian National Library in the Imperial Palace makes it into first place on the list of not only Vienna's but the world's most beautiful libraries, mainly because of the impressive ceremonial room. The impressive building was built by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and his son Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach. The room built in the 18th century in the Baroque style is adorned with a lavishly decorated dome, Venetian grand globes and more than 200,000 historic volumes. It's a sight that overpowers. The most important task of the library itself is to collect and archive all publications released in Austria, including electronic media. The National Library's valuable collection of books includes collections of the Habsburgs, making it one of the most significant libraries in the world in historical terms.


A hint of Hogwards: Main library of the University of Vienna

Inside the main library of the University of Vienna, you'll soon feel like Harry Potter or Hermione Granger in the fictitious Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. No wonder: the almost sombre yet inviting reading room of the main library at the University of Vienna radiates its very own charm, thanks to the characteristic interior. The Main Reading Room with its long wooden tables and green bankers lamps was ceremoniously opened in 1884 and its magical atmosphere has made it one of Vienna's most popular and beautiful libraries ever since. But be careful: the magnificent reading room also quickly seduces you to drift off into lengthy daydreams.

Viennese knowledge: Vienna City Library in City Hall

With a focus on the research and preservation of Vienna's history and culture and the archiving of important documents, the library on the first floor of Vienna City Hall has a very special significance. The historic rooms also captivate with noble furnishings that develop special atmospheric qualities. By the way: the Vienna City Library has one of the last remaining paternoster lifts in Austria in its original condition – accessible via the entrance on Felderstrasse.

Artistic and cool: reading room in the MAK

In a good library, everything is arranged in rank and file. That also seems to be the credo in the reading room of the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art. The diverse collection of over 200,000 books, art prints and periodicals is almost symmetrically arranged here, as are the desks, bookshelves and lamps. This place thus attracts above all design lovers, as well as being very popular with art students. Since 1993, the simple ambience of the reading room by Ursula Aichwalder and Hermann Strobl has also offered the perfect conditions in which to research and work. This Viennese library is also open on weekends.

Pages on strings: University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna

How does the vibration of strings actually produce sound on double basses? And what are the differences between the opera forms pasticcio and opera buffa? Questions such as these are answered in the library of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna – in a spectacular library room between modern glass façades and historic columns.

The future has arrived: Library of the Vienna University of Economics and Business

The new campus of the Vienna University of Economics and Business creates a science fiction feeling right in the heart of classical Vienna. The library building in particular, which resembles a spaceship both outside and inside, is a real head-turner. From the light entrance hall to the fantastic view of the Prater – the futuristic Library & Learning Center, which was designed by the world-famous architect Zaha Hadid, impresses with a strikingly modern design combined with outstanding functionality.

Beautiful browsing: German studies, Dutch studies and Scandinavian studies

The last item on our list of the most beautiful libraries in Vienna takes us back to the halls of the University of Vienna. More precisely to the faculty library of German studies, Dutch studies and Scandinavian studies. With numerous volumes of German, Austrian and Scandinavian literature, it provides many hours of lyrical and prosaic entertainment. The tall shelves in mahogany wood and the dim light emanating from green desk lamps create an atmosphere that invites you to indulge and browse.

Austrian National Library - Main Reading Room

Heldenplatz, Neue Burg, Mitteltor
1010 Vienna
  • Accessibility

    • Elevator available
      • Door 90 cm wide
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Guided tours for visitors with disabilities and special needs on prior arrangement.

    • Comments

      Main entrance on first floor and access to Grand Hall on second floor: entrance Josefsplatz.

Main library of the University of Vienna

Universitätsring 1
1010 Vienna
  • Opening times

    • Mo, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Tu, 09:00 - 19:00
    • We, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Th, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Fr, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Sa, 09:00 - 18:00
    • Different opening hours during the holidays.

Vienna City Library at City Hall

Felderstraße, Stiege 6, 1. Stock
1010 Vienna

MAK reading room MAK library and works on paper collection

Stubenring 5
1010 Vienna
  • Opening times

    • Tu, 10:00 - 18:00
    • We, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Th, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Fr, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Sa, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Su, 10:00 - 18:00
    • The reading room is closed in August

Library of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna

Anton von Webern Platz 1
1030 Vienna
  • Opening times

    • Mo, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Tu, 09:00 - 19:00
    • We, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Th, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Fr, 09:00 - 16:00
    • Different opening hours during the holidays. The library is closed in August.

Faculty library from German studies, Dutch studies and Scandinavian studies

Universitätsring 1
1010 Vienna
  • Opening times

    • Mo, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Tu, 09:00 - 19:00
    • We, 09:00 - 19:00
    • Th, 09:00 - 20:00
    • Fr, 09:00 - 18:00
    • Different opening hours during the holidays.

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