Using libraries in Berlin is very simple and enjoyable. The choice of resources is huge, and there’s
plenty of interesting titles to choose from. There you can also read various kinds of press, be it a newspaper or a magazine, use one of the computers or even play on playstation. Each library is different of course – some with better or worse stock. However, many of them contain foreign books, including the most recently published ones :). Various events, such as reading children’s books or watching children’s movies, also take place in the local libraries. Another cool thing is that the library card enables you to use all of the Berlin’s libraries! 🙂
And now, let’s get to the main points:
First, you need to go to any of the libraries with a document confirming your legal residence address
(Anmeldung) and your ID. Approach a staff member and say that you wish to register. The staff member will then write down your personal data and give you a library card (you can even choose the colour ;)), which then you need to take to a machine and pay the yearly subscription fee of 10€.
And that is all, you’re free to go!
Kids up to 18 years old can use libraries for free and they do not have to pay yearly fee. Also delay fee is smaller for kids: 0.10€ per item/day
Using the resources:
You can borrow books for the length of 28 days (unless stated otherwise), and other media such as CDs, audiobooks, games etc. for 14 days. If needed, you can extend the loan period (you can also do that twice online), provided that no one has made a reservation for this specific title. You can have up to 60 books borrowed at the same time.
If you’re looking for a certain position, you might want to check its availability in the online catalogue
at www.voebb.de. This site will check the availability of a chosen title in all of the Berlin’s libraries.
If the book is not available in any of our local libraries, you can request it from another one (in which
case the book will be delivered to a chosen facility) for a small charge of 1€.
How to borrow resources?
Books can be borrowed using a special machine. First you need to log in by placing your card within the scanner and entering your password (which is your birth date). Then you need to scan the books, which the machine will later add to your profile. After scanning the books, all you need to do is log out :).
The fee is 0.25 € for each day of delay.
You can of course prolong your borrowing time in two ways:
1) online – you need to log into your account at voebb (using your library card) and you can do it twice like that
2) at the library – just bring the books you want to prolong and do it at the „ausleihe” machine (you can prolong this way also books from a different library)
And that should be all :). Each of the Berlin’s libraries is one of a kind, and visiting them is an experience of its own. My personal favourite is the Philipp Shaeffer Bibliothek in Mitte. This modern library is located in a loft building, which also includes a reading garden (Lesegarten) where you can
sit and read your books. The children’s section is very big and well equipped, and on the very front of the library you can find a coffee shop bookstore.
The place to find the greatest choice of international books, for both children and adults, is the Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek Central Library in Kreuzberg (Kids library in there is open only from 13 to 19 o’clock during the week). However, remember to check the vöbb catalogue for
the availability of your titles of choice.
I strongly encourage you to use the public libraries. Their choice of resources is huge, and you can always find incredible books and more :).