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What options do I have if I want to spend some hours in a reading room of a library in Frankfurt? I won't be long in the city, nor have an address that's not a hotel, so, can't apply for any card or such.

I'd prefer an open-shelf library, with international press, big light rooms, not overcrowded, long opening hours (beyond normal office working hours) and free entrance. I remember that in Berlin I had to pay a small fee to enter it (the State Library). That would be acceptable too, if there's no other option.

Online I found a series of city public libraries (Stadtbücherei), the national library and the central university library (open for the general public, apparently).

What would be a good match?

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The Berlin City library (ZLB) is different than the State Library (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin) that you mentioned. The English pages of both should give a general idea of the conditions of most public libraries. For the Staatsbibliothek, fees have been abolished for the next 2 years, but registration is still needed.

As a general rule, if a book does not need to be retrieved from the Magazin, you don't need a readers card.

Registration - Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin

While you are able to visit the ZLB and use many of its services without a library card, you will need one if you want to take materials home and/or use our advanced services. To get a card, it’s best to go directly to the ZLB or use one of Berlin’s other public libraries.

Berliner Stadtbibliothek
Berlin-Sammlungen | Senatsbibliothek Berlin
Breite Str. 30-36, 10178 Berlin-Mitte

Here I know that in the main hall newspapers and magazines are available that can be freely selected and read at nearby chairs.

There are also many rooms, depending on the topic, where a shelf book can be read in the room.

I have only been asked once for the card when reserving a micro film machine for the newspaper archives.

The city libraries are often specialized (the above is for Berlin history) but all use only 1 card system.


The Frankfurt site does not seem to offer an English version, but the basic offer seems to be the same as in Berlin.

Frankfurt am Main: Zentralbibliothek

Zentralbibliothek
Stadtbücherei Frankfurt am Main
Hasengasse 4
60311 Frankfurt am Main

Mo, Di, Mi, Do, Fr 10-19 / Sa 11-17 Uhr

Media in other languages: English, French, Russian, Spanish, Turkish
Magazines and newspapers German and International.

Hinweis: Der Besuch der Bibliothek und die Nutzung der Bestände vor Ort sind grundsätzlich kostenfrei.

Note: The visit to the library and the use of stocks on site are always free.

This is only one of the 19 public libraries in Frankfurt. So here too, you must choose one that fits your needs.

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There is the central library, it is free and open to the public but not all of it is open shelf though.

It's website states:

Literature research - how to get my book?

Our current stocks hold about 6 million items most of which are in closed stacks and have to be ordered in advance.

General and subject specific reference works as well as important journals are accessible freely in our reading rooms and reference areas. You can inspect the items promptly but the most of them are not for loan.

This website also lists other libraries in Frankfurt that can be used by any member of the public.

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