The Burgerbibliothek of Berne owns a research library comprising 350 linear metres and 40,000 volumes. It acquires literature relating to its archive holdings and to archiving in general. The books can be searched using the Swiss Libraries Catalogue and the Catalogue of the Universities of Basel and Bern, but are only intended for consultation in the Reading Room and not for borrowing. Introductory and reference works about mediaeval manuscripts, and a small reference library about Bernese history can be used by visitors in the Reading Room. In addition to its specialist literature, the Burgerbibliothek of Berne also holds some historic book collections relating to its main holdings, some of which are only accessible via a card index.
Historic Book Collections
350 linear metres, 15th—21st century
The Burgerbibliothek of Berne owns several historic book collections consisting of printed volumes which complement the associated private archives, for example the libraries belonging to von Mülinen, von Mutach, Albrecht von Haller and the Economic and Charitable Society of Canton Berne. Other historic book collections from Berne belong to the Centre for Historic Collections at the University Library in the Münstergasse. The history of the printed holdings can be found in the Handbook of Historic Book Collections in Switzerland. The Historic Book Collections are mostly listed in the Swiss Libraries Catalogue.
- von Mülinen book collection
The book collection of the von Mülinen family, consisting of 8400 volumes, was, at the time of Niklaus Friedrich von Mülinen (1760—1833), founder of the Swiss Historical Research Society, the most important book collection about the Helvetic Republic in Switzerland. The collection consists of works from the 15th to the 20th century, mainly relating to genealogy, heraldry and history, but also some works on the history of other European countries and the USA.
- von Mutach book collection
The book collection of the engineer Vinzenz von Mutach (1829—1911), consisting of 1230 volumes, includes some Greek, Latin and French classics, but mainly documents from the time of the French Revolution 1784—1803, pamphlets, collections of laws and documents relating to court business, education and fire insurance.
- Albrecht von Haller book collection
Haller’s own library was sold to Milan after his death and is now mostly to be found in the Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense. However, the library of the Burgerbibliothek of Berne does have a largely complete collection of his works and secondary literature about Haller.
- Book collection of the Economic and Charitable Society of Berne
In addition to the archives of the Economic and Charitable Society of Berne, the Burgerbibliothek of Berne also possesses parts of the former book collection of the society, mainly works from the 18th and 19th centuries. As well as publications by the society such as the Abhandlungen und Beobachtungen durch die Oekonomische Gesellschaft zu Bern (Treatises and Observations by the Economic Society of Berne), the book collection also includes other specialist agricultural journals, instructions and guidance for landowners and publications about natural history and meteorology. See also www.oeg.hist.unibe.ch.