History of Medicine

Opening hours

The History of Medicine Library is a sub-library of the University Library Bern (UB). It offers a selection of over 100,000 books and media and 700 current or completed journals on the research priorities of the Institute for the History of Medicine. Its collections are primarily intended for university members and other specialists but other interested persons are also welcome.

Only a small share of the collections is freely accessible. The library is designed as a storage library and its collections have to be researched via the swissbib Basel Bern catalog. Most of the collections can be borrowed (except for journals, reference works, rare, special and archive collections). The library is public and borrowing takes place on site using IDS user cards or equivalent. Interlibrary loans to libraries and private individuals. (library abbreviation: Be 151)


The history of the library and the Institute for the History of Medicine is documented in detail.

The History of Medicine Library collects literature according to the research priorities of the Institute for the History of Medicine:

  • Theory and practice of medicine of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
  • Biographical writings
  • Albrecht von Haller: Life and Works
  • Textbooks from all areas of medical expertise
  • History of psychiatry
  • Women and medicine
  • History of pharmacy
  • History from all areas of the natural sciences
  • Medical ethics
  • History of nursing
  • Hospital history

Since spring 2013 the collection of the former Aids Info Docu has been incorporated into the History of Medicine Library. Aids Info Docu (AID) was a documentation and information center founded in 1988 at the initiative of the Federal Office of Public Health. The purpose of AID was to inform the population on a low-threshold level about Aids and carry out active Aids prevention work. The collection includes literature, educational materials, articles, non-published literature, press reviews, journals and films.

The Historical Library of Swiss Pharmacy (HBSP) with around 6,500 works from 1500 to the present day has been acquired by the History of Medicine Library as a loan. This collection is exclusively non-lending.

The museum collection and archive collections of the Institute for the History of Medicine are additionally available to researchers of the history of medicine.

Contact and further information

All media of the History of Medicine Library can be found on swissbib Basel Bern.

Articles from journals, documentation and archive materials of Aids Info Docu and articles from reference works can be ordered online via the document delivery service.

Books from the rare collection may be consulted and photographed under supervision in the reading room. Copies are not permitted. The film material of Aids Info Docu can likewise only be viewed under supervision in the reading room.

Description of rare collection:

Manual of Switzerland's historical books – Hildesheim, Olms-Weidmann, 2011. – Vol. 1, 203-207


  • One search point
  • 12 reading places for customers of the library and the Institute for the History of Medicine
  • Wireless LAN (network of the University of Bern)
  • Six lockers



  • Scanning and photocopying services
  • Research assistance

Further informations

University Library Bern’s user regulations and fees.