Münstergasse Library

Opening hours

Service Hours

Borrowing and returning

Monday to Friday 8.00 to 19.00, Saturday 8.00 to 13.00

Special Reading Room for historical collections

Tuesday to Friday 10.00 to 17.00

Information counter

Monday to Friday 10.00 to 19.00, Saturday 10.00 to 13.00


  • over 300 individual work spaces
  • 6 collaborative work spaces with Smartboards and screens with HDMI connectors (reservation required)
  • individual carrels
  • 80 monthly lockers and 100 day lockers
  • special reading room for historical collections
  • event hall for conferences, training courses, etc.
  • wireless network
  • online catalog terminals
  • Uniprint devices for printing, scanning and photocopying (1st floor and basement floor)
  • book scanner (basement floor)
  • validation station for UniCards (basement floor)


  • general information
  • subject specific information
  • information on historical collections
  • courier services
  • interlibrary loan and document delivery
  • EOD – eBooks on Demand (ordering service for TIFFs or full texts)
  • rental of tablets and notebooks (CHF 5 per day)
  • lending or sale of USB sticks (CHF 5 for 8 GB)
  • Bibliothek Münstergasse is the oldest library of the UB Bern and houses the historical book collections and various special collections. Books and documents printed before 1900 and the Rara section are managed by the Historical Collections Center ZHB.
  • As part of its mandate as a cantonal library, the Münstergasse Library acquires literature from and about the Canton of Berne (Bernensia). The most interesting titles of this collection are available as a reference library in the Information and Bernensia section of Münstergasse Library.
  • The majority of the holdings are located in the University Library Storage Facility and can be ordered through our online catalog swissbib Basel Bern.
  • Reading room in the basement: basic selection of printed reference works from all subject areas (call numbers starting with LS).
  • Schultheissensaal: scientific journals, general reference works, books on academic writing and study guides.
  • Information and Bernensia section: books on Bernese culture and literature, local newspapers and magazines.
  • Lounge: regional, national and international daily and weekly newspapers and popular magazines.
  • Music streaming database in CD sound quality: "Naxos Music Library" with over 120,000 classical CDs.
  • Access to all electronic resources of the University Library (see also databases for customers from the Canton of Berne).

cUBe · Online-Informationen erkunden

Explore our extensive digital resources by means of the physical web on our premises. Find out what the physical web is and how you can use it with your mobile device at

Library director

Reader services, circulation

Reading Rooms

Reference and tutorials

Collection management

Periodicals Service Center


Historic Collection Center

Old and Rare Book Collection

Bernensia Collection

Preservation Services

The history of the first secular library building in Switzerland

Between 1533 and 1535, the book collections of the Latin School, the canons' monastery and the dissolved Bernese monasteries were brought together in the west wing of the Barfüsserkloster to form the "Libery" of the Hohe Schule. The book stock grows mainly through donations from private scholars or from High School professors such as Arthopoeus (Niklaus Pfister) or Johannes Fädminger.

The section around the Zytglogge Tower on the Sickinger town map shows a bird's-eye view from the rows of red tiled houses on Kramgasse, today's Hotelgasse, as well as a wall on today's Frickweg. In the lower half of the picture there are the buildings of the former Franciscan monastery on square ground plan, at the upper right corner of the square you can see the Latin school attached.


Franciscan monastery on the Sickinger Plan 1603/1607

In 1632, the library received the book collection of the diplomat and humanist Jacques Bongars (1554-1612), doubling the library collection with its over 3000 volumes.

In front of a dark background appears the bust of Jacques Bongars, who lived from 1554 to 1612. The name at the top left of the picture reads: Jac. Bongars Galliarum Regis Orator apud Germanos, which means: Jacques Bongars, envoy of the French king to the German princes. The diplomat is depicted standing and slightly turned to the left, with his gaze directed towards the viewer. In his right hand he is holding a letter, his left hand is touching a book which lies on a table in front of him. The portrait shows Bongars at an advanced age with greying hair. The face with the high forehead and the soft features appear calm and serious. Bongars wears a black doublet and a white shirt with a stiff flat collar in the fashion of the time. A draped curtain hangs from the upper right-hand corner, corresponding with the green-laid table in the foreground on the left. The objects carefully placed in the picture reveal details about the depicted person. On closer inspection, the addressee of the letter can be identified. The inscription Au Roy identifies him as Henri IV, in whose service Bongars worked. The king is represented in the picture: his portrait in bust adorns the medallion which Bongars wears around his chest on a chain of honour. The letter stands as a symbol for human relations, the book on the table for Bongars' great passion as a scholar and book collector.


Jacques Bongars (Burgerbibliothek Bern)

From 1787 to 1794 Niklaus Sprüngli and Lorenz Schmid converted the Ankenwaag granary into a library. Hence Berne possessed the first secular library in Switzerland with its own building.

The black and white photograph shows the library building on the right. To the left of it, at right angles to Herrengasse, which at that time did not run all the way to today's Kasinoplatz, is the library gallery with its slightly raised central section, which is directly attached to the in those days still existing three-winged monastery building. In the foreground you can see the building of the Latin school.

View from the cathedral tower towards the west of the old town of Berne in 1894. The library building (on the right) has already been extended with the first part of the east wing. (Burgerbibliothek Bern)

The Schultheissensaal was magnificently furnished.


The Schultheissensaal

The market stalls and the mule stables on the ground floor were abolished in 1803 and the openings to the arcade were bricked up.

From 1860 to 1863, the library was extended towards the east (Münstergasse 61) by Gottlieb Hebler.

In 1887, the library was divided into a city library and a university library. Eduard v. Rodt oversaw the extension in the west part (Münstergasse 63) from 1904 to 1905.

In 1909, the library gallery of Niklaus Sprüngli was demolished. Since 1911, the gallery's façade has been standing as a fountain façade on Thunplatz.

In 1951, the Canton of Bern, the Burgergemeinde Bern and the residents of the city of Berne created the foundation City and University Library of Bern (StUB). At the same time, the Burgerbibliothek Bern was founded, taking over the manuscript and graphic departments of the former library.

The black-and-white photograph shows the brightly illuminated hall vaulted by segmental arches. Three workers are mounting rails for the mobile shelving system. The canvases on the right protect already installed book racks.

In the 1960s, the first mobile shelving system in Switzerland was installed in the former wine cellar.

Another wide-reaching refurbishment was carried out by Peter Grützner and Walter Bürgi from 1968 to 1974. Among other things, a five-basement underground stack was dug under the garden.

The view of the black-and-white photograph is directed upwards from one of the basement levels, with the ceilings still open allowing a view of the façade of the library building above-ground. An excavator is shovelling heaps of earth, and reinforcing steel protruding from the concrete ceilings can be seen everywhere.

Underground stacks

From 2007 to 2009, the City and University Library (StUB) and the university libraries merged to form the University Library of Bern (UB).

The last comprehensive renovation took place from 2014 to 2016. The library building at Münstergasse 61/63 was rebuilt during two and a half years. The renovations were completed in May 2016 and it reopened with the new name Bibliothek Münstergasse.

Building contractor, client: Burgergemeinde Bern

Investment: 37,3 Millionen Franken

Architects: alb architektengemeinschaft ag, Bern


  • Engler, Claudia, Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Bern, in: Handbuch der historischen Buchbestände der Schweiz, Bern 2003
  • Schatzkammern. 200 Jahre Bücher, Handschriften und Sammlungen im Gebäude an der Münstergasse 61-63. In: Berner Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Heimatkunde, 56 (1994), 161-252
  • Michel, Hans A. Das wissenschaftliche Bibliothekswesen Berns vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. In: Berner Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Heimatkunde, 47 (1985), 168-234
  • Bibliotheca Bernensis 1974. Festgabe zur Einweihung des umgebauten und erweiterten Gebäudes der Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek und der Burgerbibliothek Bern am 29. und 30. August 1974. Bern, 1974
  • Bloesch, Hans (Hrsg.): Die Stadt- und Hochschulbibliothek Bern. Zur Erinnerung an ihr 400jähriges Bestehen und an die Schenkung der Bongarsiana im Jahr 1632. Bern: Gustav Grunau, 1932