Duchess Anna Amalia Library

Architecture

Since 2005, extensive expansion and new construction work carried out on the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek has markedly improved working conditions and opportunities for use.

The Red and Yellow Castles, historical buildings of great significance in the history of Weimar, have been made available for the study centre. The Red Castle is the oldest and architecturally most interesting building. It was built in 1576 as a dowager’s residence for Dorothea Susanna, the wife of Duke Johann Wilhelm. As early as 1630, it had also become home to the book collection of Duke Wilhelm IV; part of this collection was later transferred to the Ducal Library. The Castle complex is an ensemble of different buildings from various epochs (Renaissance, Baroque through to the conversion of buildings destroyed in war times). Most recently, it housed the municipal administration offices.

It is a great gain for the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek that it was able to integrate the neighbouring estate, as the complex would otherwise have had to be split among several locations. The idea of »one library« was realised in structural terms, as the study centre and the historic building are linked underground by the stacks, which have the capacity to house 1 million volumes. The study centre not only opened up more space for the Library, but also realised the concept of a user-oriented research library. Research libraries focus on work with historical stock mostly rare.

The main target group among the Library’s users comprises scientists who – in some cases as part of a lengthy period of residential study – wish to work with the sources on site. The Library also regularly publishes bibliographical information and produces copies of its stocks (reprints, paper copies, films, digitalised copies) to fulfil requests for literature from outside. It is connected to the national and international inter-library loans network.

The study centre’s service concept includes the following:

  • 130 comfortable and well-equipped reading spaces
  • Extension of opening hours (until 9 pm)
  • Open-shelf system for a large part of the collection
  • Reduction of deadline for the supply of archived books from 24 hours to 1 hour; exceptions include the historical collection in the Rococo Hall
  • Open access shelving of the most important research literature
  • Provision of a photo and media service
  • Workplaces for the blind and visually impaired
  • Event areas and rooms for group work

Literature:

Die Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek in Weimar: Das Studienzentrum. (The Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek in Weimar: The Study Centre.) Edited by Michael Knoche for the Klassik Stiftung Weimar. Photographs by Claus Bach and Ulrich Schwarz. Berlin: Nicolai 2006. 95 pages, numerous illustrations
more information (German only)