Who can borrow books and media?

The Zentralbibliothek Zürich is available free of charge to anyone wishing to use it. If you are officially resident in Switzerland and over 16 years of age, you can obtain a library card free of charge. Further information for persons not resident in Switzerland as well as legal entities can be found in our user code.

Registration and library cards

If you do not yet have a library card that is valid in the IDS network and want to borrow books or use our internet workstations:

Borrowing books and media

Our holdings are divided into freely accessible and closed stacks. Please note the location in our catalogue, the Rechercheportal.

  • Books that are available for loan in the freely accessible area can be taken from the shelf in the open stacks and booked to your account at the self-service machine in reading room P0.
  • You can download a plan of the freely accessible holdings here or obtain a copy in the library.
  • See the ordering options for details of how to borrow media from the closed stacks.
  • You can borrow a maximum of 100 books from the open stacks, 50 from the closed stacks, 50 for reading room use and a maximum of 5 DVDs.

Loan periods

Loan period for books:

  • 4 weeks
  • Automatically extended up to 12 weeks unless reserved by another user
  • After 12 weeks you can extend the loan period 3 times in your library account unless the item has been reserved by another user.

Loan period for DVDs:

  • 1 week
  • Automatically extended up to 3 weeks unless reserved by another user
  • After 3 weeks you can extend the loan period 3 times in your library account unless the item has been reserved by another user.

Returns

  • During opening hours, use the self-return machines in the foyer.
  • Outside opening hours, use the self-return machine in Chorgasse, which you can open using your library card.
  • You can also return items by post, at your own risk and ideally by registered mail. The date on which the item arrives in the library will be regarded as the official return date.

Reminder fees

Many of our services – including borrowing and library cards – are free of charge. If you do not return media on time we will send you a reminder, for which a fee will be charged. When you receive a recall notice or reminder you will have 10 days to return the document. More information about charges can be found here.