Information on the Swiss National Museum (SNM) library

Größere Kartenansicht
  Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum
Landesmuseum Zürich
Museumstrasse 2, PF
8021 Zürich

Tel. ++41 (0) 44 - 218 65 31

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Advance orders

During opening hours the SNM library is open to all. The requested literature must be ordered in advance by mail ( or telephone (++41 (0)44- 218 65 31) (Exceptions: Locations ‘Lesesaal’ and ‘Freihand Lesesaal’. These are freely accessible). If you require items from external locations (see ‘Location information …’), they must be ordered four business days in advance.

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Almanac collection

The SNM library is in possession of an extensive and historically complete collection of Swiss almanacs. These can be accessed using the library’s card index. Please phone or e-mail for further details on this collection.
Tel. ++41 (0) 44 - 218 65 31

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Auction catalogues

The library has a large – and growing – collection of auction catalogues from the 19th century to the present day. Various auctions houses from Switzerland (Zurich, Berne, Basel, etc.), Europe (Munich, Paris, Berlin, etc.) and further afield are represented in the collection. Records are kept in an in-house database. Enquiries should be made by e-mail or phone.

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The SNM library is a reference library. Most items may be borrowed over the weekend (from Friday to Tuesday). This service is free of charge. However, it is generally not possible to borrow historical literature published before 1901 and items from the facsimile collection (see ‘Facsimile collection’).

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All acquisitions made since 1994 can be accessed via the NEBIS catalogue (, which also lists, in summary form, all periodicals. The acronym «SNM» is next to the shelf mark. Please make a note of the location information of the item you are interested in (see «Location information in NEBIS catalogue»). Earlier acquisitions can be found using the old subject catalogue in the reading lounge. The best approach is a preliminary inquiry by email or telephone at the library, since the items from the magazine need to be preordered anyway.
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Charges (in german)

PDF-Icon Auszug aus der Gebührenordnung (PDF 20.5KB)

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Conservation/restoration literature

Literature on conservation/restoration can be found at the SZA (the Collection Centre) in Affoltern. Please note the corresponding location information in the NEBIS catalogue ( Literature from this collection must be ordered in advance.

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Tel. +41 (0)44 218 65 31

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DVD and video

DVD/VHS cannot be viewed in place.  However, they may be borrowed over the weekend. See under Borrowing.

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Facsimile collection

The Faksimile Verlag (‘facsimile publisher’) has donated one copy of each of its titles to the Swiss National Museum. This unique collection encompasses lavishly illustrated manuscripts from the 8th to the 16th century. New publications are added as they appear. All facsimile titles can be accessed via the NEBIS catalogue. The facsimile editions can be viewed in the reading room upon a preorder at the library’s opening hours.

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Getting here

The SNM library is located in the pavilion in the courtyard of the Landesmuseum Zurich. If you are coming from the main station, enter the first courtyard and proceed to the entrance on your left and walk throug the entrance into the pavilion. Inside the pavilion the library is on the right hand side opposite of the Shop.

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Interlibrary lending (libraries)

The SNM library supports interlibrary lending services, meaning that titles from the SNM library may be ordered via other libraries. Copies of articles, in paper form or as PDFs, are also provided as part of the SNM’s interlibrary lending services.
Interlibrary lending requests to the SNM library: Please send orders by e-mail to Normally the loan period for items requested in this way is four weeks. ‘Charges’.

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Interlibrary lending (private individuals)

Interlibrary loans may not be obtained for external customers – i.e. publications are only dispatched following interlibrary loan requests from other libraries.
Photocopy orders placed by private individuals are subject to a fee (see under ‘Charges’).


In the reading room there are two PCs available for Internet research, one of which has a printer. For library users bringing their own computers there are electrical outlets available, but currently no Internet access.

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Library holdings / specialization areas

Since 1898 the SNM library has been collecting publications in the following areas: prehistory, early history, cultural history, folklore, craftwork, art history, Swiss history, numismatics, social history, museology and conservation/restoration. The areas of specialization have evolved parallel to the museum’s collections. The library includes literature corresponding to every type of object in the museum, such as: weapons, glass vessels, paintings, historical photographs, tiled stoves, coins, clothing, graphics, etc. There is a strong focus on prehistory, early history and craftwork, as well as numismatics. The library’s collection on museology / museum administration is particularly well maintained, as is literature on the conservation of objects and museum collections. There are also sizable collections on Swiss history, cultural and social history, economic history and folklore. The library also houses a large collection of exhibition and auction catalogues from Switzerland, Europe and further afield.
The library’s entire collection comprises approximately 70,000 monographic titles and 2,100 periodical titles, of which around 800 are current titles.

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Link list

Link list


Location information in NEBIS catalogue

The location of library materials is indicated in the NEBIS catalogue. The locations Lesesaal (‘Reading room’) and Freihand Lesesaal (‘Open access reading room’) are accessible to the public. Items from other locations (‘Magazin’, ‘Rara’) are retrieved by library staff. It is necessary to order items half a day in advance.

Literature from the locations Konradstrasse and Affoltern am Albis is brought to the library twice a week by internal courier. Orders must be placed four business days in advance (see ‘Advance orders’).

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New acquisitions

New acquisitions from the previous three months are listed in the NEBIS catalogue ( The corresponding links can be found on the SNM library’s home page. Every month the library issues a revised list of its new acquisitions. These books are usually available from the library unless they are still at the bookbinders. Please contact the library if you would like to receive this list regularly via e-mail [].

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Numismatic Literature

The whole literature of the Numismatic Collection has been outsourced to Affoltern am Albis during the phase of building renovation. Numismatic literature must therefore be preordered four business days in advance via email ( or telephone 044 - 218 65 31. The corresponding location in Nebis is called "Münzkabinett, Affoltern am Albis".

Opening hours

Our current opening hours can be found here: If the library is closed for any reason during the normal opening hours, this is also announced on the website. The library is generally closed on public holidays. The reading lounge without any library service is open to the public from Tuesday until Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, on Thursdays the reading lounge is open until 6 pm.

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A4 and A3 photocopies (B&W or colour) can be made at the library. Photocopies or PDF files can also be requested, subject to a charge (see ‘Charges’), via e-mail ( It is currently not possible for library users to make PDF files at the library themselves.

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Most items in the library may be photographed, though flash photography is prohibited. The use of portable scanners is also permitted. The SNM library disclaims any responsibility for any copyright infringement on the part of its users.

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Publication exchange scheme

The library maintains a publication exchange scheme. Institutions or libraries that are interested in receiving SNM publications in return for other publications should contact the library by e-mail: This scheme is not open to private individuals.

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PDF-Icon Download List of Publications

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Purchasing museum publications

Please place your order by e-mail to:
PDF-Icon List of Publications

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At the moment there is no scanner available at the library for public use. Library users are allowed to use their own portable scanners. Subject to a charge, copies in PDF format can be supplied (see ‘Charges’).

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Specialization areas

see ‘Library holdings

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Use of the library

Use of the library is free of charge. Items may be consulted and/or copied at the library, or borrowed over the weekend (see ‘Borrowing’). As items may be in use internally by members of the museum staff, it can be that at a given time certain titles are unavailable, without this being apparent when consulting the NEBIS catalogue ( A preorder for all items that don't show the location information 'Lesesaal' or 'Freihand Lesesaal' is required.

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Phone: +41 (0)44 218 65 31

Brigitte Burkhalter
Phone direct: +41-(0)44 218 65 95

Lea Hatvani
Phone direct: +41-(0)44 218 65 96

Opening hours of the library
Tuesday to Friday: 01.00 pm - 05.00 pm
Closed on public holidays

Reference library. All stocks should be ordered half a day in advance by phone or mail. Weekend loan.
Collections & Documentation
Landesmuseum Zürich
Museumstrasse 2
CH-8021 Zurich

Tel. +41 (0)44 218 65 11
Fax. +41 (0)44 211 29 49

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