FAQ: Service offers during the restricted re-opening

Last update: 02.06.2020

Current services

What online resources can I use?

Online resources continue to be available for HU members (HU students and HU staff), and the content will be significantly expanded. HU members can use the extensive range of online resources via our search portal Primus and VPN access. This also applies to new HU staff members who do not yet have a library card ("opt-in procedure").

Here you will find a short guide to researching electronic resources in Primus and a short video tutorial (in German). Please note that access to licensed full texts via VPN is only possible for HU members.

We gladly accept your acquisition suggestions.

Which services are currently offered at which locations?

Here you get an overview:

Services for HU members (PDF, currently only in German)
Services for non-HU members (PDF, currently only in German)

Can I now learn and work in the libraries again?

No, for the time being only the lending and return at the mentioned locations is possible, the stay should be kept as short as possible and in compliance with the rules of distance and hygiene.

How do I get the books I need?

At some locations (Branch Library Campus Nord, Foreign Languages/Literatures Branch Library, German/Scandinavian Studies Branch Library, Branch Library of Law) you can go to the shelves and take the book you need and then borrow it.

At other locations (Grimm-Zentrum, Musicology Branch Library, Science Branch Library, Theology Branch Library, Asian-/African Studies and Islamic Theology Branch Library, Japanese Studies Library), holdings must always be researched and ordered in advance in Primus. To do this, log in to Primus with your HU account. Only after you have logged in to Primus the button "Order" appears.

The Classical Archaeology Branch Library accepts orders only by e-mail and only for a limited number of media, which are made available in the Musicology Branch Library.

Please do not visit us until you have received a message that the books you ordered have been made available for collection.

How can I prepare my visit to the library?

No research PCs will be available on site. Therefore, please search in Primus in advance for the call numbers and locations of the books you want to borrow. This will save you searching and shorten your time in the library - also in the interest of your fellow students. Please always check the location of the book.

Do I have to wear cloth face coverings in the library?

In order to protect others and consequently yourself, we strongly recommend wearing cloth face coverings. Our employees are usually shielded by protective screens on the desks and therefore do not wear cloth face coverings all the time.

How long can I stay in the library?

The time spent in the library should be kept to a minimum, also in order to allow other users access. Working on site is not possible.

Do I have to expect waiting times?

Yes, only a limited number of users will be permitted to access the buildings. You may therefore only be able to enter the buildings after a waiting period. Keep a sufficient distance from other people outside the buildings and follow the instructions of the staff and/or security guards.

I am an HU staff member. Do I have to visit the locations to get my literature?

In order to minimize direct contacts and the risk of infection, we offer HU staff members at some locations the opportunity to receive desired literature via in-house mail (department address) or directly to their mailboxes/offices (if accessible). Please note that we can only offer this service in individual cases and only in branch libraries (not in Grimm-Zentrum). Please send us an e-mail to the central e-mail address of the respective location and state your user number and office address. The liability for loss of media lies with you as the orderer.


What is my PIN for the self-service machines?

You need a PIN to borrow media from our self-service machines.You can set this up yourself in your Primus account in advance. This is currently not possible on site as the public computer workstations are not accessible.

In Grimm-Zentrum, loans are made exclusively via the desk in the foyer.

Can lockers/cloakrooms be used?

No. Lockers/cloakrooms can only be used when the library is once again completely usable as a learning space. Branch libraries whose holdings are accessible may be entered with jackets as an exception.

Are there computers for research in Primus?

No, please prepare your visit to the library at home.

Can I scan and print?

Partly. We will try to maintain this service on a trial basis at those locations where the holdings are directly accessible. Please observe strict distance rules and hand hygiene there and make sure that your MensaCard is loaded.

The MensaCard machines in Grimm-Zentrum are unfortunately not available.

Borrowing and return/library card and fees

When can I make a reservation again or order from the stacks?

HU-members can reserve literature or order from the stacks. If you were notified before 13.03.2020 that reserved media were available for you, but you did not have the opportunity to pick up the books, we will try to make these media available again in the next 10 days. But this will not be possible in all cases.

We are not yet able to say when it will be possible again to reserve or order literature for non-HU members. For organizational reasons, we unfortunately had to delete all reservations and orders made before 13.03.2020.

Can I also borrow books from the reference collection?

In well-founded exceptional cases, we also make it possible to lend individual reference collections, unless this is excluded for reasons of inventory protection or the type of media. Please send an e-mail to the central e-mail address of the respective library location. Please do not visit us until you have received notification that the ordered books from the reference holdings have been made available. Shortened loan periods apply to these books.

I am not in Berlin at the moment. Can I return borrowed books by mail?

Yes, a return by mail to the owning branch library is possible. We recommend sending the books to us by registered mail, as you are responsible for them until they arrive at the library. Please send the books to:

Universitätsbibliothek der HU Berlin
Benutzung/Leihstelle (location, e.g. Grimm-Zentrum or German Studies Branch Library)
Unter den Linden 6
D - 10099 Berlin

The loan period of the books I borrowed expires. I have already extended to the maximum loan period. What do I do now?

We have automatically extended loan periods. This was not possible in all cases, e.g. when the validity of the card expires or the medium was reserved. We ask you to return the media whose loan period has already expired now.

New late fees for expired loan periods have not arisen since 13.03.2020 and will not arise for the time being (until the end of June) (see below fees).

I have borrowed media from various branch libraries. Can I return them to one location?

As HU member, you can return media from all locations to the location you are visiting. Please use the return machines first. If no return machines are available, delivery boxes are available. Here you can drop off media at your own risk. Please note that you will only receive a return receipt once the book has arrived at the branch library concerned.

I am an external user (non-HU member). Can I currently use the loan and return service?

The services currently offered are exclusively for members of the Humboldt-Universität. External users can return borrowed media via the return machines at the locations Grimm-Zentrum, Erwin-Schrödinger-Zentrum (Natural Sciences Branch Library) and Campus Nord Branch Library.

I am a member of the Charité. What user rights do I have at the Humboldt-Universität Library?

All employees and students of the Charité are considered HU members and have the same user rights as HU members with regard to current services.

I do not yet have a library card and would like to register. What do I have to do?

Staff members of the Humboldt-Universität can contact the respective library location via the central e-mail address.

New registrations from external users (non-HU members) are only possible again when a complete service can be realized.

When should I expect new fees?

In order to support you in these difficult times, we will not charge any new late fees in the coming weeks (not before July 2020). Please be fair and still return your media on time, especially if they have been reserved by someone. Pay attention to your deadlines, extend them in time. But: Fees that have been incurred before 13.03.2020 will not be deleted.

My user account is blocked. How can I pay my fees?

To be able to use the loan service, your user account must not be blocked. If this is the case, please transfer the amount due to the bank account mentioned below. Please note that the loan service can only be used after your user account has been unblocked by us. Payment on site is only possible with MensaCard or girocard (see overview of services at the individual library locations).

Bank details:

Beneficiary’s name: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Bank: Deutsche Bank PFK AG
IBAN: DE95 1007 0848 0512 6206 01
Reason for payment: University Library fee, user number, user name (mandatory, otherwise payment cannot be processed)

Interlibrary loans and document delivery services/scan service

Can interlibrary loans be ordered again?

From 02.06.2020 it will be possible for HU members to place interlibrary loan orders again.

Non-HU members are requested to use the interlibrary loan facilities of the public libraries or Staatsbibliothek.

What happens to my interlibrary loan that could not be picked up by me before the library was closed?

Unfortunately we cannot give a general answer here. Depending on the conditions of the supplying libraries, we were able to hold some loans, others had to be returned. Please contact fernleihe@ub.hu-berlin.de directly.

I have to return my interlibrary loan, where do I do that?

You can return your interlibrary loans in the branch libraries Campus Nord and Natural Sciences. You can then verify the return in your user account.

In Grimm-Zentrum, interlibrary loans can be returned via the desk.

Can the Subito service or the scanning service for lecturers continue to be used?

The University Library continues to offer various document delivery services, so that you can receive at least parts of the books you need as a scan.

The express delivery service Subito: HU members can have articles from journals and partial copies from books delivered free of charge via this delivery service. You can receive scans from over 40 German libraries within three working days. For more information, see "Free of charge and temporary: Subito for HU members".

With our new scan service, HU lecturers can order scans for digital teaching that they could not receive via Subito. Click here for the order form.

Our digitization service E-Books on Demand (eod) for precious old collections will be maintained.

Other information

I am a lecturer. Can I have a new reserve collection arranged?

No, we are currently not setting up analogue reserve collections. Please use our scan service for Moodle. If you have already set up a reserve collection, please contact us and we will work out how the required literature can be made available to students.

Where can I get further support?

Inquiries about reference management software (Citavi and Endnote) can still be addressed to ub.literaturverwaltung@ub.hu-berlin.de.

Support and services concerning Open Access will continue without restriction.

In the current context, please also note the Online Education portal of the Humboldt-Universität. Here you will find information and practical recommendations for conducting courses using digital tools.

Do you have questions about your CampusCard, e.g. about its renewal?

On the website of the Computer and Media Service you will find all answers concerning the CampusCard.

Your question was not answered in the FAQ?

Please contact info@ub.hu-berlin.de or the central mail addresses of the respective library location.

You can reach us by telephone on the central number +49 30 2093-99370 (Mon-Fri 10:00 h - 14:00 h) and on the telephone numbers of the branch libraries.