FAQ: Services of the University Library during the Corona Pandemic

Last updated: 05.05.2021

University Library remains restricted in use until further notice

What restrictions are currently in place at the University Library?

With regard to the current SARS-CoV-2 Infection Protection Measures Ordinance, the operation of the University Library will remain restricted until further notice. Accordingly, academic libraries may currently only offer online services and lending operations. No on-site work is possible at any of the University Library's locations, including the study carrels. The Research Reading Room at Grimm-Zentrum is closed.

Please inform yourself about our possibly adjusted opening hours on the respective location pages.

For your safety and that of others, we recommend that you take a Corona test before visiting the library. HU members can get tested twice a week at the test centers in the auditorium of the Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum (side entrance Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 1/3) and at Rudower Chaussee 24 in Adlershof. More information.
An overview of other test centres in Berlin can be found on the website of the Senate Chancellery.

Hygiene measures on site

What hygiene measures do I have to follow on site?

We ask you to observe the obligatory distance and hygiene rules during your stay on site. If you have cold symptoms (e.g. fever or cough), you are not allowed to enter the University Library.

According to the current SARS-CoV-2 Infection Protection Measures Ordinance, it will be compulsory to wear an FFP2 mask in the rooms of the University Library from 31.03.2021. This obligation applies to users during their entire stay in the library.

Moreover, only a limited number of visitors are admitted to all locations of the University Library at the same time.

Opening hours

What are the opening hours of the individual locations?

The current opening hours can be found on our location pages.

Services at a glance

Which services are currently offered at which locations?

Details of the services provided by our locations can be found on the location pages and in the following overview tables:

Overview: Restricted services for HU members (pdf, in German only)

Overview: Restricted services for non-HU members (pdf, in German only)


Borrowing and user account

Can I borrow media?

All users at most locations have access to the libraries for a maximum of 2 hours using a passage card. In the Theology Branch Library and in the Musicology Branch Library, access to the open access holdings is via the distribution of book baskets.

The passage cards will be handed out at the service counters and booked to the user account. The required media can then be picked from the shelves and borrowed independently.

There are exceptions for the branch libraries of Classical Archaeology and Law. At these locations, borrowing of media is unfortunately only possible for HU members.

Please note: Users will receive a passage card or basket in the order of their arrival. In order to comply with the prescribed hygiene measures and minimum distances, however, only a limited number of visitors can be admitted to our locations at the same time.

In addition, the passage cards or book baskets do not entitle to use a working place.

Details on the services of the individual locations can be found in the overview tables above.

We ask for your understanding that, depending on the situation, we may have to adapt the regulations at short notice. Please check our website again shortly before your visit.

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

Currently, new registrations are not possible. Exceptions apply for HU staff members and Charité members:

New HU staff members please activate their library account online first and then contact our staff members at the service counters. You can find more information here.

Charité members, please contact gz-ausleihe@ub.hu-berlin.de.

I would like to renew my library card in order to extend the lending period of my borrowed media. What do I have to do?

In this case, account renewals are possible by email. Please contact gz-ausleihe@ub.hu-berlin.de.

Please do not send us unsolicited copies or scans of your personal documents!

How can I prepare my visit to the library?

Usually, individual research PCs are available at our locations. For reasons of infection hygiene, however, we recommend that you prepare your visit well and, if possible, research the desired media via Primus at home. This way you will not spend unnecessary time in the library areas and help to avoid queues and minimize the risk of infection.

Do I have to wear a face mask in the library?

According to the current SARS-CoV-2 Infection Protection Measures Ordinance, it will be compulsory to wear an FFP2 mask in the rooms of the University Library from 31.03.2021. This obligation applies to users during their entire stay in the library.

In addition, please observe the general hygiene and behaviour recommendations for protection against the Corona virus: Always keep a minimum distance from other people, wash your hands regularly and pay attention to the usual sneezing and coughing etiquette. If you have cold symptoms (e.g. fever or cough), you are not allowed to enter the University Library. Moreover, only a limited number of visitors are admitted to all locations of the University Library at the same time.

How long can I stay in the library?

To borrow media, you have access to the open access areas for a maximum of 2 hours using a passage card or a book basket, issued by the service personnel. As only a limited number of users are allowed to enter the buildings, your stay should be kept to a minimum to enable other users to borrow and return media.

Do I have to expect waiting times?

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

I am an HU employee. 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 employees at some locations the opportunity to receive desired literature via in-house mail (business address) or directly to their mailboxes/secretariats (if accessible). Please note that we can only offer this service in individual cases and only in branch libraries (not at Grimm-Zentrum). For this purpose, please send us an e-mail to the central mail address of the respective location and state your user number and service address. The liability for loss of the media lies with you as the orderer.

What is my PIN for the self loan machines?

You need a PIN to borrow media from our self loan machines. You can set this up in advance in your Primus account.

Can lockers/cloakroom lockers be used?

Details of the locker and cloakroom situation at the individual locations can be found in the overview tables.

Are there user computers, e.g. for the Primus research?

At our library locations there are usually individual research PCs available. For reasons of infection hygiene, however, we recommend that you prepare your visit well and, if possible, research the desired media in Primus at home.

Can I scan and print?

Partly. We usually offer this service at those locations where the holdings are directly accessible. Please pay strict attention to distance rules and your hand hygiene and make sure that your MensaCard is charged.

Can I also borrow books from the reference collection?

In well-founded exceptional cases, we also make it possible to borrow individual reference collections, provided this is not 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 location. Please do not contact us until you have received a notification that the ordered books from the reference collection have been made available. Shortened loan periods apply to these.

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 the loan periods of those media until March 2021 that would originally have been due for return in January and February 2021. However, this was not possible in all cases, e.g. if the validity of the library card expires or the item is reserved.
Our request: consult your user account regularly and return media due or send to us by mail to avoid late fees.
Furthermore, we have temporarily increased the maximum loan periods for external users for standard and short-term loans: for standard loans to a maximum of 182 days, for short-term loans to a maximum of 28 days.

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

All users (HU members and non-HU members) can return media from all locations at the location visited. Exceptions are very small locations and the Branch Library of law, see also the overview tables above. Please use the self loan machines. If there are no self loan machines, deposit boxes are available. Media can be deposited here at your own risk. Please note that you will only receive a return receipt after the item has been transported to the respective branch library.

I am not an HU member. Can I currently use the loan and return service?

Non-HU members can borrow media - except in the Law Branch Library and in the Classical Archaeology Branch Library.

Unfortunately, at this time external users (i.e., non-HU members) cannot be registered.

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

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

Are there currently any late fees?

If the loan period is exceeded, a reminder will be issued for a fee. If it is not possible for you to visit the library for the return, please send us the media by mail before the expiration of the loan period.

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. Should this be the case, please transfer the fees 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 giro card (see overview of services at the individual locations).

Bank details:

Payee: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Bank: Deutsche Bank PFK AG
IBAN: DE95 1007 0848 0512 6206 01
Reference: University Library fee, user number, user name (must be specified, otherwise the payment cannot be assigned)

Interlibrary loans and document delivery services/scan service

Can interlibrary loans currently be ordered?

All users (HU members and non-HU members) can place interlibrary loan orders. However, please keep in mind that due to nationwide restrictions, delays in delivery should be expected. Until 31.07.2021, electronic documents ordered through interlibrary loan can be electronically distributed to end users.

Where can I return my interlibrary loan?

Interlibrary loans can be returned at the branch libraries Campus Nord, Natural Sciences and Asian/African Studies and Islamic Theology as well as at Grimm-Zentrum at the service desks.

Can the Subito service or the scan service for lecturers still to be used?

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

Express delivery service Subito: HU staff members can use this delivery service to have articles from journals and partial copies of books delivered free of charge. They receive scans from over 40 German libraries within three working days. For more information, see Subito for HU staff members.

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

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

Working on-site

Can I work on-site?

Currently, it is not possible to work on site at all locations of the University Library, including the study carrels.

Online resources

How can I use online resources?

Our online services will continue to be expanded and are accessible to HU members (HU students and HU employees) via VPN access and via our search portal Primus. Please note that in the first step the VPN connection must be established before the browser is started and the online content can be accessed.

To research digital resources, please refer to this short guide and this video tutorial (in German only).

Non-HU members are provided with on-site computers at the individual library locations for access to online resources.

We gladly accept your acquisition request.

Other information

I am a lecturer. Can I have a new reserve book collection set up?

Yes, the majority of the University Library locations offer analogue reserve book collections. Please contact the corresponding branch library.

As an alternative, you can also use our scan service for Moodle. In the current context, please also note the Online Education portal of Humboldt-Universität. Here you will find information and practical recommendations for conducting courses using digital tools.

Where can I get support for reference management software?

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

How and where can I update my Campus-Card?

On the website of the Computer and Media Service you will find all answers concerning the Campus-Card.

Where can I charge my Campus or Mensa Card?

You can charge your Campus or Mensa Card at the following library locations during the respective opening hours:

  • Grimm-Zentrum
  • Campus Nord Branch Library
  • Science Branch Library/Erwin-Schrödinger-Zentrum
  • Theology Branch Library
  • German Studies and Scandinavian Studies Branch Library
  • Foreign Languages/Literatures Branch Library/Centre for British Studies (Library)
  • Asian-/African Studies and Islamic Theology Branch Library

Further possibilities for Mensa Card upload:

  • Mensa of the Studierendenwerk, Hardenbergstraße 34, 10623 Berlin
  • Info-Point in the dormitory of the Studierendenwerk, Franz-Mehring-Platz 2/3, 10243 Berlin


Your question was not answered in the FAQ?

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

You can reach us by telephone on the central number +49 30 2093-99370 (Mon-Fri 09:00 - 17:00 h) and on the telephone numbers of the branch libraries.