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The Federal Constitutional Court's Library

The Federal Constitutional Court’s library was founded in 1951 when the Federal Constitutional Court was established. It is a scientific in-house library (i.e. it is not open to the public) which specialises in public law, constitutional and administrative law, general theory of the state and of society, politics and contemporary history.

At present (July 2013), the library holdings consist of approximately 386,000 volumes; they are increased by approximately 5,000 volumes every year. The library currently holds subscriptions of about 1,000 periodicals; approximately 450 of them are law and social-science journals from Germany and abroad, the others are parliamentary papers and the official publications of the Federal Government and the German Länder (states).

The focus of the library holdings is on public law, and in particular on domestic and foreign constitutional law. Apart from this, the library’s acquisition policy is to cover a broad range of subjects in order to facilitate the consideration of non-juridical aspects in the appraisal of the facts that are the basis of the court proceedings.

Another part of the library is a press archive “for collecting all material concerning the Court” (§ 18 of the Federal Constitutional Court’s Rules of Procedure), which has also been maintained since 1951. A daily press digest is produced on the basis of 30 to 40 daily and weekly newspapers.

In principle, the library and the press archive may only be used by the members and staff of the Federal Constitutional Court.

All publications in the library are catalogued in the Southwest German Library Network (Südwestdeutscher Bibliotheksverbund, SWB) and can be accessed via the local electronic user catalogue, which also documents the books' lending status. This applies to all books that have been acquired since 1951 and to all essays that have been catalogued since August 1996. This means that at present (July 2013) approximately 550,000 titles (about 260,000 of which are essays) can be accessed via the juridical online catalogue of the Federal Constitutional Court's library, which currently makes it one of the largest juridical online catalogues in the German-speaking area.

For the general public, two online catalogues have been made available in co-operation with the BSZ: The Katalog der Bibliothek des Bundesverfassungsgerichts (Catalogue of the Federal Constitutional Court’s Library) and the Gemeinsamer Katalog des Bundesgerichtshofs und des Bundesverfassungsgerichts (Joint Catalogue of the Federal Court of Justice and of the Federal Constitutional Court).