The Kunstmuseum Basel’s library doubles as the library of the University of Basel’s Department of Art History. It is also open to all readers interested in art.

Foci of the collection include literature on the history of painting, drawing, and sculpture from the late Middle Ages to the present with a special emphasis on fifteenth- and sixteenth-century art from Germany and the Upper Rhine region, as well as exhibition catalogues, monographs on individual artists and literature on the methodology of the study of art and theories of art and visual culture.

In its 170-year history, the library has also accumulated a significant collection of historic books. Ca. 240 journals and yearbooks keep readers up to date on the contemporary arts scene and recent art scholarship; the most important periodicals are available in the reading room.


Library catalogue

Our holdings are searchable via ->swisscovery. The search portal gives you access to the media holdings of around 475 academic libraries in Switzerland. To use swisscovery, you need to register. Please find further information about registration on the website of the ->University Libary Basel.

Indexing status of auction catalogs and storage catalogs.
The auction catalogs of our holdings are only partially indexed in the electronic catalog swisscovery and usually without individual title listing.
The storage catalogs of our holdings are not listed in the electronic catalog swisscovery.
However, these holdings can alternatively be searched via a card catalog. Please contact our staff for more information.


Who can use the library?

Our library is public and available free of charge to everyone interested in art.

Barrier-free-access: Please contact us in advance either by calling or by email.

Do I need a library Ticket?

You need a swisscovery accout and a library ticket to order media and loan them out. Also valid are library tickets from other SLSP-libraries. Those studying at the University of Basel can use their student ID in place of a ticket. It is possible to register HERE.

What amenities does the library offer?

Our library offers you:

  • 24 workplaces with WLAN access and power sockets
  • 2 research stations
  • photocopier (UNIPRINT)
  • book scanner (up to A2)
  • media pigeonholes for users

Are the stacks freely accessible or must I order media in advance?

In our freely accessible reading room you will find reference works, basic literature and magazines. Most of the media are kept in closed stacks and need to be ordered in advance via the online catalog swisscovery. You will receive a pickup notification.

Can I take media home with me?

Our library stocks some media available for home loan, and others that can only be viewed in the reading room. The online catalog swisscovery provides information on the availability of individual items.

Is it possible to collect here media ordered from other libraries?

Media from Basel courier libraries can be ordered to us free of charge. In addition, media from swisscovery courier libraries outside Basel can be ordered to us for CHF 6 per medium. You will receive a pick-up notification as soon as the media has arrived.

Can I return media from other libraries here?

You can return media from the following libraries to us:

  • swisscovery courier libraries
  • University of Basel Main Library
  • University of Basel Library of Economics
  • University of Basel Library of Classical Antiquity
  • University of Basel Library of Medicine
  • University of Basel Library Rosental
  • University of Basel Library Religion
  • Library of Design
  • Cultural Museum
  • Music Academy
  • PZ.BS

FAQ billing by SLSP

For fee-based services from swisscovery (e.g. copy orders, SLSP Courier, postal delivery), invoices are issued monthly by the operator of swisscovery, the Swiss Library Service Platform (SLSP). You can find all the information on invoices for fees at > FAQ BILLING BY SLSP

Can I make suggestions for new acquisitions?

Yes, you can submit suggestions for new acquisitions to Rainer Baum via e-mail.

Opening hours

Mo–Fr 10.00AM–06.00PM
Sa–Su closed

Special closing days

19.02.2024 - 21.02.2024 (Basel carnival)
29.03.2024 - 01.04.2024 (Easter holidays)
01.05.2024 (Labour Day)
09.05.2024 - 10.05.2024 (Ascension Day)
20.05.2024 (Whit Monday)
01.08.2024 (Swiss national holiday)
19.08.2024 - 30.08.2024 (summer closure)
24.12.2024 - 01.01.2025 (Christmas holidays)


St. Alban-Graben 10
CH-4010 Basel
Tel. +41 61 206 62 70

->Acquisition requests