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Here you can find the answers to frequently asked questions. Can’t find the answer you are looking for? Then please contact us: we’ll be happy to help!

A question mark built up with books (Photo: Sina Guntern/EMC)
The BiG answers your questions (Photo: Sina Guntern/EMC)

Registration, user account, password

Please register at the front desk or online using the registration form. Once you have registered, you will receive a user card that allows you to borrow items from the BiG free of charge. More details are in our Terms of Use.

If you have a library pass from an institution belonging to the Bibliopass lending association, you can use this at the BiG once you have registered.

Under click on ‘Log in’ in the top right hand corner of the screen, then enter your User ID and password. In your user account you can see when the books you have borrowed need to be returned, and change your personal details (address, email, password) as necessary.

Send an email to or call 058 464 50 99.

Borrowing, ordering, inter-library loans

You can borrow up to 30 items at one time.

The BiG has a non-lending collection, open-access holdings and underground stacks. As items are not arranged by topic, you will need to do a search using Alexandria.

Items can be borrowed from the open-access holdings and underground stacks; those in the non-lending collection may be consulted on the premises.

Once you have registered, you can order items online via

Items will be sent to you by post (or federal courier) or you can collect them from the front desk during the library opening times.  

The following documents may be consulted on the premises only:

  • Works published before 1914
  • Works in the non-lending collection
  • Works in the special collections
  • Works that are very valuable or classified.

Books can usually be borrowed for 28 days, periodicals for 14 days. It is possible to renew items automatically up to five times.

If an item you borrow is subsequently reserved by another library user, you will be asked to return it (after a minimum lending period of four weeks).

Items not held at the BiG can be ordered for you from another library, according to that library’s lending terms. More information can be found under Inter-library lending service.

The BiG has a large number of print periodicals. You can ask to be sent current issues by post or courier, to your home or office.

Are you looking for a specific periodical? You can search for it in our alphabetically arranged list of periodicals or send an email to .

Holdings, collections

The collections held at the BiG largely reflect the topics dealt with by the Federal Administration: economics, history, military, politics and law. Further information on our holdings can be found under Holdings and Collections.

If you wish to gift the BiG items from your private collection, please first draw up an inventory with all the bibliographic details (title, author, publisher, year published) and send it to

Please note that we can only accept items that reflect the profile of the library’s collections.


All users have free access to all articles and databases in the Alexandria search portal.

However, only employees of the Federal Administration and of the military can access the full range databases, e-books and e-journals. If you are a member of the public and interested in one of these items, please ask the library staff about the inter-library lending service.

You can find more information at E-media.


A team of specialist staff can help you with your search. This service is free of charge. Please contact or send us your request by completing the form Documentation request. If you would like help at the library premises, please make an appointment beforehand.

More information on general search techniques can be found at Search tips.

Training, guided tours, infrastructure

Would you like to know more about the BiG’s history, the listed building, its special collections and its services? Why not book a 30- or 60-minute guided tour?

More information and the booking form can be found under Guided tours.

The BiG has a number of rooms that can be booked free of charge by both Federal Administration and military employees and the general public. The rooms have disabled access. More information and the booking form can be found under Meeting room reservations.

You can work in peace at the BiG at one of the workstations available during the library’s opening times. Workstations cannot be reserved in advance. For more information, please see Workstations and infrastructure.

A printer and photocopier can be used free of charge. Please bring a USB flashdrive to save your scanned documents.

Where to find us, opening times, contact

The BiG can be easily reached by public transport: take tram number 9 to the Guisanplatz Expo tramstop and you will see the library on the crossroads, diagonally opposite the stop.

For more information, please see Opening times and where to find us

The BiG is open from Monday to Friday from 8.30 to 11am and from 2 to 4pm. If you enter the building before 11am, you can leave at any time, but may not be able to reenter the building before it opens again at 2pm. The front desk is closed over lunchtime. For more information, please ask at the front desk.

No, the BiG does not have a box for returned items. Please return items by post, courier or in person at the front desk.

Library Am Guisanplatz User Services
Papiermühlestrasse 21a
CH-3003 Bern
+41 58 464 50 99

Contact form

Library Am Guisanplatz

User Services
Papiermühlestrasse 21a
CH-3003 Bern