The library of the Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna is specialized on the subject of Judaism. The collection consists of literature covering history, religion and the culture of Judaism, as well as fiction by Jewish authors, publications and reference works. The library currently consists of about 45 000 books, the oldest of which come from the 16th century. About a third of the books are written in Hebrew, about 75% of which are in the Hebrew language and 25% in Yiddish. The other two thirds of the works are in German and English.
The main focus of the literature written in the Latin alphabet is the history of the Jewish people in Austria and the other countries of the former Hapsburg Monarchy. Of particular importance are works which are highly interesting sources of information about Jewish life in Vienna, such as reports by the Jewish Community and the annual reports of associations. In addition, the library has an impressive range of Jewish newspapers and publications dating from before the Second World War. The Hebrew portion is mostly made up of religious literature and Rabbinica, but also works on the contemporary history of Israel and the Shoah (e.g. Yizkor Books) and fiction. The works in Yiddish are mostly in the form of fiction.
Brief History of the Library
The library of the Jewish Museum Vienna consists of the old inventory of the Jewish Community and items acquired by the museum. In 1992 the Jewish Community gave its inventory to the Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna as a permanent loan. The library was reopened in 1994 as a department of the Jewish Museum Vienna in the former festival hall of the Jewish Community and has been available to the public since that time. In April 2004 the library joined the Austrian Association of Libraries, with the result that the library catalogue can also be consulted on the Internet. The Association has also made it possible for Hebrew works to be sought in their original language. Specialist articles from magazines and collections are also included individually in the catalogue and can be retrieved online for research purposes.