In case you are looking for browsing through the latest design magazines or simply having a quiet place to work surrounded by books of beauty and works of art, then you have come to the right place. Viennas libraries are not only great places to work from, but they contain massive collections of books, prints, drawings, photographs, paintings, sketches and anything else beautiful deemed as a piece of great inspiration. All the places have working wifi, table lamps and plugs to charge your laptop and devices. They are also extremely cheap! If you live in Vienna (and can prove it with a registration form)  you can have a library card for all these places for a range of 0-20 euros. The worlds knowledge for a max of 20 euros a year! Incredible, right? The only serious difference between them are:

  1. how conforable the chairs are
  2. opening hours and these you should watch very carefully because in a lot of the cases they are not very long.

Here are some of my recommendations for Viennas best design libraries.

Die Angewandte Bibliothek

The library of the University of applied arts is the spot I like to spend most of my time. Unfortunately, in summer it is not open, and even is September it has rather short opening hours. But once October comes around, then you can visit this library from 9.30-6.30pm. 🙂 Because the university has been recently renovated by architects Ripl Kaufmann Banner, the library is located on the 5th floor offering a dramatic view towards the interior courtyard. It is a bright space lit by natural light and it contains a vast collection of books and magazines and even some newspapers. The information offered by the library reflects all fields of study at the university. The library is one of Austria’s major public libraries for contemporary art in the field of applied and visual arts. The collection comprises 149,000 volumes, of which about 99,000 can be borrowed.

Mak Lesesaal

The Reading Room of the Museum of applied arts is one of the worlds oldest archive of applied art, displaying about 400.000 drawings and about 200.000 volumes of art as well as some 3700 magazines. Designed beautifully in 1993 by Ursula Aichwalder and Hermann Strobl, the Reading Room is just that – one room wooden floors and large wooden tables on which to spread your drawings. It has a massive light ceiling that leaves natural light to flow in and the best part is that it is free. There is no entrance fee. If you want to have copies of any kind of drawing or book before the 1950s than this will cost you some money. I have not found out how much exactly.

AZW Bibliothek

The library of the Architecture Center of Vienna ( Architekturzentru Wien) is a tiny giant. A small room, the AZW is stacked with books and the latest architecture and interior design magazines. It is not as fancy as the first 2 but it’s open on the Weekend (which is really rare in Vienna).

TU Wien Bibliothek

The library of the technical university of Vienna is pretty well stacked with architecture books and magazines. On the down side though it’s in dire need of renovation both in terms of search engine systems as well as interior design. It is usually very packed, so make sure to go there early or at times when students might not be there.

Bibliothek der Bildende Künste

Also very recently renovated, the library of the University of Arts is a communication center for arts and science and a beautiful place to work from. If you are registered in Vienna, you can receive a 15 euro yearly library card and visit the library from Monday to Friday.