The Institute has a research library which is devoted primarily to German history from the Middle Ages to the present. Its holdings concentrate on modern German history (in German as well as in English and other languages), with special emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries, in particular Germany between 1933 and 1945, the development of the two German states after 1945/49 and German unification after 1989. Particular attention has been paid to building up the reference section (e.g. guides to archives), the collection of works on the theory and methodology of history and Festschriften. The library also acquires English translations of German holdings, where available.
At present, it holds approximately 80,000 books. The library subscribes to c.230 periodicals, including all the important German regional historical journals, and provides access to a number of databases and important microform collections. Current journals, and a selection of German and English newspapers and magazines are displayed in the Common Room.
Acquisitions of the most important works on German history are as comprehensive as possible. The intention is to cover the whole spectrum of German historiography, thereby providing a reliable base for research on German history from the medieval period to the present day. Acquisition policy responds to current needs and invites suggestions made by readers.