How to get a Library Card in Austria
I am an avid book reader and prefer the comfort of a good book and cup of tea over going to bars anytime, so when we first arrived in Austria, one of the first things I set out researching was the library system. For a while, I was convinced that my city did not have a library until one day I was literally right outside my library branch talking to a friend asking her about it when she showed it to me – ha! I am happy to announce that I am now a card carrying member of the Austrian library system, below you will find some useful tips to help get you started at your local branch.
The library system in Austria is great and offers a wide selection of books, films, and music. All in all the process for getting a library card is very similar to what I was used to in the USA. Since I had some difficulty finding information on how the process works, I thought it would be useful to share the following information.
In German: Bibliothek or Mediathek
Cost: 5 – 10 Euros for a year of membership. I am a member of the Kärnten library system where the fee is 5 Euros for the year, but in Vienna, it can be as high as 10 Euros, so come prepared with cash when you sign-up. Late fees apply for past due items, but there are no additional checkout fees for checking out DVDs/CDs
What you will need to get a card:
- Valid Photo Identification – I used my Rot Weiss Rot card. Additional proof of address (i.e. Utility bill or pay stub like in the USA) is not required.
- Library Membership Form – Available at the front desk of the library, all of the forms I received were in German, but require only basic information.
- Checkout length varies by type of item borrowed – DVDs 1 week, CDs 2 weeks, and Books 4 weeks.
- Closed on Sunday’s with irregular Saturday hours, I was recommended by the librarian to check the website if I plan on visiting on the weekend.
- English language selection is limited. At my branch, some of the films have English language tracks or subtitles, but there are no books in English.
- Returning items and renewing items are similar to the USA library system