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The Goethe-Institut New York Library is one of the few German-language lending libraries in the United States. Our holdings number approximately 8,000 volumes, including books (one-quarter of which are in English), DVDs, CDs, newspapers and magazines.

While we welcome visitors from the New York metropolitan area, for those of you outside of New York, please know we also mail items from our collections to members nationwide.

Our collection features five areas of specialization: 

  • contemporary German art
  • contemporary and classic German literature
  • German film
  • German history from the late 19th century to the present
  • German language

An annual library membership entitles patrons to borrowing privileges from both our physical library and our eLibrary.

To apply for library membership, we require the following:
  • proof of identity (government-issued ID)
  • proof of address (on ID or piece of mail addressed to you), telephone number and email address
  • student ID, if applicable
If you are under 13 years old, a parent or guardian must co-sign your application.

For members outside of New York City, we offer loans by mail under the following condition: the library will pay to mail items to members, but members are responsible for the cost of return postage, preferrably with tracking.

Annual library membership fees:
  • $10 membership fee for the general public
  • $5 membership fee for students or senior citizens
  • $0 membership fee for students currently enrolled in one of our language courses
For the annual library membership fee, we accept checks payable to Goethe-Institut New York or cash only.

Should you be interested in becoming a member, please return your completed application and a check to the address below:
Goethe-Institut New York
Attn: Library Membership
30 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003

Current library members may request an access code to our eLibrary via an email to If you are not yet a member, you may register for the eLibrary directly here.
All library members in good standing are entitled to borrow up to 10 items at a time. All physical media - with the exception of reference works, newspapers and the latest issues of magazines - may be borrowed for a loan period of three weeks. Due to the popularity of our film collection, members may only borrow 5 DVDs at a time.

Depending on the type, digital media may be borrowed from our eLibrary anywhere from one hour to two weeks (registration required for use).

There are no fines for overdue material, but members are expected to reimburse the library for lost or damaged material.

Renewals are possible via phone or email. No need to renew or return digital media such as eBooks - they expire automatically at the end of the loan period.

For members outside of New York City, we offer loans by mail under the following condition: the library will pay to mail items to members, but members are responsible for the cost of return postage.

We neither loan material held by other Goethe-Institut libraries worldwide nor do we request materials from other libraries via interlibrary loan. 
Our library subscribes to a number of German newspapers and magazines - both physically and digitally. Here's an up-to-date list of available publications:

Library Subscriptions

Due to space constraints in our space, we do not archive newspapers or magazines - only select issues from the current year are available.
The Goethe-Institut New York library is a cataloging member of the Southwest German Library Consortium. Our holdings can be researched in the Online Catalog.

**Note: Please disregard the loan status "Keine Fernleihe"! We do in fact lend our materials via long distance loan to members throughout the United States. What we cannot do, however, is loan material held by other Goethe-Institut libraries worldwide.

Please be sure to select Goethe-Institut New York [M504225] from the top drop-down menu before starting your search!

As an aid in searching our catalog, we've created a list of our most common call numbers:
Goethe-Institut Library Call Numbers (63KB, PDF)