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Public Space© Daniel Albanese

Lending Service

The Goethe-Institut New York Library is one of the few German-language lending libraries in the United States. Our holdings number approximately 6,000 volumes, including books, DVDs, CDs, newspapers and magazines. Roughly 25% of our collection is in English.

Our collection features the following areas of specialization: 

  • contemporary German literature with a special focus on German literature in English translation
  • German art
  • German film
  • German history from the late 19th century to the present
  • German language

Registration for Library Membership

A library membership is only necessary if you plan on borrowing physical media from our library in New York. To use our eLibrary to borrow digital media, you can simply sign up for access online.

  • To apply for a new library membership, we require your name, date of birth, telephone number and email address.
  • Upon completing the form, you will receive an automated email to verify your email address. By clicking on the link in the email, a temporary membership will be created for you.
  • To complete the membership process, please bring proof of identification to our library within the next 14 days. A staff member will then activate your membership and provide you with a library card. Should you not make it to the library within 14 days, your temporary membership will be automatically deleted from our system.

Registration for the Online Catalog

In our library’s Online Catalog (OPAC), you can browse our holdings around the clock and gain an overview of the books, CDs, DVDs, magazines and electronic resources that make up our collection.

If you are a library member, you can sign in to the Online Catalog with your account. The personalized OPAC offers the following advantages:

  • View media you currently have out on loan, including due date
  • Renew the loan period for your media
  • Suggest acquisitions for the library
  • Comment on media
  • View media you’ve previously borrowed

In order to make our library and it's resources accessible to all, all library memberships will be free effective immediately.

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)
  • an email address and telephone number
If you are under 13 years old, a parent or guardian must co-sign your application.
All physical media - with the exception of reference works, newspapers and the latest issues of magazines - may be borrowed for a loan period of 3 weeks. All library members in good standing are entitled to borrow up to 10 items at a time. Due to the popularity of our film collection, members may only borrow 5 DVDs at a time. Please note that DVDs in our collection may be borrowed for personal use only.

Renewals are possible via our Online Catalog, by phone or email. Failure to renew or return materials will eventually result in the system automatically freezing your account.

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

Depending on the type, digital media may be borrowed from our eLibrary anywhere from 1 hour to 2 weeks (learn more about our eLibrary here). 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.