With its specific collection profile the FES Library contributes to the national and international provision of primary and secondary literature for general as well as scientific interests. The Library's extensive historic collection with a almost complet documentation of the history of German Social Democracy is regularly complemented by new acquisitions on the history and present of the German and international labour movement. Here, a special focus lies on European organisations and European and EU developments. As a research library it also collects new publications on German and international social and general history, both in German and English language. A small selection of publications in other languages in this field is also available.
Another key collection is the Library's holding of so called "Grey Literature" (information in German language). For many years the FES Library has maintained a special collection with documents produced by political parties and trade unions from different European countries and North America. These collecting activities have been supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft until the year 2013. After that, the FES Library has pursued these collecting activities with some modifications. The library continuously collects publications from trade unions and political parties from the left and centre-left (Germany and selected European countries), including titles from international labour movement organisations. The majority of these titles is now collected only in digital form.
Besides this, the FES Library maintains the central repository for all publications produced by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. All FES titles published both in Germany and abroad are listed in the annualannual bibliography (information in German language). Bibliographic information on these titles are also available in our main catalogue. Access to all digital FES publications is possible via our Digital Library.
The FES Library is member of the library network "Kooperativer Bibliotheksverbund Berlin-Brandenburg" ( KOBV) and cooperates with further library networks. All the FES Library's holdings are referenced in the library network catalogue of the KOBV and the Bavarian library network (BVB). They are also searchable via the Karlsruher Virtueller Katalog (a book search interface for several German and international catalogues) and the WorldCat. Almost all holdings can be used via interlibrary loan (both in Germany and abroad). For this, the institution codes are Bo 133 (in Germany) and DE-Bo133 (international standard identifier for our library).
The library's flyer (in German language gives a brief overview of the FES Library's profile.
The FES Library stands in the tradition of the historic library of the German social democratic party. This library had been founded at the end of the 19th century in Berlin and has been almost completely destroyed during the national socialist regime in Germany.
The roots of the historic party library go back to the summer 1877 when August Bebel and August Geib discussed the idea of a party library. In 1878 Bebel published an article in the party organ "Vorwärts" ment as a founding call, describing remarkably modern and detailed requirements on the general status and mission of such a library.
This tradition is continued in the current FES Library in a variety of ways.
The complete collection of our library comprises more than 1m items, including 75.000 microforms and 90.000 electronic ressources.
The holdings of the FES Library include many special collections that stem from acquisitions of complete libraries, donations or purchase of valuable collections, complemented by a systematic collection management for many years.
"Und erbitten wir einen ersten Bericht bis zum Ende des Jahres". Die Hilfe der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft beim Aufbau der Bibliothek der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. In: Das gedruckte Gedächtnis der Arbeiterbewegung. Festschrift zum 30-jährigen Bestehen der Bibliothek der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Bonn, 1999. S. 36-54.