Bust of Fürstenberg in the manuscript reading room

Manuscript reading room

In the manuscript reading room on the first floor you can access our valuable collection. It contains manuscripts, personal papers, autographs, publications before 1830, documents of particular value between the 18th to the 21st century, historical maps and musical manuscripts. Interlibrary loans of the preceding types are also kept in the manuscript reading room.
Fact sheet

Service restrictions during the corona crisis

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic the manuscript reading room can only be used to a limited extent:
MonFri: 10 a.m. – 12 noon and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
by appointment (handschriften.ulb@uni-muenster.de)

Please refer to the FAQ for more details.


In order to use the collections, a library card, or a valid identity card or passport must be presented. We kindly ask you to announce your visit and the desired medium several days in advance, if possible. To do so, you may use the online registration form.


Our library staff in the Historical Collections will be happy to provide you with further information. Their emphasis is on manuscripts, early prints, the music and map collection, the historical libraries, the Prussica Collection Trunz and the archive "Masters of the Art of Binding".


If you would like the library to reproduce an item, please use our order form:
Order form (bill to a private person)
Order form (bill to a WWU department)
Any requests by fax, mail or email should contain your address, information on the item and the desired form of reproduction.

The prices for reproduction can be found in our price list [de].

Our reproduction service is limited to media which will not be worn or damaged by the process and dependent on technical and personnel capacities of the library.


Currently, the library’s historical collection is referenced in several different catalogues:

  • HANS [de] – catalogue of manuscripts, autographs, personal papers, and special collections of the library
  • Kalliope – central research access for personal papers and autographs in Germany
  • ULB catalogue [de] – the main catalogue contains the Rare Book collection and the manuscript reading room’s reference collection
  • Indexing status of our personal papers and collections [de].

The medieval manuscripts [de] are indexed in a printed catalogue (as of 1995):
Die mittelalterlichen Handschriften der Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Münster / by Eef Overgaauw. Wiesbaden. 1999.
Location: Manuscript reading room H ALL 0.4 MUS 10

Collection of the manuscript reading room

The manuscript reading room contains a reference library of approximately 2500 items. It comprises the most important catalogues for manuscripts and incunables of German and foreign libraries, literature about paleography, book illuminations, the history of letterpress printing and book covers as well as secondary literature. All reference media are listed in the ULB catalogue with the annexe "Handschr.-LS". The collection can be researched in the online classification system [de].