The publicly accessible library has been part of what is today the Weltmuseum Wien since its foundation in 1928. Although it is primarily intended for scientific research, the library is open to everybody looking for information on the field of ethnology, i.e. social and cultural anthropology. All interested persons may take full advantage of the services of the lending library with its reading room free of charge.
A major part of the library holdings are directly related to the collections of the Museum, ranging from books on the early age of exploration to travel accounts and expedition reports as well as sources on such issues as globalisation or migration. Particularly the precious historical holdings are increasingly used for art projects.
Historical magazines, such as Dr. A. Petermann´s Mittheilungen aus Justus Perthes‘ Geographischer Anstalt or Globus. Illustrirte Zeitschrift für Länder- und Völkerkunde, form another essential resource for researchers.
The journal catalogue currently lists ca. 2,800 titles and is continuously expanded through subscriptions of both national and international journals (including Current Anthropology, American Ethnologist, International Journal of Cultural Property, Historische Anthropologie, Third Text).