The Vienna City Library can look back on a long history, with the first written record dating back to the year 1466. In the meantime it ranks as one of the three main scholarly libraries in Vienna. Its main focus is on research into and the documentation of the history and culture of Vienna. From the second half of the 19th century on, the special collections and the collection of printed works received a major boost through the acquisition of the papers and bequests of public figures, artists, writers and scholars.
Its extensive holdings include not only unique Viennensia and Austriaca but also a large archival collection with the papers of many individuals. They cover the period from the late 18th century up to the immediate present and in the case of printed works date back to the late 15th century.
In addition to the Printed Works Collection with its roughly 550,000 volumes, there are more than 860 literary bequests with around 6 million individual autographs in the Manuscript Department, almost 100,000 items in the Music Department ranging from original scores to sheet music. The Vienna City Library also has the largest collection of posters in Austria as well as an extensive documentation in the form of newspaper clippings.