HKB Media Library

The Media Library is a centre of learning and exchange for HKB students, lecturers and staff. It is also open to the public in order to inform and inspire interested specialists and laypeople alike. The holdings of the HKB Media Library are indexed in the discovery tool BFH swisscovery. The vast majority can be borrowed.


use the swisscovery search platform to search nationwide in Switzerland

Opening Hours

Monday closed
Tuesday to Friday: 9am – noon and 12.30pm – 5pm

Closures 2022

Christmas / New Year: 24.12.2022 – 8.1.2023

Media return

Media can be returned outside opening hours via the return box. The return box is in front of the media library and is emptied daily at 9am. Borrowed media items that are dropped off later than 9am will only be registered as returned as of the following working day. 


Bern University of the Arts
Media Library
Fellerstrasse 11
CH-3027 Bern

T +41 31 848 38 31


Please order media online on BFH swisscovery

The Media Library

The HKB Media Library combines the holdings of four divisions: Design and Fine Arts, Conservation and Restoration, Research and the Y Institute.


Art and art education

  • Artists’ monographs and exhibition catalogues
  • Theory and philosophy of art
  • Art history, art epochs, art movements
  • Sculpture
  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Illustration
  • Graffiti
  • Comics
  • Performing arts
  • Media art


  • Architects’ monographs
  • History of architecture
  • Architectural theory
  • Urban development
  • Landscape and garden architecture
  • Interior design


  • Designers’ monographs
  • History of design
  • Design theory
  • Industrial design
  • Graphic design, visual communication and commercial art

Handicrafts and decorative art

  • Woodworking
  • Textile design and fashion
  • Paper design

Graphic art

  • History of graphic art
  • Print methods
  • Graphic printing

Photography, film, animation

  • Photographs’ monographs
  • History and theory of photography
  • Documentary photography
  • Architectural photography
  • Artistic photography
  • Cinematography
  • History of film
  • Film technology
  • Film criticism
  • Film theory
  • Animation


  • Philosophy
  • Sociology
  • Pedagogy
  • Psychology
  • Theatre
  • Film library (feature films, documentaries, animated films)
  • Physics, chemistry and biology
  • Paints, binding agents, solvents, varnish
  • Painting and sculpture
  • Graphics and written material
  • Photography, film and video
  • Architecture, interior design and furniture
  • Modern materials and media
  • Art history
  • Art epochs and movements
  • Iconography
  • Sources


The collection of the HKB Media Library contains around 40,000 media: 4,000 films, more than 200 journals, more than 30,000 exhibition catalogues, illustrated books, monographs, reference works, almanacs and teaching materials on the subject areas of the library. The HKB Media Library is open to the public. Users must be registered to borrow media from the library. The registration can be completed for free on site.

Special holdings


The HKB Media Library owns around 100 valuable, rare publications.

Their classmark is RARA. They are not available for loan. Rarities can only be used for reference on site or borrowed for short-term use in internal classes.

You can use BFH swisscovery to search our rarities.

Theses and dissertations (diploma, bachelor, master)

The Media Library collects the diploma theses of HKB students.

Projects in the field of Conservation and Restoration are integrated into the holdings of the HKB Media Library. BFH swisscovery lists them under their title and author’s name.

Projects completed in the Division of Design and Fine Arts are collected in the Media Library. They can only be viewed on site.


The HKB Media Library is open to the public. All individuals with a valid library ID can borrow media. You can get a free library ID at the Media Library. Alternatively, your BFH card can be activated as a library ID. We generally recommend being logged into the university network or using a VPN to search for media, as you will be unable to access licensed media otherwise.

Literature and media search

swisscovery search platform

The collections of the BFH Library (books, periodicals, DVDs, etc.; except for the library of the Abegg Foundation) can be searched using the swisscovery search platform:

swisscovery is operated by the Swiss Library Service Platform (SLSP).

Art & Architecture Source

Database for visual and applied arts, design and architecture. Includes the databases Wilson Art Full-Text and Art Index Retrospective as well as 750 journals in full-text, references and abstracts from renowned international journals (USA, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Holland), 220 e-books and 63'000 images.

ARTStor Digital Library

Collections of images from museums, private collectors, photographic agencies, photographers of architecture, etc. for use in research and teaching.

ETH E-Pics Image Archive

In the image archive of the ETH library more than 500'000 images are available for free download, 100'000 of these images are in the public domain and can be used without restrictions. The collection includes photos of Swiss history of science and technology, the archives of Swissair and the Fotostiftung Schweiz as well as the Baugeschichtliche Archiv of the city of Zurich.

Phaidon Atlas - Architecture for Architects

This database can be searched by architect, building type, location or material. It contains photos, descriptions, drawings and maps.


Prometheus is a distributed digital image archive for art and cultural studies. The Prometheus image archive functions according to the principle of a database broker that brings together heterogeneous image databases. The image providers make their databases available to research and teaching free of charge. Prometheus thus enables a comfortable image search via a common interface in different image archives, institute, research and museum databases.

Rijksmuseum Studio

More than 500'000 images of works in the museum's collection have been digitised in high resolution; 200'000 of these images are available in the Rijksmuseum Studio and can be freely adapted.

Statens Museum for Kunst (National Gallery of Denmark)

As part of the Google Art Project this museum has digitised in high resolution approximately 40'000 images of works of art in the public domain, which can be used and adapted by the public.

Bibliographic subject databases and other online resources (such as norms or pictures) offered by the BFH libraries are accessible to BFH students and staff on the BFH network (WLAN bfh or VPN). To other library visitors they are available at the research stations in the library.

E-books and e-journals can be searched via swisscovery.

In case of access problems, please consult our FAQ.

Lost Art Internet Database Deutschland

‘Lost Art’ is the official German database for the documentation of cultural objects seized during the Nazi dictatorship. It contains cultural objects that were displaced or confiscated as a result of organised looting efforts by the Nazis, especially from Jewish owners.

Anlaufstelle Raubkunst, Federal Office of Culture

A governmental online portal about artworks plundered by the NS regime. Contains general information as well as information about provenance research.

The browser extension Lean Library leads you directly to electronic full-text content offered by your BFH library

Download Lean Library

  2. Install browser extension
  3. Select the library: Berner Fachhochschule
  4. Begin your search for academic literature. The Lean Library pop-ups lead directly to the full-text.

For best results, always activate the VPN.

Lean Library is available for

  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Opera
  • Microsoft Edge

For Internet Explorer, only a limited version is available. The download for Internet Explorer requires administrator rights.

Use on mobile devices:
iOS operating system from Apple: Academic Browser
Android from Google: under development 

Try Lean Library after download 

  • If the article you are looking for can be found on different platforms, Lean Library will take you to where you have direct access. >> test link
  • If the e-book you are looking for is offered by the BFH libraries, Lean Library will take you directly to the free download. >> test link
  • If you need a password to access a source, Lean Library will inform you accordingly. >> test link
  • If you wish to search the swisscovery library system using a specific search term, click on the desired search term with the right mouse button on any website and select "search@BFH".


Highlight and Search

Lean Library enables you to initiate a search on the swisscovery search platform from any website:

  • highlight one or more terms 
  • right-click with your mouse
  • choose “Search@BFH” in the drop-down menu
  • proceed to search in swisscovery

If you have any questions, please contact your BFH library.

Terms of use

1. Scope

The following terms of use apply to the following libraries of the BFH Library:  

  • Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering Library Biel/Bienne
  • AHB/TI Library Burgdorf
  • Health Library
  • HAFL Library
  • Swiss Literature Institute Library
  • Social Work Library
  • Engineering and Information Technology Library Biel/Bienne
  • Business Library
  • HKB Media Library
  • HKB Music Library

The EHSM Sport media Library HSM, Magglingen has its own terms of use. 
All these libraries are part of the Swiss Library Service Platform (SLSP) and accessible with search platform swisscovery, which is operated by SLSP.

2. User authorisation

The BFH Library provides information and literature for BFH students and employees. These are also available to other interested parties. Use of BFH libraries is free, although there are charges for specific services (see Fee table in FAQ about swisscovery).

3. Registration 

By registering, the user accepts the present terms of use.

Registration (free of charge) on the swisscovery research platform is required for borrowing media and using other services. Therefore, a SWITCH edu-ID account is necessary and may be created during the registration process if it does not already exist.

The users are responsible for ensuring that the personal details they provide are correct and up-to-date (see SLSP General Privacy Statement). They must update their personal details (such as address) themselves in their SWITCH edu-ID account. 

Employees of the BFH Library cannot make any changes to personal data.

The user can set the preferred address (home or work) in the swisscovery account and add or remove library cards: swisscovery – Library Card Management and Settings.

The library card is required for on-site borrowing. It is personal and therefor non-transferable. The library card may be purchased at any swisscovery library. BFH students and employees can use their BFHcard as a library card. Library cards issued by other swisscovery libraries are also recognised.

Further information: see User account section in FAQ about swisscovery.

4. Borrowing

Library items are generally available for borrowing. However, certain designated items can only be used on site. Special loan conditions may apply to individual media or media groups. A maximum of 100 items can be borrowed per user.

The standard loan period is 28 days for most media. Unless the borrowed item is requested elsewhere, it is automatically extended for a further loan period of 28 days (up to five times). The deadline is displayed in the swisscovery user account.

When the maximum loan period expires, the item must be returned. If the item has not been reserved, you can borrow it again from the lending desk.

Items should be returned prior to absences longer than the loan periods of the borrowed items (military service, holidays, study abroad etc.).

5. Courier service and postal delivery

Media can be ordered for collection at a charge from all BFH libraries participating in the SLSP Courier service. The terms of use of the supplying library apply. The University library pays the courier fees for BFH members, provided that the pick-up location is a BFH library. Requested media must picked-up within 6 library working days. Courier media that are not picket-up will be returned. The delivery fees must also be paid in the event of non-collection (see Borrowing + Courier section in FAQ about swisscovery).

For a fee, BFH libraries can send out items from their own inventories (see Costs section in FAQ about swisscovery).

6. Liability

Media should be handled with care, protected from damage and returned in an undamaged and complete condition. Notes and marks shall also be deemed to be damage. Any cost of repairs or replacement shall be assumed by the responsible party.

The user is fully liable for any damage or loss of borrowed documents. Existing damage or missing inserts (data carriers, cards, parts etc.) must be reported immediately, or at the latest upon the return of the material.

For damaged or lost media, the University library charges repair or replacement costs as well as handling fees (see Fee table in FAQ about swisscovery).

7. Costs

The user is responsible for adhering to loan periods. Reminders that are not received are not accepted as grounds for late returns. No correspondence will be entered into in this regard.

After the loan period has expired, an "Overdue items - Reminder" (free of charge) is sent from <>. Subsequent reminders are subject to a fee.

The third reminder also results in the blocking of the swisscovery user account. If the item is not returned it is entered as lost. The replacement costs and administrative fee are charged to the responsible party (see Fee Table in FAQ about swisscovery).

Overdue fees can be paid at the lending desk with TWINT if an invoice has not yet been issued.

8. Copyright issues and further use of media

Use of library media is governed by the Swiss copyright guidelines and is intended exclusively for personal use. Transfer to third parties and commercial use are prohibited.

Chamber music scores and scores for solo instrument with (piano) accompaniment may be given to third parties under the following conditions: The borrowing person is responsible for ensuring that all parts and possible supplements are returned on time, complete and in perfect condition (without annotations). If the music sheet or parts of it are returned too late or with annotations, the borrowing person is liable and will be charged the corresponding fees. Commercial use is also excluded.

Users are responsible for informing themselves about any copyright issues. The BFH declines all liability in the case of copyright infringement.

9. Using online resources and internet

For information about Conditions for access and use of online resources, see FAQ online resources.

Public workstations in the BFH libraries are primarily provided for information on online offerings and research for scientific, specialist, professional or educational purposes.

All users are required to observe legal provisions with regard to Internet use. With respect to liability, misuse and the consequences of misuse, we refer users to the Guidelines on the use of IT resources at BFH.

10. Conduct within the library

The conduct of users within the library areas must not impinge upon the rights of other persons, impact library operations or cause damage to equipment, facilities etc.

Users are obliged to comply with the instructions of library staff. Failure to do so can result in the user being asked to leave. Repeated or severe infringements of the terms of use can result in exclusion from library use.

[January 2022; updated Oktober 2022: cash payment of overdue fees no longer possible]