HKB Music Library

HKB’s Music Library is a specialised academic library for musicians. It is open to the students, lecturers and staff of the Music Division of Bern University of the Arts as well as all other interested individuals. The Music Library is a customer-focused service provider. Most of its media are indexed in the catalogue of the IDS Basel/Bern. All sheet music is listed in the sheet music catalogue.

Reduced opening hours from Monday, October 26, 2020

Monday – Friday: 12.30pm – 6pm

The reading room remains closed, open access to the collections in the open access area.

Winter closure

24.12.2020 – 10.1.2021

The library


The HKB Music Library has the largest collection of musical scores in the Canton of Bern. It owns about 55,000 printed scores for all instruments and instrumentations (including a good number of full orchestral performance sets), 15,000 books on musical topics, 16,000 CDs/DVDs, 1,000 Rara, and 38 current periodicals.
The collection is mainly oriented towards the needs of the Music Faculty, with an emphasis on performance and interpretation practices of the 19th and early 20th centuries: Urtext editions, contemporary music and guides to repertoire as well as research works.

Important information

The HKB Music Library is working on an open-stack area for books. As this project requires a large amount of space, all journals (except the current year’s volume) are stored in our offsite stacks. You can order them as per usual, but please expect a delivery time of several days.
We apologise for the inconvenience.

Depositum ForumMusikDiversität (FMD)

The ForumMusikDiversität Schweiz (FMD) was established in 2012 by members of the FrauenMusikForum (FMF), which dates back to 1982 and the era of second-wave feminism.

FMD is a competence centre for music, gender and diversity. Its stated purpose is to facilitate the transfer of knowledge in its subject areas.

The centrepiece of the association – its collection of sheet music, books and CDs – has been deposited with the Music Library of Bern University of the Arts since 2007.

The collection focuses on compositions by Swiss female composers, songs by female composers, Miriam Marbe and monographic concerts of the FMF (Mel Bonis, Bernese female composers, Dora Pejacevic, Louise Farrenc, Caroline Charrière, Iris Szeghy, Jacqueline Fontyn).

Future plans include the completion of the holdings from the nineteenth to twenty-first century and an increased focus on genres for large orchestras.

All media have been indexed in full at the IDS Basel/Bern.

Books are indexed on the basis of the Subject Headings Authority File (SWD).

The accession system for the sheet music holdings is based on volume and instrumentation.

You can use their classmarks as search terms.

Display all sheet music, CDs or books held by the FMD.

FMD books can be borrowed at the library or ordered for postal delivery (for a fee). CDs can be borrowed but are not available for postal delivery. Musical materials are reference works for consultation in the reading room only. They are not available for loan. You can order photocopies of printed works within the scope permitted by copyright law. (Cost: see Fees and fines.)

The collections of the FMD are protected by copyright law. If you wish to use reproductions of images or sheet music from the FMD collection for a publication, please contact the FMD at Cite the title, purpose and print run of the publication and the size of the image. Thank you!

The FMD is grateful to the Bern Lottery Fund for its financial support and to the Mariann Steegmann Foundation for its long-standing generosity towards the collection work of the FMD.

The holdings of the former church music library of the Reformed Churches of Bern-Jura-Solothurn were transferred to HKB in 2002. The collection is growing continuously.

Its books and organ sheet music are fully indexed in the IDS Basel/Bern union catalogue.

You can also search them in the HKB sheet music catalogue. The sheet music can also be queried via the HKB sheet music catalogue. The holdings of the KMB are available for loan.

To search the stock of the church music library only, enter the classmark ‘KMB’ when doing a keyword search.

Rare holdings (autographs, manuscripts, old prints from the 18th/19th century) are indexed in the card catalogue.

The estates of the Swiss composers Richard Sturzenegger (1905–1976), Adolf Reichel (1816–1896) and Hans Studer (1911–1984) are indexed in the database of RISM Switzerland (Rêpertoire International des Sources Musicales).

Estates and rarities are not available for loan. They can be consulted in the reading room. They are stored externally and must be ordered one week in advance.

Borrowing + Research

Most of its media are indexed in the catalogue of the IDS Basel/Bern. All sheet music is listed in the sheet music catalogue.

All individuals with a valid IDS library ID can borrow media.

To get a library ID, simply bring a valid picture ID to the HKB Music Library.

Please complete the online form before your visit.

Your BFH card can be activated as a library ID.

The IDS library card is valid for more than 600 Swiss libraries (cantonal and university libraries as well as the Swiss National Library).

Loan period for sheet music and books

Set loan period of 28 days.

Loan period for CDs and DVDs

Set loan period of 14 days.

Failure to return media on time will incur a fine (see our conditions of use:

Fees and fines).

Inter-library loans

If you would like to borrow a medium from the library of the City of Basel Music Academy, from another library that is not a member of the IDS (non-German-language libraries, National Library) or from a library outside of Switzerland, please use the link below for your order.

You will have to pick up the ordered media from your chosen library.

Please note that postage fees apply for each ordered medium.

New Library Catalogue from December 2020

The BFH libraries, which are currently split across two separate library networks (NEBIS and IDS Basel Bern), will be merged on a new platform together with over 500 other libraries. The GoLive of the new, nationwide library system is scheduled for December 2020.

The project to build the Swiss Library Service Platform (SLSP), which has been running for several years, will not merely unite the BFH libraries on one platform.  At the same time, over 500 university libraries and other scientific libraries across the nation will be migrated to the new SLSP platform. The GoLive is scheduled for 7 December 2020. The changeover will lead to the following adjustments for users.

New catalogue and new search interface

The majority of BFH libraries today are part of the NEBIS network – their users will find that the new SLSP search interface looks familiar. For users of the HKB Music Library and the Sports Media Centre at Magglingen the changes will be greater. The libraries will provide all users with appropriate information and support.

Login with edu-ID

The changeover requires all library uses to re-register. 

  • No more separate login
  • Users log in with their Switch edu-ID, which they either already have or which they set up before registration.
  • Registration will be possible before the changeover in December.
  • Existing library cards remain valid. The barcodes can be entered in the new system.

Data in the Netherlands

The data of library uses will be stored on a server in the Netherland. Therefore, the authorisation for the transfer of the necessary personal data will be required at the time of registration.

SLSP courier

Up to now only the libraries in the NEBIS network were able to offer users the possibility to order media from other libraries and collect them from their own. The HKB Music Library and the Sports Media Centre at Magglingen are pleased to offer this service as well from December 2020.

For external users this service will be subject to a fee whereas for members of BFH the costs will be covered by the BFH libraries

Replacement of the old library system

The replacement of the old library system will take place in stages. Borrowing media will probably be possible until a few days before the GoLive in December. Other processes such as recording and modifying catalogue data will be stopped by late October, and new media cannot be incorporated after that. The NEBIS lending network will probably discontinue its service by mid-November. From then on, orders can only be placed for collection on site or by postal dispatch (if offered). Reserving media on loan will no longer be possible.

The BFH libraries will inform you in due course about the further procedure and about any steps you will be required to take.

HKB sheet music catalogue

The entire collection of sheet music held in the HKB Music Library is indexed in a separate sheet music catalogue. It can only be searched integrally using systematic criteria.

IDS Basel/Bern (other media)

The IDS Basel/Bern union catalogue indexes all books, CDs/DVDs and journals (plus nearly 90% of all sheet music holdings) of the HKB Music Library. It also lists the holdings of around 160 other university libraries in Bern and Basel.
To search the stock of the HKB Music Library only, enter the library code ‘BEMU’ when doing a keyword search.
To search for specific types of media, add the material ID ‘Noten’ (for sheet music), ‘Ton’ (for audio), ‘Filmmaterial’ (video) or ‘Zeitschrift’ (journals).
To search for books only, additionally enter ‘not Noten not Ton’.
An introductory guide to searching for music and audio media in the IDS Basel/Bern: Finding various musical editions of a specific work, for a specific genre and/or a specific instrumentation.

Swissbib (Switzerland)

Swissbib allows you to carry out a central search in the library catalogues of all Swiss universities, universities of applied sciences and the Swiss National Library.
With swissbib, you can search materials and display results. Swissbib also tells you which libraries hold the found materials. You can then place your order directly at the libraries.

KVK (Europe/world)

The Karlsruher Virtuelle Katalog allows you to search German, Austrian, Swiss and other international online catalogues of libraries, bookshops and antiquarian bookshops with a single search engine.


The Music Library gives you access to various databases.

Some of them require a licence.

You can only access them from the HKB campus or via a VPN.

The traffic light code indicates whether you can access a database for free from anywhere or whether it requires a licence:

Green: free databases, orange: licensed databases.

The pre-selected setting is the search for musical journals.


The universities of applied sciences have access to several eBook collections through the Consortium.

All staff and students of the universities of applied sciences have free, on-campus access to these eBooks.

Members of Bern University of Applied Sciences are free to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access the databases externally.

eBooks bought individually by the BFH libraries can be found in the corresponding online catalogues.


Certain eBooks can be accessed from the specialist databases.

(see e.g. Oxford Music Online)

Specialist databases

The universities of applied sciences have licensed around 60 databases for their various divisions through the Consortium of Swiss Academic Libraries. All staff and students of the universities of applied sciences have free, on-campus access to these databases. Members of Bern University of Applied Sciences are free to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access the databases externally.

The pre-selected setting is the search for music and theatre databases.

Library account

In your library account, you can view your loans and reservations, manually renew your loans and update your address details in the IDS Basel/Bern.

You need your ID number and password to log into your library account

Your ID number is located underneath the bar code on your library card. Your standard password consists of the first five letters of your surname.

You can change your password in your online library account.

To prevent breaches of your library account, we recommend that you create a new password as soon as you receive your library card.

To register for the first time, you will need to come to an IDS library in person (please bring your national ID).

Online registrations are not sufficient for postal orders.

Fees + Fines

IDS registration

Initial registration

free of charge

Replacement ID


Overdue notices

Recall (due to a reservation)


Reminder (after the loan period)


1st overdue notice (after 5 working days)

CHF 10

2nd overdue notice (after another 5 days)

CHF 20

3rd overdue notice (after another 5 days)

CHF 35

Postal loans (outgoing only, per document)

Postal delivery within CH

CHF 12

Ordering copies/scans from the library

Basic service charge


Per scan

CHF 0.50

Fines for lost media

Replacement cost + any bookbinding expenses