Registration and loan

What documents can I find in the NL?

The NL collects, lists and preserves "Helvetica" and makes it available to the public. Specifically, this term covers:

  • the whole literary and informational production published in Switzerland;
  • all publications published abroad, ancient and modern, dealing with Switzerland and its inhabitants;
  • works and translations of works

How do I get my user card?

To register, please fill out the online form and validate your registration by showing us an identity document or by sending us a copy by e-mail ( Persons between the ages of 15 and 18 and those not resident in Switzerland or Liechtenstein must present a statement of statement. This must be signed by an adult, domiciled in Switzerland or in Liechtenstein, who guarantees to pay for any damage done to documents. You can find the form on the website or at the loan desk in the library.

Can I borrow books from the NL with a BibliOpass card or a user card from another Swiss library?

Membership cards of NL partner libraries and BibliOpass are not automatically valid in the NL. However, you can use them to register by completing the online form and entering your existing user ID.

What kind of documents can I take home?

In principle, documents that were published less than 50 years ago may be borrowed for home use. The following documents may only be consulted in the reading rooms: newspapers and serials, popular journals, documents in the reading room reference collections, documents marled RES, audio, audiovisual and electronic media.

How do I order a document?

Most of the documents listed in Helveticat can be ordered online, except some of the older collections. In this case, write down the call number on an order form and bring it to the loan desk.

There are some documents that are not yet listed in Helveticat. They are mostly periodicals and company publications that have ceased publication. They are listed in the card catalogues in the information room. To order them you must also fill out a loan form.

How many documents can I borrow, and for how long?

You can borrow a maximum of 50 books at the same time. The loan period is 28 days. You can extend the loan period for a document up to five times, unless it has been reserved by another user. You should then return it at the end of the loan period.

How do I extend the loan period?

You can extend your loan period from your account file "My account", which is located on the Helveticat catalogue home page and accessed by entering your user number and password.

Can I reserve documents that are out on loan?

You can reserve documents that are currently on loan to another user or are still in processing via Helveticat. We will notify you by e-mail, text message or post as soon as the books are available. The procedure for reserving documents is the same as for ordering them.
Books that have only been provisionally recorded and do not yet have an item cannot be reserved.

How can I obtain a new publication that has been catalogued in Helveticat but is not yet available for loan?

You can request express processing for new publications catalogued in Helveticat that have the availability status "in process", For further information, please contact the staff in the information room.

Can I order books that are not in the NL?

The NL can order books for you from other libraries in Switzerland and abroad if you are a registered user. A charge is made for this service.

What does the “pending” status in the patron access mean?

You can collect documents from the loan desk 30 minutes after you order them, they will be held for 7 days. Orders placed after 5pm are processed on the next business day. The books will be shown as "pending" in your account until you have collected them. The documents will then be booked to your account and given the status "checked out".

Can I order documents without being registered?

If you are not a registered user, you can use a visitor card to order documents for consultation in the reading room. You will be required to deposit a valid official identity document.

Can I have books sent to me?

If you live outside the City of Bern area, you can have the books you have ordered sent to you by post. You can select this option when ordering the documents in the online catalogue Helveticat. You will be required to pay the postal charges for the return of the books.