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    The main reading room of Vienna University

    As Ferstel created it

    The main reading room of the library, completed by architect Heinrich von Ferstel in 1884, has, to a great extent, retained its original appearance. The space was conceived as a single nave with columns.

    The use of daylight from the generous glass ceiling is particularly striking. The pilasters on the windowless walls create separate niches in which the bookshelves form a gallery going all the way around.

    The main reading room of Vienna University has over 350 seats and a reference inventory of around 60,000 volumes. The books are ordered according to department and include lexica, glossaries, faculty bibliographies, teaching books, texts, collected critical works and handbooks.

    The books are for reference only and are not to be removed from the library.

    By the way, between 1945 and 1947 the floor was raised two and a half metres. In this way storage was created for 80,000 volumes – at the cost of the original impression of the room with its once extremely high ceiling. The columns still betray this renovation – they appear to be sunk in the floor.