General Collection Reading Rooms

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Among the General Collection Readings Rooms, the General Reading Room, the Central Information Desk and the Microfilm Reading Room are available. In addition, readers can now use the computers located in the catalogue room. Registered readers can also access the WiFi service using their own devices. 


We kindly draw our readers' attention to the fact that the documents of National Széchényi Library can be used only on the premises of the Library. Due to being a national library, NSZL does not operate as a lending library.

General Collection of National Széchényi Library is available for readers in the General Collections Reading Rooms, on Floor 7 of NSZL. This collection includes books published in the territory of all-time Hungary since 1712 and abroad since 1601, the entire collection of the Library’s newspapers and journals (both in the original and microfilm formats) as well as electronic documents acquired by NSZL as legal deposit.

Following compulsory registration (See also Registering for a Reader Pass), General Collection Reading Rooms can be approached by stairs or elevators, passing, as a first station, the catalogue space and the Book Issue Station. Between the various Reading Rooms, the catalogue space and the Copying Service, you are allowed to move NSZL documents freely.

Staff on duty at the Department of Information Services will help you to use both card and online catalogues or to ask for a document from the repository. See also How to use the Library or Information services.

In addition to its tasks of a national library, National Széchényi Library also operates as a special library focusing on history and literature sciences. That explains why NSZL has separate reading rooms for literature and history sciences. NSZL’s General Collection Reading Rooms have a number of seats equipped with a computer. At such seats, our readers are provided with the possibility of using databases compiled from the stock of the Library and digitized volumes on site. Databases include EBSCO, Press Database of MTI (Hungarian News Agency), PressDok, NAVA, etc. See also IT support.

General Reading Room

The spacious General Reading Room is partly illuminated by natural light and contains 160 reader seats. On its free bookshelves, there are some 40,000 volumes including documents on the humanities. Reference Library materials are arranged in the order of ETO (Hungarian abbreviation for ‘Universal Decimal Classification’). See also Order of arrangement in General Reading Room. The following databases are available: EBSCO and World Biographical Information System (WBIS) Online. Librarian on duty in General Reading Room provides both professional and technical help, in case users want to search in various registers or in documents stored on the bookshelves of the Reading Room.We have placed clusters of comfortable armchairs and nice glass tables in the middle section of our General Reading Room. Also, we would like to provide extra space for group learning by putting together two rows of desks. In this section of the Reading Room, visitors are allowed to talk in a low voice.

Periodicals Reading Room

NSZL’s Periodicals Reading Room has 30 reader seats and it serves users with original journals and newspapers asked for from the repository (the word ‘original’ meaning periodicals in non-microfilm or non-digitized formats). On the shelves of Periodicals Reading Room, current and bound journals, newspapers can be found: all in all, a 250-title collection (some 6,000 volumes). This is where Hungarian and international works on the history of press, press bibliographies and repertories can be found. Altogether 14 PCs are available for readers.

Microfilm Reading Room

In Microfilm Reading Room, users can take a look at newspapers, journals and obituaries in a microfilm format. These documents have been converted into microfilm format for several decades because of preservation precaution and have been stored mainly in the repository. However, the most frequently wanted items can be found on free shelves in NSZL’s Microfilm Reading Room.


  • 24 microfilm readers;
  • Scanning from microfilm on 3 machines;
  • Copying digitized images on CD or DVD;
  • Printing in A/4 and A/3 formats.

Library staff is more than happy to help readers with the use of microfilms and also, to a limited extent, with the copying of microfilms.

History Science Reading Room

This reading room has 60 reader seats and undisturbed work is guaranteed by 14 PCs equipped with Internet access.

NSZL’s History Science Reading Room has a very rich collection of documents. There are some 15,000 volumes on its free shelves, the bulk of which are Hungarian and universal source publications, concise and period historical monographs as well as works on local history, genealogy, church history and cultural history.

The arrangement of books in History Science Reading Room is made partly on the basis of the various periods of history and partly on the basis of the different angles of research into history (such as history of economy or cultural history, etc.)

See also Order of arrangement in History Science Reading Room (in Hungarian). Research fellows, students and other users are provided with continuous special information service.

Literature Science Reading Room

This special reading room features 30 reader seats. Literature Science Reading Room’s stock of 15,000 volumes includes reference books on literature science (literary theory, genre typology and genre theory) and books on the history of literature (concise works, period monographs, analyses of the works of a given author, etc.). This collection also includes works as well as critical editions of major representatives of the Hungarian literature and the best works in world literature, frequently in the original language. See also Order of arrangement in Literature Science Reading Room (in Hungarian).

Literature Science Reading Room has 8 reader seats equipped with professional, Internet-enabled PCs. For research fellows, National Széchényi Library provides special research seats and a staff on duty who helps with answering any question related to the given branch of science. Research work is also supported by literary databases which are not available on other terminals.

Reference Library

In this room, there is a central information service with 12 (unnumbered) reader seats. NSZL’s Reference Library comprises 10,000 volumes, primarily the major Hungarian and international reference books: general and special encyclopedias, thesauruses, dictionaries, bibliographies, a collection of biographic sources and repositories. All these are completed by various Internet-based sources, databases and guides made available on a dedicated network. Reference Library offers a constant information service staff working in shifts. Staff on duty gives information for readers either in person, on the phone or on Skype. See also Information services.

Related contents: 
General Collections