The Central Library which since 2002 has included the previously independent libraries of the Vienna Higher Regional Court of Appeal and the Vienna Regional Court for Civil Matters, comprises over 140,000 volumes, requiring ever-increasing amounts of space. These needs were addressed in the course of recent general renovations to the Palace of Justice, when the library area was relocated, and an underground book repository was constructed.
A Reading Bridge was built over four columns in the courtyard of the Palace of Justice. It serves as a reading area and open access library, with approx. 1000 m of book storage space. The reading area is located along the glass-fronted outer wall, which creates a ‘link’ to the outside world, and provides an excellent source of natural light. A basement was constructed underneath the courtyard, and a book repository was created below the Reading Bridge, providing a further 5000 m of mobile bookshelves. The Reading Bridge is connected to the old Palace of Justice building by four glass bridges.
One accesses the library today by passing directly from the main hall through a reception area, with exhibition areas and the historic library. Adjacent to the reception area on one side, there is a work room for the library staff, and on the other side, there is a reading room for lawyers.