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Wednesday 6, September

Is Berlin about to build a huge new library on Friedrichstraße?

It might cost one billion euros, but Berlin's culture senator thinks a new central library could be a "once-in-a-century" opportunity.

Is Berlin about to get a large scale new library? Photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Wednesday 6, September

Berlin to transform Galeries Lafayette into a huge new library?

Has Berlin actually had a good idea? The plans certainly sound ambitious: a new super-library located in the high-end department store Galeries Lafayette, which would function as an “urban living room” for the whole city. What’s more, it has key support from Berlin’s new government with Culture Senator Joe Chialo (CDU) calling it a “once-in-a-century opportunity”.

The idea emerged from ongoing discussions around the future of the Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek, or America Memorial Library in Kreuzberg. An expansion of that location to include part of Berlin’s Central and State Library (ZLB) had already been decided upon, but no further arrangements were included in the new government’s coalition agreement, leaving the idea somewhat in limbo. This plan would mean housing the Central and State Library on Friedrichstraße instead. But is it really possible?

Reports in recent days have estimated the cost of such a project at being somewhere between 600 million and one billion euros. Whether or not those figures are totally accurate, there is no question that it would be costly.