PBZ in short

PBZ in short (PDF)

Welcome to PBZ, the public library service in Zurich with a collection spanning over half a million items. To become a member, simply fill out a registration form (Anmeldeformular) either at the library or online at www.pbz.ch/abo.

All important information about the library service – including available media, loan periods and fees – can be found in this brochure. Current news, events and holiday opening hours are posted on our website www.pbz.ch.

If you have any questions, our team of staff will be pleased to assist you at the library. You can also contact us by email at any time: info@pbz.ch.

We wish you many hours of enjoyment and exciting discoveries at the 14 PBZ libraries located in the city of Zurich.

Books and media

Over half a million different items are available for you to load, download or use at our 14 libraries. Our collection consists of fiction and non-fiction, e-books, films, music CDs, comics, magazines, documentaries, toys and games, maps, language courses, newspapers and e-papers, news magazines, sheet music and knowledge databases. If a particular item is missing from our collection that you would like to borrow, you can make a purchase request. Please use the form «Medienwunsch» in the library or on our website.

In addition to our German collection, we also have items in eleven other languages. An overview of our foreign language collection can be found at www.pbz.ch/angebot.

Around 600 events take place at PBZ every year. In addition to selected events for adults, we also offer numerous children’s events, for example activities as part of our Family Literacy project. Our KinderTREFF event series incorporates the Switzerland-wide Buchstart (Bookstart) programme to promote early language development. All current and upcoming events are listed in our event calendar at www.pbz.ch/events. Events in the KinderTREFF series are also published in a booklet every August which is available in our PBZ libraries.

The following services and facilities are also available for you to use at most of our locations:

  • Reading areas with newspapers and magazines
  • Desks, Internet workstations, photocopiers
  • Children’s chairs, armchairs and sofas
  • Soft toys
  • Wifi

Subscriptions and prices

Children and young people up to the age of 16Max. 25 items at the same time* + e-media**free
Annual card plusMax. 50 items at the same time + e-media**CHF 95
Annual cardMax. 25 items at the same time + e-media**CHF 70
Annual card for school pupils, students, trainees and interns up to the age of 25Max. 25 items at the same time + e-media**CHF 40
Annual card for the unemployed, recipients of Swiss disability insurance (IV), KulturLegi card holdersMax. 25 items at the same time + e-media**CHF 40
Mini annual cardMax. 2 items at the same time + e-media**CHF 50
Mini annual card with KulturLegi card, N permit, F permit or S permitMax. 2 items at the same time + e-media**free
One-month cardCHF 15
Individual loanCHF 5
Annual card for e-mediae-media**CHF 40
Take-away booksCHF 3 / item
Replacement card (due to los or damage)CHF 5
ReservationCHF 3/ item
Incomplete return (written notification)CHF 3

* only age-appropriate items
**  max. 8 e-media items per platform, see www.pbz.ch/e-medien

Our services


You can register in one of the 14 PBZ libraries. Alternatively, you can register from the comfort of your own home at www.pbz.ch/mitglied-werden and pay the fee by credit card. You will then have immediate access to our
digital services (except for the Mini Annual Card and the Monthly Card).
Upon purchasing an annual card, all persons from the age of 16 automatically become a member of the library association and may participate in the Annual General Meeting. The association's statutes and further information can be found at www.pbz.ch/verein.

Library card 

You must show your library card every time you wish to borrow an item. It is your personal library card and cannot be used by anyone else – not even by family members or other people in your household. Please let us know immediately if you have lost your library card. We will gladly issue you with a replacement card for CHF 5.


You can browse the entire collection of PBZ from the comfort of your home and reserve any items that are unavailable. The catalogue is available online or via the app (www.pbz.ch/app).

Loan period   

The loan period is generally four weeks and for e-books three weeks. The library card for children and young people can only be used for borrowing age-appropriate items.


Items that are currently on loan can be reserved for a fee of CHF 3 per item. You will be notified when the reserved item is available and it must be collected within ten days of notification. Items that are not in the collection of your local library can be ordered from another PBZ library.

Renewing items 

Borrowed items can normally be renewed twice for the same the loan period. It is not possible to extend the loan period for the following items: new fiction books, e-books and reserved items. You can extend a loan in the library, by phone, via the app or online at www.pbz.ch – but not by email.

Returning items 

Items must be returned at the latest on the last day of the loan period. You can return items to any PBZ library. If you have given us your email address, you will receive a free email reminder before expiry of the loan period. In the PBZ app you can also set up automatic reminders for yourself.

Drop-off facility 

If you drop off items outside of opening hours, the next day when the library is open will be counted as the return date. Please therefore allow sufficient time for public holidays and library closing days. The risk of loss or damage remains with you until we have registered the returned item.

Overdue items and fines 

If you exceed the loan period, you will be sent a reminder and charged a fine. If you have been sent three reminders and still fail to return the item, you will be additionally charged the costs for purchasing a replacement. A list of fines can be found at www.pbz.ch/agb. If you give us your email address, you will receive a free email reminder before expiry of the loan period. In the PBZ app you can also set up automatic reminders for yourself.


You are responsible for the items you borrow and parents are also responsible for items borrowed by their children. In case of damage or loss, you will be charged the costs for repair or replacement as well as administrative fees. Please do not try to provide us with replacement copies. We will purchase any replacements required.


PBZ excludes liability to the fullest extent permitted by law and in particular excludes any liability for damage caused by borrowed audio, visual or data media. Furthermore, PBZ does not accept any responsibility for the supervision of minors during regular library opening hours or at events. Please also see the General Terms and Conditions on our website: www.pbz.ch/agb.

Your library account

Accessing your account online 

Go to our website and click on «Mein Konto». Log in to your account using the number on your library card and the six-digit password.

What you can do with your library account

  • List all borrowed items with due date
  • View all open reservations and items available for collection
  • Renew borrowed items
  • Enter an email address for notifications by email
  • Change your password
  • Pay any outstanding fees online by credit card

Validity of your membership     

Please remember to check the validity of your membership in your library account. If it expires, all borrowed items will be due for return on that day. Make sure you renew your membership in plenty of time or return any borrowed items to the library by the expiry date of your membership at the latest.

PBZ app 

Your virtual library: Catalogue search, account management and event calendar. For further information: www.pbz.ch/pbz-app.

Digital library

Our full range of services is available at  www.pbz.ch/emedien

Our e-media collection includes digital books, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines as well as access to a variety of knowledge databases. Access is available to all holders of an Annual Card Plus, Annual Card or Annual card for e-media. Children and young people can access Onleihe Junior and the databases.

A complete overview of our digital services can be found at www.biblio24.ch. You can read and/or listen to digital media on your e-reader, tablet, smartphone or computer.

The loan period for e-media is up to 21 days for e-books and e-audios, one day for magazines and one hour for newspapers. You can borrow a maximum of 8 e-media items per platform at one time and make a maximum of eight reservations. A reservation is exclusively reserved for you to download 72 hours from when it is available – after that the reservation expires.

There are no reservation fees or fines for Onleihe items. Your Onleihe account is also independent from your PBZ library account.

Support and training

In several PBZ libraries we offer support counters for short support sessions on every weekday. Sign up for a free training session if you feel uncertain about how to use digital media. Full details can be found on our website www.pbz.ch/e-medien.

The following services are available to you and most are also available as individual apps:


The digital service encompasses e-books, e-audios (audiobooks) and e-papers (magazines and newspapers) in German for adults. The main focus of the e-book collection is fiction, other subject areas are travel books and guidebooks on various topics. Multiple copies are available of all books and there are at least 20 copies of bestsellers. Use the Onleihe app on your smartphone or tablet.

Onleihe Junior 

The digital service for children and young people consists of e-books, audiobooks and magazines in German.


The collection mainly contains fiction and e-audios in English.


More than 5,000 e-books in French for adults, young people and children


Over 7,000 newspapers and magazines from all over the world and in various languages.


The knowledge portal for biographies, country information and lexical facts. It also contains film reviews, Kindler’s Literatur Lexikon and other content.

Brockhaus and Brockhaus Junior   

The well-known encyclopaedia contains thousands of articles on a wide range of topics, dictionaries and a childrens encylopaedia.

Support PBZ

Buy a library card and become a member! 

When you buy a library card, you will automatically become a member of PBZ and can access our full collection and services. You are also making an important contribution to maintaining and developing PBZ. An overview of subscription prices can be found on page 5.

PBZ needs additional funding   

PBZ is funded by subsidies from the city and library fees. It is only through additional support that we are able to extend our media collection and offer projects and services beyond the standard scope. As well as over 130 children's events and numerous other initiatives, this also includes the facility to return borrowed items to any PBZ library.

We would be delighted if you would like to contribute to a fund-raising collection at an event or make a donation to our account:
IBAN: CH54 0900 0000 8000 2248 5. You can also help us by making a donation to the support association of PBZ Pestalozzi-Bibliothek Zürich or by becoming a member of this association.

Support association of PBZ   

The support association of PBZ helps to improve the services offered by the 14 public libraries in Zurich.

Private member: CHF 90
Private sponsor: from CHF 200
Membership for couples: from CHF 150
Company member: CHF 250
Company sponsor: from CHF 500
Donation: Any amount

For bank transfers please use the Credit-Suisse account of the support association of PBZ: IBAN CH53 0900 0000 8002 9226 0.

Membership fees and donations are tax deductible.

Thank you for your support!