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.

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

Approximately half a million items are available for loan or for reference 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 «Anschaffungswunsch» 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.

Over 300 events take place every year at our PBZ libraries. As well as selected events for adults, we also offer numerous events for children as part of our KinderTREFF series and the projects Family Literacy and Buchstart. A complete list of upcoming events can be found in our event calendar at www.pbz.ch/veranstaltungen. Events for children are also advertised in a special booklet published in August which is available in all 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                 Max. 25 items           free

up to the age of 16                             at the same time

                                                         + e-media*


Annual card plus                                Max. 50 items          CHF 90               

                                                         at the same time

                                                         + e-media*


Annual card                                       Max. 25 items           CHF 65               

                                                         at the same time

                                                         + e-media*


Annual card for school pupils,             Max. 25 items           CHF 40

students, trainees and interns             at the same time

up to the age of 25                             + e-media*            


Annual card for the unemployed,         Max. 25 items           CHF 40

recipients of Swiss disability                at the same time

insurance (IV), KulturLegi card            + e-media*



Mini annual card                                Max. 2 items             CHF 40

                                                         at the same time


Mini annual card with KulturLegi         Max. 2 items              free

card and N permit or F permit             at the same time


One-month card                                                                 CHF 15


Individual loan                                                                   CHF 5


Onleihe Card                                     e-media*                   CHF 30


Take-away books                                                               CHF 3 / item


Replacement card (due to loss or                                       CHF 5



Reservations                                                                     CHF 3 / item


Incomplete return                                                               CHF 3

(written notification)                                                              



*  max. 8 e-media items per platform,

   see www.pbz.ch/e-medien


Our services

Library association membership

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. To view the catalogue, go to www.pbz.ch.

Loan period                                 

The loan period is generally four weeks; for e-books three weeks and for films one week.


You can reserve items that are currently unavailable 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 renew items in the library, by telephone or online at www.pbz.ch. However, items cannot be renewed 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.

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.


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                                

Use the PBZ app to access your library account and search for items whenever you want. The app also features a reminder function. For further information: www.pbz.ch/pbz-app.


Digital library

E-media collection                              

Our e-media collection includes digital books, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines as well as access to a variety of knowledge databases. It can be accessed by adults, children and young people (only Onleihe Junior) with a PBZ annual card. 

The Onleihe digital service is available at www.biblio24.ch

To borrow e-media, go to www.biblio24.ch and log in using the number on your PBZ library card and your six-digit password. You can read and/or listen to digital media on your e-reader, tablet, smartphone or computer. For details of how to transfer e-media to different devices, please see the instructions at www.bibnetz-onleihe.ch under «Hilfe». A list of all compatible e-readers can also be found here. 

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 (apart from the PressReader). 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 separate from your PBZ library account. If you have an annual card or annual card plus, you can borrow e-media items in addition to the physical items at a PBZ library.

The following services are available:


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 and e-audios in German.  The complete collection can also be used with the Onleihe app (select the library «Pestalozzi Bibliothek Zürich Junior»).


Digital media in English. The collection mainly contains fiction and e-audios for native English speakers (not easy reading texts). Use the Overdrive app or the intuitive Libby app on your smartphone or tablet.


Over 6,000 newspapers and magazines in various languages such as German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Russian and Swedish. Unlike the Onleihe service, these items are not borrowed but remain permanently saved.  Use the PressReader app on your smartphone or tablet.

Brockhaus and Brockhaus Junior                                

The well-known encyclopaedia for adults, children and young people contains thousands of articles on a wide range of topics. You also have access to the Harenberg Kulturführer (a reference work for opera, drama and novels), an overview of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 100 masterpieces (general education in the area of fine art on the basis of 100 masterpieces) and the human body in 3D (interactive model). Use the Brockhaus app on your smartphone or tablet.


The knowledge portal for biographies, country information and lexical facts. It also contains current news and film reviews, Kindlers Literatur Lexikon and the KLG/KLfG, the critical lexicon of contemporary German literature and contemporary literature in other languages.


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 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!


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