Whether it's fiction, biography, science or a language trainer, one of the city's 258 libraries will likely have whatever book you're looking for, not to mention plenty of music, films and TV series.
The most common libraries are called 'Bücherhallen' (lit. 'book halls'), where members pay an annual fee, depending on age. The central library is located at Hühnerposten close to the central train station. But there is a Bücherhalle in almost every district: find the one closest to you (in German).
You can also use the digital library of Bücherhallen to download e-books, e-papers, music, etc. in seven different languages. You’ll be happily surprised by the large amount of foreign-language media, especially English. You can also download the app for mobile devices.
State and University Library
A great option for those who are interested in specific topics or academic research, is the Hamburg State and University Library Carl von Ossietzky (abbreviated as 'Stabi') located opposite Dammtor station. You don’t need to be a student or university employee: everybody is welcome to borrow books and use the digital information resources, and at only €20 per year, the membership fee is quite reasonable.
On this website (in German), you can find a map and a list of all libraries in Hamburg that specialise in academic or professional topics. Access for non-students and non-employees varies per library.
Visually impaired people
Hamburg also offers a library for the visually impaired with plenty of audio books and books in Braille. However, their collection is currently only available in German. The service is free of charge (donations appreciated).
Library of Commerce
If you're looking for business-related books, the library of the Chamber of Commerce might be of interest to you. The Library of Commerce is one of the oldest business libraries in Germany. It offers information on economic and social sciences, tax and business law, education and vocational training. Statistics and annual reports can be found in this unique library as well. You can also subscribe to more than 350 newspapers and periodicals.