I first shared this with a colleague who remarked he thought the national library was in Frankfurt am Main. Well, he is not mistaken. The German National Library has two branches, one in Leipzig and a second in Frankfurt. The current institution traces its history to 1912 with the founding of the German Library (Deutsche Bücherei) in Leipzig. The division of Germany following World War II led to the establishment of the German Library in Frankfurt in 1946. Essentially, there were two German national libraries: one in East Germany and one in West Germany. With the reunification of the country in 1990, the institutions were merged but retained locations in both cities.
The mission of the library is to collect works published in Germany from 1913 to the present. Also collected are German-language works published outside of Germany, translations of German-language works, and foreign-language (non-German) titles about Germany.
For the non-researcher, members of the public may visit the German Museum of Books and Writing. Just prior to my visit to the library and museum, I had been photographing graffiti nearby. I found it appropriate that the museum featured a can of spray paint in its exhibition on “Signs – Books – Networks: From Cuneiform to Binary Code” which shows the many ways in which mankind has expressed itself or left its mark.