The Kunstmuseum Basel’s library doubles as the library of the University of Basel’s Department of Art History. It is also open to all readers interested in art.

Its holdings encompass ca. 160,000 works. Foci of the collection include literature on the history of painting, drawing, and sculpture from the late Middle Ages to the present with a special emphasis on fifteenth- and sixteenth-century art from Germany and the Upper Rhine region, as well as monographs on individual artists and literature on the methodology of the study of art and theories of art and visual culture.

In its 160-year history, the library has also accumulated a significant collection of historic books. Ca. 200 journals and yearbooks keep readers up to date on the contemporary arts scene and recent art scholarship; the most important periodicals are available in the reading room.