The Library houses 150,000 printed works, about half of which contain a direct reference to Salzburg or connection to the collecting spheres of the Salzburg Museum. Furthermore, around 5,000 works date back to before 1780. The holdings also include historical literature on Protestantism, Paracelsus research, and travel in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Pedagogical and educational works were also collected, as they still are. All daily newspapers appearing in Salzburg are available in bound form for visitors to read. An extensive section is devoted to specialist magazines and periodicals for the individual collections: archaeology, photography, graphics, the fine and applied arts, musical instruments, restoration, folklore and historical weaponry. More than 3,500 different magazines are listed, and around 300 are regularly collected. Also a useful aid for research on Salzburg newspaper articles between 1863 and 1935 is the so-called Schweinbach card index.
Besides gifts and occasional purchases, the holdings were greatly augmented – and still are today – by the exchange of museum catalogues and periodicals from more than 350 European partners cooperating in the permanent exchange of written material.
Only a small part of the Library collections is presented in the diverse exhibitions in the Neue Residenz. The reference library puts the total inventory of the Library at the disposal of researchers and the interested public in the reading room for purposes of study.
The Library also houses the Museum’s own archive, including all correspondence since 1882. The archive documents donated by earlier generations of Museum members or transferred by the Municipality of Salzburg to the Museum archive were assigned in 1994 to the newly founded archive of the City of Salzburg and the Salzburg Landesarchiv.