The library collection comprises literature from, and on, East and Southeast Europe covering the fields of social science and the humanities. In coordination with the Institute's research activities, the focus is placed on the economy, politics, society and culture of all countries and regions of Eastern Europe.

The library collection consists of a total of 330,000 media items, including around 800 current journals and 8,300 maps.

Beside the collections of periodicals and maps, the library possesses, first and foremost, outstanding collections of statistics, historical newspapers and journals, statute books, school programs as well as literature on migration, integration and minorities in Eastern Europe. The aim is to digitize these special collections step by step, thereby making them available online to the academic community.

The library collection includes bequests from the historians and scholars Erik Amburger (1907–2001), Irene Grüning (1900–1955), Gerasimos Kaklamanis (1940–2003), Hans Koch (1894–1959), Carl Patsch (1865–1945), Franz von Scheiger (1891–1960) and Fritz Valjavec (1909–1960).

Among the library's rarities are the Russian book of statute ‟Polnoe Sobranie Zakonov Rossijskoj Imperii" and an extensive collection of Soviet posters. A further special collection of non-stackable special prints is comprised of nearly 10,000 printed excerpts, small and micro formats, and the like.