The collection of the Philosophicum Departmental Library includes about 675,000 volumes, which are arranged according to the relevant subject classification system and are fully indexed in the university's online catalog. In addition to the roughly 1,100 current printed journals, users also have access to the University Library's range of electronic journals. The University Library's databases can also be accessed. Responsibility for the development of the collection, where this draws on departmental resources, lies with the departments. The library has about 650 reading spaces, 100 computer workstations and plenty of WLAN access points.
The Philosophicum Departmental Library is the combination of 15 former faculty libraries from Faculty 05: Philosophy and Philology and Faculty 07: History and Cultural Studies, dispersed over 20 different locations. Its creation is based on a decision taken by the University Library Senate Committee in 2001.
In 2010 a new location for the Historical Cultural Sciences was founded. It is financed by the "Forschungsschwerpunkt" Historical Cultural Sciences of the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. The new Department of Film, Theater and Empirical Cultural Studies was founded in 2011. The Institute of Cultural Anthropology leaves the Department of German Philology and becomes one of four branches of the new Department of Film, Theater and Empirical Cultural Studies. For the Departmental Library Philosophicum this results in the addition of a new subject, Cultural Anthropology, and consequently in an additional location.
The idea behind the Philosophicum Departmental Library is that of an "open library." This can be traced back to the initial suggestion made by department representatives that the Departmental Library should not consist of a closed library area. This means that there is close integration of library facilities on the one hand and lecturers' offices, administrative offices, student council facilities and function rooms on the other hand.
The Philosophicum Departmental Library opened its doors on January 9, 2008, with the official opening taking place on February 15 of the same year.