The library of the Kunsthaus Zurich developed since the beginning of the 19th century together with the Zurich Art Society, and was initially from 1847 onward situated in the gallery building of the Künstlergut at the Künstlergasse. During this time, the new acquisitions were mainly comprised of donations. But as the rules of the art society of 1850 demand for the library, soon art magazines were subscribed to, "for acquaintance with the latest phenomena in the area of art." Thus, for example, the Gazette de Beaux-Arts is in the library collection starting with volume 1 from 1859.
1874 a printed library catalogue was published for the first time.
In the new musuem buildung on Heimplatz, which opened in 1910, the library got three own rooms on the ground floor "with good daylight against the Landolt garden", as stated in the annual report of 1910. There regular opening hours were introduced, in addition the members of the art society were also allowed to use the library during the opening hours of the museum. 1925 the library could move into a spacious room in the center of the expanded museum building.
After the renovation and expansion of the museum 1958 the library had to move back into the old museum building on Heimplatz and was housed there in a very confined space for many years. Only in 1976 when the new building of the museum constructed by architect Erwin Muller was finished the library received again a large reading room and enough space for the now rapidly growing stocks at the corner Rämistrasse / Hirschengraben. Since autumn 2006, the library is located at Rämistrasse 45, its fifth location within the Kunsthaus on Heimplatz in Zurich..