The library was created in spring 1974 as a faculty library by merging the libraries of the German Department, the English Department, the Romance Studies Department, the Slavic Studies Department, and the Department of General Rhetoric.

In September 1977, the library of the Department of Linguistics was added. The Department of Linguistics is not housed in the Brechtbau building, but its book collections are integrated in the Brechtbau Library.

In 2010, the Institute for Media Studies was founded, as well as the large Faculty of Humanities (from the former Faculties of Philosophy and History, Cultural Studies and Modern Languages). Since then, the library has been responsible for the area of Modern Languages, and the disciplines of Media Studies and Rhetoric within the area Philosophy - Rhetoric - Media.