Saxon State and University Library Dresden
Main reading room of the Saxon State Library
|Type||State and University library|
|Established||1556 and 1828|
|Legal deposit||Yes, for published literature in Saxony|
|Director||Prof. Dr. Thomas Bürger|
The Saxon State and University Library Dresden (full name in German: Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden), abbreviated SLUB Dresden, is located in Dresden, Germany. It is both the regional library (German: Landesbibliothek) for the German State of Saxony as well as the academic library for the Dresden University of Technology (German: Technische Universität Dresden). It was created in 1996 through the merger of the Saxon State Library (SLB) and the State and University Library Dresden (SUBD). The seemingly redundant name is to show that the library brings both these institutional traditions together.
The SLUB moved into a large new building in 2002 to bring together the inventories of both its predecessors. Its collection numbers nearly nine million, making it one of the largest public archival centers in the Federal Republic of Germany. It holds significant treasures, including the Codex Dresdensis, an octagonal Koran from 1184 and a copy of the Peter Schoeffer Bible printed in 1462. Within the SLUB is the Deutsche Fotothek, holding some 2 million photographs from the past 80 years, and the German Stenographic Institute.
From 1485, the city of Dresden was the seat of the Wettin dukes of Saxony, who from 1547 were prince-electors. The royal state library was founded in 1556, when Prince-Elector Augustus (ruled 1553-1586) started systematically to acquire learned books and literary works. The prince himself inspected the lists of books offered at the book fair in Leipzig, the largest and most important city in his state, whose library had received the contents of the religious houses dissolved at the Reformation. Further, he instructed his diplomats to buy rare and precious books abroad.
During the first half of the 18th century, under two rulers, Augustus the Strong (ruled 1694-1733) and his son, Augustus II (ruled 1733-1763), Dresden became a major European cultural center. The Court Library became a true state library for Saxony, absorbing many manuscripts, maps, and books from distinguished private collections, with some spectacular purchases, such as the Dresden Codex that was obtained in 1739. In 1727, the library moved into two wings of the Zwinger Palace. When Frederick the Great of Prussia attacked Dresden in 1760, part of the library burned; there are singed volumes in the collection to this day. By the end of the 18th century it had outgrown its wing of the Zwinger, and the library then moved to the Japanese Palace. In 1788 the Saxon Library was opened to the public. Following the proclamation of the Weimar Republic in 1919, it officially became the Saxon State Library, with its strengths continuing to lie in the arts, humanities, social sciences, literature and linguistics.
With the onset of World War II, the most precious holdings of the State Library were dispersed to 18 castles and offices, away from any possible military objectives. Consequently, they largely survived the bombing raids of February and March 1945 which destroyed the former library buildings and virtually the whole historic center of Dresden — with losses of about 200,000 volumes of twentieth-century manuscript and printed holdings and also some irreplaceable musical manuscripts. The losses include the major corpus of Tomaso Albinoni's unpublished music, though Georg Philipp Telemann's manuscripts were preserved (catalogued, 1983). The library's copy of Sachsenspiegel, considered one of the most important manuscripts due to its historic significance in law and its illustrative quality, suffered from water damage. It underwent a restoration in the 1990s. After the war, some 250,000 books were taken to the Soviet Union.
A merger with the University Library of the Technische Universität Dresden in 1996 spurred the development of a new permanent structures to house the combined libraries, which had been scattered among almost three dozen locations throughout the city. The move to the new stone-clad facilities designed by Ortner & Ortner was completed in 2002. Subsequently, the library was renamed Saxon State and University Library Dresden.
With more than 7 million pieces the merged library is one of the biggest libraries in Europe. The library hosts the Deutsche Fotothek which holds more than 2 million images. Also included in the library is a museum, consisting of a treasure chamber and a temporary exhibition. The treasure chamber includes original and rare historical books which are permanently on display. Among them is the Dresden Codex, the oldest book written in the Americas known to historians.
Notes and references
- Vgl. §1 (2) SächsLBG
- Fritz Löffler: Das alte Dresden - Geschichte seiner Bauten. 16th ed. Leipzig: Seemann, 2006, ISBN 978-3-86502-000-0 (German)
- "The Dresden Codex". World Digital Library. 1200–1250. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
- "Mirror of the Saxons". World Digital Library. 1295–1363. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
- Steven Anzovin, et al.: Famous First Facts International Edition, H. W. Wilson Company (2000), ISBN 0-8242-0958-3, p. 197 item 3342 The first book written in the Americas known to historians is the Dresden Codex, or Codex Dresdensis.
- Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden (ed.): Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden: Festschrift anlässlich der Einweihung des Neubaus, Sandstein-Verlag, Dresden, 2002, ISBN 3-930382-81-4
- Ebert, Friedrich Adolf (1822) Geschichte und Beschreibung der königlichen Bibliothek in Dresden ("History and Description of the Royal Library in Dresden")
Media related to SLUB at Wikimedia Commons
- Homepage of the library
- "Treasures from the Saxon State library" Exhibition, Library of Congress, 1996