Leipzig University Library

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Leipzig University Library (German: Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig), known also as Bibliotheca Albertina, is the central library of the University of Leipzig. It is one of the oldest German university libraries.[1]

Main building of Bibliotheca Albertina
Main building inside


The library was founded in 1542 following the Reformation by the then Rector of the university, Caspar Borner, who persuaded Moritz, Duke of Saxony, to donate the property and buildings of the dissolved Dominican friary of St Paul in Leipzig to the university.[2] The library began in one of the monastery buildings with 1,000 books and around 1,500 manuscripts from the stocks of four secularised Leipzig city monasteries and other dissolved monasteries in Saxony and Thuringia.[1]

Bombing in 1943-1945 destroyed two-thirds of the magnificent Neo-Renaissance Bibliotheca Albertina building. The ruins were evacuated and a large fraction of the books escaped destruction, but approximately 42,000 volumes were lost. Currently some are found in collections of Russian libraries.[2]

Three famous librarians worked at the institution: Joachim Feller (from 1675), Christian Gottlieb Jöcher (from 1742 to 1758), and Ernst Gotthelf Gersdorf (from 1833).[2] Since 2005 Ulrich Johannes Schneider has been director of the library.[3]


The library houses over 5 million volumes, with 8,700 manuscripts and 3,600 incunabula, and some 1,600 prints dating from the 16th century.[1] The special collections of the manuscripts comprise 5,000 papyri, 1,600 ostraka, 2,500 medieval manuscripts and 2,000 more recent manuscripts, along with 3,200 oriental manuscripts.

The library housed 43 leaves of the Codex Sinaiticus, brought from Sinai in 1843 by Constantin von Tischendorf.[4] Papyrus Ebers is the longest and oldest surviving medical manuscript from ancient Egypt, dated to around 1600 BC.[5]

The Leipzig University Library purchased a group of about 55 Arabic, Persian and Turkish manuscripts in 1995 and 1996.[6] The most important part of the collection is "Kitāb al-Zīna" written by the Ismaīlī Dā’ī Abū Hātim al-Rāzī (died 934), which is one of the oldest known Islamic manuscripts in the world.[6][7][8]

Some manuscripts[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "One of the oldest German university libraries". Universität Leipzig. 
  2. ^ a b c A. Loh-Kliesch, Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig, Leipzig-Lexikon (German)
  3. ^ Ulrich Johannes Schneider at the Homepage of the Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig
  4. ^ Aland, Kurt; Aland, Barbara (1995). The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism. Erroll F. Rhodes (trans.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. pp. 107–108. ISBN 978-0-8028-4098-1. 
  6. ^ a b "Project for the Cataloguing and Digitising of 55 Islamic Manuscripts". Leipzig University Library. 2008. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  7. ^ Project for the cataloguing and digitalizing of 55 Islamic manuscripts Leipzig University
  8. ^ "Leipzig University Library - Project for the cataloguing and digitising of 55 Islamic". Universität Leipzig. 2008. Retrieved 2011-06-08. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Ekkehard Henschke, ed. Die Bibliotheca Albertina in Leipzig. Festschrift zum Abschluss des Wiederaufbaus im Jahre 2002. Munich: Saur, 2002. ISBN 3-598-11623-3
  • Sophia Manns. Zwischen Denkmalschutz und Nutzeranspruch. Wiederaufbau und Erweiterung der Bibliotheca Albertina in Leipzig. Berliner Handreichungen zur Bibliothekswissenschaft 151. Berlin: Institut für Bibliothekswissenschaft, 2005 Text online

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°19′57″N 12°22′06″E / 51.33250°N 12.36833°E / 51.33250; 12.36833