University Library Freiburg

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Main library building, currently about to undergo significant renovations, including a new facade

The University Library Freiburg (German Universitätsbibliothek Freiburg, UB) is the library of the University of Freiburg. As an academic and research library, the University Library caters to students and staff of the University of Freiburg, the University of Education Freiburg, the Catholic University of Applied Sciences Freiburg, and the Protestant University of Applied Sciences Freiburg. The library is open to interested members of the public as well.


The temporary location of the university library pending renovation of the main building
Renovation works at the main building in June 2011

When the University of Freiburg was founded in 1457 the libraries were most commonly attached to the respective faculties. In 1755, the various libraries were finally joined to form a common library and a new hall was constructed to house the inventory of books. The abolition of the Catholic order Society of Jesus in 1773 marked the end of the Jesuit presence at the university. The Jesuit order had been in charge of large parts of the university since 1620. Due to the suppression of the order, large collections of books from Jesuit libraries were transferred to University of Freiburg, leading to a rapid expansion of the University Library's stock. The secularization and reforms introduced by Emperor Joseph II of Austria subsequently caused the disbandment of several monasteries, further contributing to the increase in books.

The creation of a commission dedicated to acquiring literature in 1795 as well as the professionalization of the library direction led to a continuing prosperous growth of the library and its inventory. After the library had moved into a gothic revival building in 1903, numerous reforms to the organization were enacted. Various publications and exhibitions showed a new emphasis on public presence. During Nazi Germany, the University Library like the University of Freiburg itself complied with the racist laws and censorship of the regime. Due to the timely evacuation of many of books, the library was able to prevent the destruction of large quantities of its inventory during World War II, despite significant damage to the library building. The post-war years are characterized by reconstruction and the reorganization as well as expansion of the library's stock.

A new building was constructed in 1978 to house the library and its inventory, which by now had grown to become very extensive. New catalogs were introduced and a university library system including faculty libraries was implemented. In recent years, the expansion of digital volumes and new media has been a focus of the development of the University Library Freiburg. The podcasting service offered by the library was selected as a landmark in the initiative Germany - Land of Ideas sponsored by the German government and the Federation of German Industries.


Kollegiengebäude IV housed the University Library from 1903 to 1978

The first hall serving as location for the University Library mentioned above was expanded in 1822 to ensure its continuous use. In 1903, the library moved to a gothic revival building, which is today known as the Kollegiengebäude IV (KG IV). In 1978, the University of Freiburg constructed a new building across from the Kollegiengebäude II and next to the Freiburg Theater.

The building consists of three underground and six above-ground floors. Due to structural damage and dated features, the University Library building is currently undergoing extensive renovation including a completely new facade in accordance with university plans for a new campus layout. The university called for architects to submit their proposals for the new building in 2006, with a team from Basel winning the bid.

In 2008 the University Library moved its stock and services out of the main building and into temporary locations. The former municipal hall (Stadthalle Freiburg), now designated Universitätsbibliothek 1 (UB1), and a building next to the student cafeteria (UB2) now serve as the core locations of the University Library until construction on the main building is completed in summer 2015. The UB1 location is open 24 hours daily for students. As Stadthalle Freiburg it was used as a concert venue hosting many international acts.[1]

Volumes and media[edit]

With an inventory of approximately 3.6 million volumes, the University Library Freiburg is one of the largest libraries in the state of Baden-Württemberg. In 2007, the library saw over 2 million borrowings by around 36,000 active users.[2]


  1. ^ "Stadthalle Freiburg". Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  2. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°59′38″N 7°50′43″E / 47.99389°N 7.84528°E / 47.99389; 7.84528