University library

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Reading room of the University Library Graz

A university library (UB) is a library that is assigned to a university as a central service facility. In contrast to the specialist libraries of the individual faculties or departments, which concentrate on literature in their respective subject area, the holdings of a university library include basic literature on all subject areas, even if these are not taught at the university. The technical specialization in the institute libraries corresponds to the establishment of special collection areas at the level of the university library , which thematically link to one or more of the subjects taught at the university and in which the University Library tries to include every publication that appears worldwide on the collection area record. Special collection areas are gradually being replaced by specialist information services for science .

The Harvard University Library is the largest university library in the world with 16.8 million books.

Main task

The main task of the University Library is to enable teachers and students to find out as much as possible about the current state of knowledge of a discipline as well as about the historical development of this knowledge. It mainly supplies both the students and the professors and their assistants with specialist literature , but also with other works.

organization structure

A library is divided into several departments. There is often a textbook collection in which there are only frequently requested (standard) books, which are available in numerous copies per title (series copies) and which are often recommended in the lectures, while in the main library there is usually only one copy of a book is acquired in favor of a greater breadth of the inventory.

Furthermore, a library has a mostly extensive collection of journals, which is often made available in a special journal reading room in which current issues and older volumes of specialist journals can be found.

Sometimes the university archive is also attached to a university library, in which the university stores its files and other documents that provide information on the history of the university. The archive is not affiliated with the lending service. However, upon request, its holdings can be used for scientific studies.

In addition to inventory management and the organization of the lending operation, a library usually also has a workshop in which bookbinding work is carried out. This regularly applies to the binding of magazine editions to annual volumes, but occasionally also the production of hard covers for paperbacks or paperbacks in order to give these books sufficient mechanical stability. In some UBs there are also highly specialized restoration workshops whose task it is to save books that have been heavily used or damaged by acid from destruction.

Reading rooms give users direct access to the library's holdings. The presence inventory of a UB, often old and valuable copies, can usually only be viewed there. Basic works, in particular reference works and bibliographies, are placed directly in the reading room.

It is also possible to create your own work in a university library. Many UBs provide their users with so-called carrels especially for this purpose . In these reading cubicles you can write your own scientific work , B. dissertations , can be processed undisturbed. A university library that is characterized by an increased number of student workplaces is referred to as a "work library".

Inventory logistics and use

An important difference between the UB and the branch libraries located in the inventory logistics: While libraries all their holdings almost always in the open access area to offer, this applies to the holdings of university libraries only in a very limited way. In many UBs, large parts of the inventory are kept in a magazine that is inaccessible to the public. The reason for this type of warehousing lies in the amount and space requirements of the stocks to be managed: University Library's old and traditional universities have stocks of several million units that can only be managed efficiently using modern logistics concepts. Such management is not compatible with direct access to the inventory by the users, even if some UBs make at least parts of their magazines accessible to the users.

The stocks held in the magazine can therefore only be accessed via the various catalogs and requested for loan or inspection. The actual access to the magazine stocks is then carried out by the UB staff and the requested titles are made available for collection at the loan point with a delay of usually a few hours up to a day. There they can be picked up on presentation of the library card issued by the university library and borrowed from home for a limited period of time or used in the reading rooms.

In addition to the textbook collections, newer university libraries have, in some cases, extensive open access holdings that are systematically organized. Books that are not in the own inventory can be requested by users of a library via interlibrary loan . Many university libraries also make parts of their holdings available digitally on the Internet.

It is usually free of charge for students at the respective university, but a fee is often charged for other users.

Valuable books

Many university libraries keep special collections that differ from normal library holdings in terms of material, age, origin or special content. These include valuable books (so-called cimilies ), e.g. B. Medieval splendid manuscripts also outstanding book or cultural-historical prints or single sheets. Access to such works is strictly limited. Lending to your home is generally excluded, use is permitted (if at all) only in rooms reserved for this purpose within the UB building and can be subject to further conditions in order to protect the valuable books from decay.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: University Library  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Libraries at universities and technical colleges. (PDF; 1.37 MB) Vogel, Bernd; Cordes, Silke, June 24, 2008, p. 26 , accessed May 21, 2014 .