University Library Kassel - State Library and Murhard Library of the City of Kassel

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University Library Kassel - State Library and Murhard Library of the City of Kassel
Logo-UNIKassel BIB.png

founding State library 1580, Murhard library 1863, university library 1973
Duration 1.7 million (2017)
Library type University library, state library, scientific city library
place Kassel and Witzenhausen
management Axel Hall

The University Library of Kassel - State Library and Murhard Library of the City of Kassel is a single-layer library system with six library locations and provides the members of the University of Kassel and the population of North Hesse with literature and information. In addition to the tasks of a university library, it fulfills the task of a state library (collection and long-term archiving of regional literature) as well as that of a scientific citizen library for the region.


Steel engraving from the Fridericianum Museum , around 1850

The library tradition of the university library, founded in 1973, dates back to 1580. At that time, Landgrave Wilhelm IV, known as the Wise, founded a library for his scientific interests. From the beginning, the library served less representative purposes than the broad research and educational interests of the sovereign.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm worked in Kassel between 1814/16 and 1829 as librarians and researchers in the state library.

During the Second World War, the library suffered great losses from the bombing and extensive destruction of its library building at the time, the Fridericianum Museum , in September 1941. Around 350,000 volumes were lost. From 1957 she found a permanent home with her saved historical legacy in the building of the Murhard Library on Brüder-Grimm-Platz. With its collections of manuscripts, autographs and old prints, it is a special kind of treasure trove. It is a research library for scientists from all over the world and a regional documentation center for the history and culture of the former Electorate of Hesse-Kassel.

State Library and Murhard Library of the City of Kassel

The Murhard Library of the City of Kassel is a foundation of the Kassel citizens Friedrich and Karl Murhard . They donated their entire fortune to their hometown in order to found a citizens' library. To this day it fulfills its information and educational mission for the citizens of the city and region of Kassel. The library building on Brüder-Grimm-Platz, which opened in 1905, was built from the foundation's assets in the neo-renaissance style according to plans by Emil Hagberg .

The State Library and Murhard Library of the City of Kassel have been part of the Kassel University Library since 1976.

  • –1939: Wilhelm Hopf
  • 1939–1945: Hans Peter Des Coudres
  • 1945–1949: Wilhelm Hopf
  • 1949–1957: Wolf von Both
  • since 2001: Axel Halle

Profile and development

Library building on Holländischer Platz

The central task of the University Library of Kassel is the supply of scientific literature to the university and the region. The focus is on continuous inventory building, user training, a high quality of learning location and generous opening times, as well as the provision of digital resources and services for scientific publishing. As a signatory of the OpenAccess Initiative 2020, the University and University Library of Kassel are actively promoting the development of Open Access .

Locations / departmental libraries

The library is represented at the six locations of the university with different subject areas. The books and magazines are almost completely freely accessible and systematically organized.

View of part of the book inventory

Holländischer Platz campus library

  • Engineering, technology
  • Linguistics and literary studies
  • Economy, law, sport
  • Humanities and social sciences

Brothers Grimm Square

  • State Library and Murhard Library of the City of Kassel

Wilhelmshöher Allee

  • Electrical engineering and computer science

Art college

  • Art college library


  • Agricultural Sciences


  • Vocational education, natural sciences, mathematics

Digital services


The document server ORKA (Open Repository Kassel) is an online repository in which the digitized copyright-free holdings of the University Library of Kassel are listed. The stock of copyright-free manuscripts, music, historical photos, maps and estate materials in ORKA is gradually being made available worldwide free of charge. The digital copies are divided into different collections and can be specifically researched. The holdings are also listed in the German Digital Library and the Europeana .


The library's own university publication server KOBRA (Kassel Online Library, Repository & Archive) is the digital open access archive of scientific publications by university members of the University of Kassel. All documents published in KOBRA and ORKA can be searched via the catalog portal KARLA of the University Library Kassel, the German National Library and via well-known scientific and non-scientific search engines as well as Open Access directories (e.g. OpenDOAR).

Grimm portal

The digitized holdings documented in the Grimm portal come from the Hessian State Archives in Marburg , the University Library of Kassel - State Library and Murhard Library of the City of Kassel and the Grimm Collection of the City of Kassel. These include u. a. Letters from and to Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, other handwritten documents from the Grimm family, hand copies from the Grimm private library, including works by the Brothers Grimm and others. Editions by other authors with handwritten entries by the brothers as well as pictures, business cards and contemporary reviews from the estate of the Brothers Grimm.


PUMA (Academic Publication Management) is a portal for the management of academic publications that offers the possibility to collect, manage and share publications centrally online. The collected references can also be forwarded to KOBRA, its own homepage (e.g. for the curriculum vitae) or to research information systems. The PUMA services were funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of a research project.

kassel university press - kup

The Universitätsverlag kassel university press GmbH (kup) was founded in 1997. As a non-commercial publisher, it offers a full publishing service with support for print publications, parallel publications (hybrid publishing) or online publications.

Historical collections

Hildebrandlied, 2 ° Ms. theol. 54 1r
Willehalmcodex, 2 ° Ms. poet. 1,28r
Abdinghofer Gospels, 2 ° Ms. theol. 60

The Hildebrandslied is one of the special pieces of the historical inventory . It is the only surviving record of a Germanic hero poem in the German language. The oldest completely preserved manuscript in the Kassel University Library is Flavius ​​Josephus Vom Jüdischer Krieg . It was probably created at the end of the 6th century in the Vivarium monastery (southern Italy).

The hand copies of the children's and house tales by the Brothers Grimm have been in the state library since 1932 . They were included in the UNESCO World Document Heritage in 2005 and have been on display in the GRIMM WORLD exhibition house since September 2015 . On permanent loan to the Protestant parish Immenhausen a paper copy of the Old Testament is a Gutenberg Bible , the so-called Immenhausen Gutenberg Bible held.

Music manuscripts and prints

In addition to the oldest evidence of music in religious life (prayer book of Empress Kunigunde, approx. 1000 AD), the music collection contains a large number (approx. 20,000) of music manuscripts and prints from the early phase of the Kassel court orchestra (approx. 1550–1650) . These include autographs and a. by Heinrich Schütz and Giovanni Gabrieli. In addition, the university library also preserves larger historical collections of notes from the 19th century (e.g. Louis Spohr).

Alchemy manuscripts

The Kassel Alchemica collection with manuscripts from the 16th and 17th centuries is one of the most important of its kind. Most of it comes from Landgrave Moritz von Hessen-Kassel (1572–1632), who himself worked as an alchemist .

Architectural hand drawings by Landgrave Moritz von Hessen-Kassel

The unique collection includes not only handwritten architectural drawings by Landgrave Moritz von Hessen-Kassel (1572–1632), but also drawings by various master builders as well as some related documents that mainly deal with buildings in Hesse. The research project carried out between 2009 and 2011 scientifically evaluated the entire inventory and scientifically developed all objects.

Renovation and renovation

Brothers Grimm Square (Murhard Library)

The building, which was moved into in 1905 and was last repaired at the end of the 1950s after being destroyed in the war in 1943, shows considerable defects. The building is therefore being renovated and given a modern extension. The architects Sichau & Walter (Fulda) were commissioned with the planning. Construction began in July 2017 and work will be completed in 2021. In the extension, a representative exhibition room for manuscripts and a modern reading room will be created.

Holländischer Platz campus library

The building must u. a. to be extensively renovated due to structural defects. The renovation began in summer 2015. The construction work will take place during ongoing operations and will continue until 2022.

Friends and sponsors

The "Friends of the Murhard Library" was founded in May 2006 by 40 committed citizens. With the support of the Freundeskreis, extensive restoration work was carried out on valuable historical holdings. Those interested in culture from universities and the region have the opportunity to receive and present unique collections through membership or by sponsoring a book.

statistical data

Library in numbers (as of 2015):

Volumes 1,723,821
Maps, plans 18,469
grades 32,436
Manuscripts, autographs 30,363
Databases 5,982
Magazines running 39,931
E-books 49,748
New acquisitions in volumes 25.203
Expenditure acquisition 2,796,706
Active users 24,217
Opening hours per week 97
Borrow 1,344,893
Interlibrary loan orders received 10,472
Trainee 3.214
Library visits 1,070,669


  • Hartmut Broszinski : Kassel manuscript treasures . 1985.
  • Hartmut Broszinkski: Manuscripta medica. (= The manuscripts of the Murhard Library of the City of Kassel and the State Library. Ed. By Dieter Hennig. Volume III, 1). Wiesbaden 1976.
  • Hans-Jürgen Kahlfuß (Ed.): 125 years of the Murhard Foundation of the City of Kassel and its library 1863-1988. Association for Hess. History and Regional studies c / o GhK library, Kassel 1988, ISBN 3-925333-14-2 .
  • Helge Steenweg: Experience report: Practical implementation of information management. 1999.
  • Axel Halle: The Kassel University Library. Reorganization in a single tier library system. In: Journal of Librarianship and Bibliography. 49.2002, 5/6, pp. 278-282.
  • Axel Halle: The Murhard Library and its development into the 21st century. In: The Murhard Brothers. 2003.
  • Axel Halle (ed.): The Murhard Brothers: Life for human rights and civil liberty. Catalog for the exhibition in the Kassel City Museum in cooperation with the Kassel University Library, November 30, 2003 to April 18, 2004. University Press, Kassel 2003, ISBN 3-89958-037-0 .
  • Dieter Hennig (Ed.): The manuscripts of the Murhardschen library of the city of Kassel and the state library. Wiesbaden 1976.
  • Angelika Horstmann: Catalog of printed music from the time of the Kassel court orchestra (1550–1650). 2005
  • Ulrike Hanschke: Between 'Demolition' and 'Invention': Northern Hesse in the drawings of Landgrave Moritz. 2017
  • Axel Halle: Challenges of modernization during operation: the campus library of the University of Kassel, in: ABI-Technik 38.2018, 1, pp. 46–54
  • Søren Drews: 100 years of Murhard Library. Lecture on the occasion of the Kassel Museum Night on September 3, 2005 in the Eulensaal of the Murhard Library in Kassel. Kassel 2005, urn : nbn: de: hebis: 34-200603177712

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Library in Numbers
  2. Engineering, technology
  3. Linguistics and literary studies
  4. ^ Economy, law, sport
  5. ^ Humanities and social sciences
  6. ^ State library and Murhard library of the city of Kassel
  7. Electrical engineering and computer science
  8. Art University Library
  9. Agricultural Sciences
  10. ^ Vocational education, natural sciences, mathematics
  11. ORKA
  12. COBRA
  13. Grimm Portal
  14. Grimm Collection
  15. PUMA publication management
  16. kassel university press
  17. kassel university press
  18. ^ Architectural hand drawings by Landgrave Moritz von Hessen-Kassel
  19. ^ Sybille Kammler: Start of construction in the Murhardschen. In: Construction blog of the Kassel University Library. Kassel University Library, July 10, 2017, accessed on October 5, 2017 .
  20. Friends of the Murhard Library
  21. University Library Kassel: Library in Numbers