Marburg University Library

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Marburg University Library
Marburg UB new building entrance to the old botanical garden by OSO.jpg
University library (2018) at the Old Botanical Garden

founding 1527
Duration 4.1 million volumes
Library type University library
place Marburg
Visitor address Deutschhausstrasse 9
ISIL DE-4 (University of Marburg, Central Library)
management Andrea Wolff-Wölk

The University Library of Marburg is the library system of the Philipps University of Marburg , whose history goes back to the beginnings of the Philipps University (1527). The former Central Library (ZB) in the Lahn valley next to the Philosophical Faculty was relocated to the Firmanei campus in 2018 at the current location on Pilgrimstein next to the Old Botanical Garden and merged with several specialist libraries in the humanities and social sciences. The University Library (UB) is the central lending library with a magazine, lending point, textbook collection, media center and over 140 PC workstations as well as a total of approx. 1250 reading spaces. The university library is supplemented by departmental libraries that are spread over several locations throughout the city of Marburg, including the Lahnberge. The library's holdings total around 4.2 million volumes, of which around 3.2 million are housed in the new building. A larger part of the holdings of the University Library - textbook collection, specialist open access, open magazine with specialist books and periodicals - can be borrowed directly at the location. The much larger loan stock of the UB is placed in a closed store. Some of the central services of the University Library can also be used outside of opening hours (especially the online catalogs and the digital library).


The library was founded by the 19th century

Marburg University Library (1527–1533) Landgrave Palace
Marburg University Library (1533–1900) Former Franciscan monastery south wing

In 1527 the first 28 books from the Augustinian monastery in Alsfeld were received. Together with books from other Hessian monasteries, this levy formed the basis for the library of the University of Marburg, which was founded in the same year. The library and university were initially housed in the palace. In 1533 the library was housed together with the medical and philosophical faculties in the former Franciscan monastery at Am Plan, where it remained until 1900. New acquisitions only took place occasionally in the first few years; regular book purchases were only recorded on a modest scale from 1571; In 1582 part of the Marburg holdings was given to Kassel. In 1680, students were given free access to the library for the first time and were also allowed to borrow books. In 1768 the holdings of the Marburg University Library comprised almost 5,000 volumes. In addition, there were almost 9000 volumes from the private library of the Marburg lawyer and polyhistor Johann Georg Estor , which he bequeathed to the library.

In the period from 1807 to 1813 the university library experienced a remarkable boom. The funds for buying books were increased, and several larger book collections were transferred to the library, so that the holdings doubled by 1814. In 1811 work began on creating a volume catalog, which was systematically sorted by subject area and, when it was completed in 1820, comprised 16 volumes with 24,000 works listed therein. In 1958 this old volume catalog was replaced by a subject catalog in slip form, which retrospectively made literature accessible from 1930. From 1922 onwards, the new acquisitions by the institute libraries were also recorded in the alphabetical catalog of the university library, which thereby assumed the function of a central alphabetical catalog for the university.

In 1816, a government decree stipulated that deposit copies of all printed works whose authors or publishers are subject to the Electorate of Hesse must be submitted free of charge to the Marburg University Library. This right to deposit copies for the Marburger UB was valid until 1950.

The library in the 20th century

Marburg University Library (1900–1945) Universitätsstrasse 25
UB Marburg (1946–1967) as a guest in the State Archives on Friedrichsplatz
Marburg University Library (1967-2018) "Silver Cube" Wilhelm-Röpke-Straße 4

In March 1900, the university library moved from the south wing of the former Franciscan monastery Am Plan to the new building below in Universitätsstrasse 25 (Wilhelm-Röpke-Haus). In the period between 1939 and 1945 the university library received confiscated books from the occupied territories in the east and west. After the manuscripts, incunabula and rarities had already been brought to safety in 1942/43, another 230,000 volumes from the University Library and various institute libraries were moved to a potash mine in August and September 1944.

On April 24, 1945, the American military government permitted internal library operations to resume. From the summer of the same year it was possible to use the holdings again with a special permit. In 1946 the university library moved as a guest to the building of the Hessian State Archives on Friedrichsplatz, where it remained until 1967.

When the premises in the State Archives were no longer sufficient due to the growing number of students and books, the new building on Krummbogen (Wilhelm-Röpke-Straße 4) was planned in the early 1960s. The striking "silver cube" with its highly visible magazine tower was one of the most progressive university libraries of its time. It was inaugurated on November 18, 1967. A book ordered from the magazine could be made available to the user within about 30 minutes, a service that was almost unique in Germany at the time. The cooperation between the university library and the institute libraries has been intensified; the prerequisites for a coordinated university library system arose. The cataloging department of the University Library took on the task of central title recording.

Since 1985, agreements have been concluded on a voluntary basis between interested departments and the university library on the joint operation of decentralized specialist libraries. From the traditional two-tier library system with a central library and a large number of independent, decentralized libraries, a model of cooperative one-tieredness is developing selectively.

In 1987 cataloging was switched to EDP. All newly acquired monographs are recorded in a network database of the Hessian library information system HeBIS . The University Library of Marburg is the first library of the Hessian network that also records the holdings of the decentralized libraries in the new database. The big retro-conversion project of the old card catalog began in 1993: In the first phase of the project, all title recordings of the literature published between 1974 and 1986 were transferred to the catalog database of the Hessian Association. A new library software, PICA, has been used since 1994 . In 1997 the Marburg OPAC was also made available as a WWW application. In 1999, the Hessian university libraries founded a consortium as a purchasing community that acquires nationwide usable licenses for electronic media. In the information center of the library, 72 PCs and 20 wired laptop workstations were available to users, as well as WiFi throughout the building.

The search for Nazi looted property

As in almost all academic libraries, the holdings of the Marburg University Library were increased by expropriated literature during the Third Reich . In the wake of the Washington Declaration on the Principles with Respect to Nazi-Confiscated Art of December 1998 and the joint declaration by the federal, state and municipal umbrella organizations on the collection of Nazi-looted property from the collections of museums, libraries, etc., the Marburg University Library im The search for Nazi looted property began in autumn 1999; the title finds were recorded in a database (including, insofar as can be determined, previous ownership notice).

Some of the titles found could be returned to the rightful owners or their heirs; The search continues for the owners of the titles that have not yet been assigned.

The library in the 21st century

UB new building entrance at Deutschhausstrasse
UB building atrium at the entrance to Deutschhausstraße
UB new building atrium entrance to old botanical garden
UB new building with the Old Botanical Garden as a green reflection in the glass facade and the Spiegelslustturm in the background.

The entire library system changed fundamentally in the 21st century - keywords include library 2.0 , digital media , library as a social space and as a place of learning. The University of Marburg reacted to these changed framework conditions with a conceptual restructuring of the library system. The two main changes were the introduction of new library statutes and the planned new building for the university library, which will also redefine the face of the city and university.

Since the spring of 2009, a new library statute has been in effect for the Marburg University Library , which transfers the previous library system to that of a functional single-layer structure. The aim is to bring together the university library landscape, which has grown over centuries and has long been organized as a two-tier library system, more closely than before, thereby enabling a coordinated personnel and acquisition policy. In order to ensure close cooperation between the university, the departments and the university library, the new statutes have introduced a library advisory board that has an advisory role and the library management is accountable to this. This restructuring is also reflected in the naming of the library system. The entirety of the university libraries used to be called the Library and Information System (BIS), which was divided into the university library as the central lending library (located at Wilhelm-Röpke-Str. 4) and the decentralized institute, department and branch libraries, so it is now operating the whole under the name of the University Library, which is made up of the central library and the departmental libraries.

New building of the University Library Marburg

New building of the University Library on Pilgrimstein in April 2016 before completion

In the long term, the organizational unit of the university library achieved in this way should also be structurally implemented. The first step in this direction was the new building of the university library next to the Old Botanical Garden on the site of the former women's clinic not far from the German Language Atlas . The aim was to not only accommodate the holdings of the former ZB in the new library, but also those of several departmental libraries: This created a central humanities and social science library in the Lahntal in the core city at the foot of the upper town , which as a modern learning location meets the needs of students and Lecturers in an interdisciplinary research landscape. The architectural competition was concluded in March 2009, so that the new building could begin in 2010. Two structures with a glass entrance hall in the 200 m long library along the city park also allow access to the old botanical garden of the university. The move was realized in early 2018; 56 shelf kilometers of books moved into the new building. There are also plans to build a natural sciences library on the Lahnberge campus, which houses the natural sciences and medicine, in addition to the Central Medical Library, which was inaugurated in 2003.

The official opening of the new University Library in Marburg took place on April 30, 2018, and since the beginning of the 2018 summer semester, the library had already been opened for students in trial operation. The new university library offers the students of the Philipps-Universität Marburg over 1200 workplaces and more than 100 PC workplaces. The new building for the university library is located at Deutschhausstraße 9, directly adjacent to the Old Botanical Garden and thus forms the heart of the “Campus Firmanei”.

Special holdings and special collections

Hassiaca / Marburgensia

The Hassiaca department is the oldest special collection of the Marburg University Library. It was established in 1811 and owes its oldest works to a number of professors' libraries, rich in regional literature, which significantly increased the holdings of the Marburg University Library in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today the old holdings of the Hassiaca collection in particular represent a unique value, as the extensive holdings of the Hessian State Library in Kassel were largely destroyed in the Second World War. Today the focus of the collection is on literature on the Marburg-Biedenkopf district . The indexing of the collection has been completed and is largely documented in the Hessian union catalog.

Alan Coatsworth Canada Collection

The development of the Marburg Canada Collection is closely related to Canadian research and teaching at the university, the beginnings of which go back to the early 20th century. After the Second World War, a group of Marburg students was formed. "Gruppe Canada" reached out to newspaper publishers, universities, companies and mayors across Canada, asking for books and newspapers to be sent. The Canadian businessman Alan Coatsworth sponsored the Canada collection of the Marburg University Library. From 1951 onwards, the library received regular book donations until a basic stock of almost 1,500 volumes was available. Today the collection of v. a. sponsored by the Canadian Embassy.

Card collection

Maps and atlases have long been part of the collection of the university library and the extensive map inventory of around 60,000 units is a specialty for a library the size of Marburg. The regional focal points of the maps include Hessen, Germany, Europe and Canada. Since 1997, the keywords for new acquisitions have been researchable in the Marburg OPAC.

Savigny collection

The extensive academic legacy of the legal scholar Friedrich Carl von Savigny (1779–1861) is one of the most important manuscript collections in the Marburg University Library. Thanks to the help of various public and private sponsors, the university library has been able to add even more to the collection since the late 1940s. In 1997 the collection was included in the DFG 's "Distributed Digital Research Library" project . A catalog database with descriptions of the individual documents has now been completed and offers the possibility of systematically searching through the inventory.

Manuscripts and bequests

Most of the medieval manuscripts are utility manuscripts of monastic origin. They are indexed in detail in a printed catalog: Most of the modern manuscripts are related to Philipps University. The most extensive and most important holdings of the manuscripts are the bequests. As a rule, they are bequests from Marburg professors. There are 125 of them. Work is underway to set up a database that includes all the estate holdings.


The proportion of so-called historical book holdings, i.e. H. of books published up to 1900 is 150,000 and is already above average. The most valuable part, which today comprises around 6550 works with 8000 volumes, is housed as a rare collection together with the manuscripts in a specially secured and air-conditioned special magazine. The rarities also include 393 incunabula in 266 volumes and the Marburg early prints from 1527 to 1566, 126 of which are in the possession of the university library.

Library for life support

At the beginning of 2009, the Federal Association for Living Aid for People with Mental Disabilities eV handed over its library to the University Library of Marburg. The fact that the approximately 13,000 volumes remain in Marburg demonstrates the closeness to the city. The background to the donation was the partial relocation of the federal office of Lebenshilfe from Marburg to Berlin. The association, which was mainly financed by donations, decided to forego the continuation of the library with its own scarce resources. This is considered unique in Germany. Since it was founded in 1958, the Bundesvereinigung Lebenshilfe has built up an extensive library on all areas related to intellectual disabilities. This inventory is of great interest for university teaching and research in Marburg. It complements the existing stock of socio-educational literature in great depth.

The Max Kirmsse Collection

Among the historical special collections in German libraries, the collection of the special school teacher Max Kirmsse (1877–1946) is one of the most fascinating. With a publication period from the early 18th to the middle of the 20th century, the works collected in it, originating from a wide variety of countries - von Kirmsse partially enriched with comments and newspaper articles - bear witness to over three centuries of scientific discourse on disability, educational institutions, social exclusion and experimentation overcoming them. The collection also contains numerous autographs by Max Kirmsse. So not only those interested in historical literature on the subject of disability or the history of medicine will find what they are looking for. While the collection enables rehabilitation sciences, special school education or disability studies, which are rarely present in Germany, to historize their own subject, thanks to its interdisciplinary fund it is also suitable for linguistic and literary issues in philologies and for research on intersectionality , institutionalization or disability in the social and cultural studies.


  • Gottfried Zedler : History of the University Library of Marburg from 1527 - 1887 , NG Elwert'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Marburg, 1896
  • Ceremony for the university library - alma mater philippina . Summer semester 1968.
  • Franz-Heinrich Philipp: The new building of the Marburg University Library. A critical experience report about the years 1967–1973 . Nordwestverlag, Hannover-Waldhausen 1974 (= special issue DFW Documentation Information).
  • Uwe Bredehorn, Hans-Jürgen Scholz, Herwig Gödeke: Marburg, University Library. In: Handbook of the historical book inventory in Germany . Vol. 6. Ed. Bernhard Fabian. Hildesheim: Olms, 1993, pp. 15-45. ISBN 3-487-09580-7 online
  • Dirk Barth: From a two-tier library system to a cooperative one-tier system. In: Zeitschrift für Bibliothekswesen und Bibliographie 44 (1997), pp. 495-522.
  • Bernd Reifenberg: The University Library of Marburg . Series of publications by the University Library of Marburg. Vol. 100. Marburg: University Library, 2000. ISBN 3-8185-0318-4
  • Marburg University Library: The medieval manuscripts of the Marburg University Library . Described by Sirka Heyne. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2002. ISBN 3-447-04441-1
  • Jonas Fansa: library flirt . Library as a public space . Bad Honnef: Bock + Herchen, 2008. ISBN 978-3-88347-264-5

See also

Web links

Commons : Marburg University Library  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. About us , Marburg University Library
  2. Andrea Wolff-Wölk new director of the Marburg University Library , University of Marburg, press release October 8, 2015
  3. a b New building of the university library,, accessed on May 4, 2018.
  4. a b
  5. Karin Stichnothe. Marburg - as it used to be: a photographic journey through time. Wartberg Verlag, 1998. p. 51
  6. Archived copy ( Memento from July 20, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  8. A detailed documentation of the project can be found at , as of February 7, 2007
  9. The text is published at
  10. ^ Project of the century: Marburg University Library moves with 3.2 million books , Gießener Anzeiger , January 17, 2018
  11. Welcome to the trial run in the university library . Retrieved April 28, 2018 .
  12. To the directory of the special collections, bequests and rarities:

Coordinates: 50 ° 48 ′ 30.6 ″  N , 8 ° 46 ′ 48.2 ″  E