Front Runner among Germany’s Major Academic Libraries
8 July 2013
Foto: University Library
For the fourth time in succession, Heidelberg University Library has achieved the top spot in the renowned BIX Library Index. Heidelberg is the only major academic library to be up among the leaders in all four evaluation categories – offerings, usage, efficiency and development –, which puts it ahead of other major university libraries in Germany. Especially outstanding are the number of library users, process efficiency and third-party and special funding. In all four categories service standards in Heidelberg are uniformly excellent. The results of this year’s rating will be published on Monday (8 July 2013). The BIX Library Index evaluates public and academic libraries. The annual rating is organised by the German Library Association (dbv).
“We are particularly proud of our excellent showing this year as it was a period marked by a number of conversion and restructuring measures”, says Dr. Veit Probst, Director of Heidelberg University Library. “I should like to take the opportunity to thank the staff for their outstanding commitment. Without it we could never have cut such a good figure.” Compared with earlier years, the improvement in the offerings category is particularly striking, caused mainly by changing daily closing times from 10 pm to 1 am. “In future we intend to improve user services even more”, says Dr. Probst. “The main factor here is the ongoing extension of the northern reaches of the building to accommodate a more satisfactory total of 1,000 workplaces.”
In the other three categories – usage, efficiency, development – the Library was able to repeat the outstanding results of the previous years. With 1.8 million loans and 2.1 million visitors every year, Heidelberg is one of the most frequented academic libraries in Germany. The excellent showing in the usage category is also reflected in the number of virtual visits. With 3.4 million accesses Heidelberg is the outright winner among all the libraries participating in the BIX rating. Outstanding scores for media efficiency as well as loans and distance loans are testimonies to internal process efficiency and staff motivation.
Alongside these basic services, BIX also vets libraries for their “future potential”. Under this heading we find such things as investment in the extension of electronic services and acquisition of third-party and special funding to finance various projects. Ongoing projects in Heidelberg University Library focus on the special collections of Egyptology, classical archaeology, history of European art and South Asia studies, the digitisation of historical holdings and the reorganisation of library structures in Asian studies.
The BIX Library Index dates back to 1999, when it was initiated by the Bertelsmann Foundation and the German Library Association. Since 2005 it has been masterminded by the German Library Association in conjunction with the University Library Centre of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in the framework of the Competence Network for libraries. This year 84 libraries took part, among them 54 university libraries divided into two size classes.