Best of Germany’s Major Academic Libraries
10 July 2014
For the fifth consecutive year, Heidelberg University Library has been ranked at the top of the renowned BIX Library Index. Heidelberg is the only major academic library to be among the leaders in all four evaluation categories – offerings, usage, efficiency, and development. The high number of library users, its efficiency of services, and merit of third-party and special funding were all guarantors of success. The BIX Library Index has been compiled since 1999 under the direction of the German Library Association and records the services of public and academic libraries that elect to participate.
In comparison with the other academic libraries, Heidelberg University Library excelled in all four categories measured. “We are particularly proud of this year’s breadth of library services,” announced library director Dr. Veit Probst. “It demonstrates that we collaborate as a library – from media processing, use and management, to our projects and special functions. I would like to express my particular appreciation to the staff, without whose dedication this achievement would not have been possible.”
In 2013 Heidelberg University Library was again among the most frequented academic libraries in Germany, with 1.6 million loans and 2.2 million visitors (over 6,000 a day) attesting to its appeal. With over 3.4 million virtual visits Heidelberg is the outright leader of all the participating libraries. The efficiency of its services is yet another contributing factor to its strong success. Fifteen staff members in media processing incorporated nearly 70,000 media units during 2013. In lending and interlibrary loans, each employee was responsible for over 65,000 units. Outlays for procurement were especially high at approximately 80 per cent of those for personnel.
“We want to supplement our high-demand electronic and print media by considerably improving on-site use. As part of the north-side expansion of the library, the Triplex Building on University Square will house a modern learning and study centre with approximately 1,000 workplaces,” says Dr. Probst. “We are also expanding the available holdings in the open stacks, making access to another one million volumes much easier.”
Library services support special functions and projects that are financed primarily through third-party funds. The level of third-party and special funding reflects the high level of investment in the library’s continued development. Valued at 2.5 million euros, Heidelberg University Library is Germany’s third best-funded library. Among the endeavours financed are the digitisation of historical holdings, new development of special collections in Egyptology, classical archaeology, European art history and South Asia, the reorganisation of library structures in Asian studies, and university open-access activities that are coordinated by the university library.
The BIX Library Index is a national performance measurement instrument for public and academic libraries. It is compiled by the German Library Association in conjunction with the University Library Centre of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (hbz) in the framework of the Competence Network for Libraries (knb). This year 82 libraries took part, among them 54 university libraries divided into two classes. Points were given in four categories – offerings, usage, efficiency and development.