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Heidelberg University Library Still Heads the List of German Academic Libraries

Press Release No. 239/2011
13 July 2011
University Library comes out on top for the second time in the renowned BIX Library Index

For the second time in succession, Heidelberg University Library (“UB”) has achieved first place in the renowned BIX Library Index, which assesses and compares the current performance of the major academic libraries in Germany. The ranking reflects the performance of university libraries with respect to offerings, usage, efficiency and development potential. In the usage category, this is the fourth time in succession that Heidelberg’s “UB” has come out in front. Over 2 million visitors per year, about 1.9 million book loans and over 3.7 million accesses to licensed online resources are eloquent proof of the excellence of Heidelberg University Library and the popularity of its offerings.

“We are proud that we have managed to assert our leading position in Germany’s most important library ranking,” said chief librarian Dr. Veit Probst. “I should like to express my profound gratitude to all the Heidelberg librarians for the exemplary commitment they have displayed.” Alongside the high user figures, this year’s outstanding showing is also a reflection of progress in the sectors “process efficiency” and “development/innovation”. Third-party and special funding to the tune of over two million euros is an important indicator and another area where advances have been made over last year’s achievements. “This combination of efficient organisational structures and encouragement for development and innovation potential is one of the strengths of Heidelberg’s University Library,” Dr. Probst added.

Alongside the provision of a wide range of reading matter, the digitisation of its precious historical holdings is another priority for Heidelberg University Library. In 2010 the original Heidelberg material made freely available the world over was accessed over 1.4 million times. Projects like the virtual reconstruction of Lorsch monastery library and cooperative ventures with the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana in Rome and the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles testify to the growing international connectivity of the Heidelberg library.

“Despite the annual user records for electronic access and the ongoing development of digital services, it is important to emphasise that Heidelberg’s University Library is a central learning location for the students,” said Dr. Probst. “And it will stay that way.” That is why the plans to extend the library premises are so important, the main purpose of this being to provide a greater number of reading places. “That is an important element in ensuring that we can continue to guarantee the first-class provision of literature to the University in future,” the chief librarian concluded.

This year, a total of 74 academic libraries, including 48 university libraries divided into two size categories, supplied data for the BIX Library Index ranking, which dates back to 1999. Placements and scores were awarded in the four sectors offerings, usage, efficiency and development. The ranking is supported by the Bertelsmann Foundation. To view the results, go to

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Dr. Veit Probst
Heidelberg University Library
phone: +49 6221 54 2380

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phone: +49 6221 54 2311

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