The university libraries in Berlin have been working together on software, services and smart solutions for handling academic media for nearly 20 years. Researchers, students, and other users benefit from this cooperation.
It started in 1998 while looking for a uniform library system together. Since then, the Berlin university libraries of Freie Universität, Humboldt-Universität, Technische Universität, and the Berlin University of the Arts as well as the libraries of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin have been working together successfully. In the meantime, the university libraries are negotiating with publishing houses and software suppliers, advocating for openness of research data and digital resources in committees with one voice and cooperating in training and educating their employees.
The advantages of cooperating on various levels are numerous: Users quickly find their way around all institutions thanks to a uniform library management system and search portals.
Altogether there are about 13 million items of media on the shelves and servers of the four university libraries and that of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
The extensive media holdings are the result of a prudent and long-standing partnership: Due to the fact that the Berlin university libraries and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin negotiate contracts together, each institution can often profit from the licensed stock of the other institutions. The Berlin university libraries also chose uniform software for managing archives or the publication of research data and open access publications.
The librarians also communicate on basic strategic questions or plans for the libraries of the future: The university libraries do not only work together closely within the framework of the Regional Library Network (kooperativen Bibliotheksverbundes Berlin-Brandenburg (KOBV)), but also via the Friedrich-Althoff-Konsortium, a consortium of academic libraries in Berlin and Brandenburg, which provides its users with academic information from electronic publications. In addition, the university libraries are members of the “Open Access AG” of the Berlin Senate, which would like to make academic publications and research data openly accessible and usable to everyone
The University Library of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is one of Germany’s largest university libraries with about 6.5 million volumes and – founded in 1831 – the oldest university library in Berlin. It is situated at 13 locations and also includes the university archives. The head office of the University Library is located in the Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm Center.
Image Credit: Heike Zappe/HU Berlin
The Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum was designed and built by the Swiss star architect Max Dudler and opened in 2009. The centerpiece of the building is formed by ascending work areas on five levels. Aside from the old main library, twelve former branch libraries of the humanities and cultural sciences as well as social and economic sciences are now accommodated here.
Image Credit: Matthias Heyde/HU University Library
Since the winter semester of 2004 there have been library activities at Fasanenstraße 88: For students at Technische Universität Berlin, the library is a place for learning, communicating, gathering information, and meeting each other. Architectural drawings from the 19th and 20th centuries are included in the special collections of the library.
Image Credit: Ulrich Dahl/TU Berlin
The University Library of Technische Universität Berlin with a collection of over 2.4 million media items is one of the largest technical libraries in Germany. Aside from the main library in the VOLKSWAGEN House, which is run jointly with the library of the Berlin University of the Arts, it comprises the departmental libraries of physics, architecture and aesthetics, the university publisher of Technische Universität Berlin, and the university archives.
Image Credit: Ulrich Dahl/ TU Berlin
Due to its special architecture, the Philological Library of Freie Universität is also called “The Brain.” It was conceptualized by the star architect Lord Norman Foster and opened in 2005. By using the library portal Primo, users have access to nearly one billion data sets – books, magazine essays, newspaper articles
Image Credit: Bernd Wannenmacher
With about 2.5 million items, the University Library on Garystraße 39 is the largest lending library of Freie Universität. The Campus Library (photo), which opened in 2015, with 1.2 million volumes combines the stock of 24 former specialized libraries of the humanities and natural sciences and offers more than 600 user workstations with modern equipment in the center of the Dahlem Campus.
Image Credit: Bernd Wannenmacher
The Medical Library of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin is distributed among four locations: The main library is situated on the Virchow-Klinikum campus (photo), branch libraries on the Charité Mitte campus, and in the Department of Dentistry at an outside location on the Benjamin Franklin campus. As a fourth location, the Medical Humanities Library at Thielallee 71 is part of the Medical Library.
Image Credit: Wiebke Peitz / Charité