One of the oldest German university libraries
The University Library was founded in 1542 by Rector Caspar Borner starting with 1,000 books and around 1,500 manuscripts from the stocks of secularised monasteries.
The current stock comprises over five million volumes; 5.2 million media units and around 7,200 current periodicals. Of these about 200,000 volumes are accessible in the open stacks, with 780 reading places available. In addition the library has a number of special collections, including around 8,700 manuscripts, approx, 3,600 incunabula, 16th century prints and around 173,000 autographs.
In 1616 a permanent librarian was appointed, and from 1833 the University Library was open every day. It became necessary to move to a bigger building due to the great increase in the book stock, including taking over the Goethe collection from the publisher Salomon Hirzel, but in particular through the rise in printing in the 19th century. In 1891 the library moved to a new building in Beethovenstraße, which had been based on neo-Renaissance style designs by Arwed Rossbach. The new library was named “Bibliotheca Albertina” after the monarch King Albert of Saxony. The building was destroyed to a great extent in the Second World War and was barely usable until 2002, when the library building was reopened after eight years of extension and renovation.