Heidelberg University Library: Powerful, Efficient and Innovative

After multiple successes in past years, Heidelberg University has again ranked first in the BIX Library Index for 2015. In the offerings, usage, efficiency and development categories, Heidelberg is the only major academic university to place among the leaders - and for the sixth consecutive year. The expanded media offerings, high utilisation rates and highly effective workflows are rated excellent. Performance in the four categories evaluated is also particularly well balanced. The BIX Library Index, whose current results were just published, is a performance measurement instrument for public and academic libraries and is compiled annually by the German Library Association (dbv).

With 9 million’s from the e-library, 1.5 million loans, 2.9 virtual visits and 2.3 million visitors on site, the Heidelberg University Library continues to be among the most frequented libraries in Germany. "The fact that we were rated so highly in the usage category while in the midst of massive reconstruction is a testament to the library’s efficiency. Our sincere thanks go to all the employees whose dedication made this success possible," states chief librarian Dr. Veit Probst. The north-side expansion of the library - the Triplex Building on University Square - now houses a modern learning and study centre with approximately 1,000 new workstations. Furthermore nearly 600,000 volumes will be accessible by the open-access shelves of the historic library building.

According to Dr. Probst, the library’s outstanding rating in the development category is particularly significant. "This underscores the strength of innovation and sustainability of our library," says the director. He reports that the library obtained nearly 2.9 million euros in third-party and special funding last year. "In addition to traditional library services, we particularly focussed on special functions and development projects." The library has stepped up its efforts in international cooperations with project partners in Great Britain, Italy and the USA. One of the prominent projects is the digitisation of the Latin manuscripts of the Bibliotheca Palatina that are among the holdings of the Vatican Library in Rome. The library also offers specialised information services in the fields of European art history, Egyptology, classical archaeology and South Asia, and its own publication services are being continually expanded. Furthermore, a significant number of library staff is dedicated to the development of new electronic services.

This year, 64 academic libraries took part in the BIX Library Index, among them 42 university libraries in two classes. To measure performance, points were given in four categories: offerings, usage, efficiency and development.

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