Göttingen State and University Library

The library was founded in 1734 by George II at the same time as the university . From the beginning, the university and the library were closely connected to England. Because of the personal union of the crown of Hanover and Great Britain, the Anglo-American cultural sphere was, and is still today, a major collection area.

From the beginning on the library was planned and conceived of as a working library and for the first time the concept of a modern research library was realized.

The collection philosophy of the early years was based on the Enlightenment approach of collecting all literature in all areas of scholarship from all over the world as well as the sources that the literature used. Research literature was systematically cataloged, and made readily available to patrons. By the end of the 18th century Goettingen universitiy library exhibited the largest collection of English literature on the European continent.

Therefore the library's holding allows to reconstruct the process of research and reception in the field of English literature. This can exemplary be shown when having a look at the Shakespeare collection of that time.

The scholarly relevant Shakespeare editions were purchased and although Goettingen's librarian Christian Gottlob Heyne (1729-1812) was usually reluctant about buying scholarly pieces dealing with literaty criticism, approximately 50 percent of the Shakespeare disqusitions were acquired during his tenure. By the end of the 18th century Goettingen was able to participate in the international Shakespeare discussion. This unique Shakespeare collection was the major basis for the German reception of Shakespeare and his work.

Today Goettingen university library is one of the largest libraries in Germany. Open access is provided to not less than 1,300,000 books and journals, 450,000 in the reading rooms and 850,000 in the basement's open stacks.
Furthermore the library is responsible for nearly twenty special-subject collection areas across a wide spectrum of subjects in miscellaneous, mathematics, languages, history and political science as well as natural and earth sciences.

With the support of the DFG (deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), Goettingen library develops virtual subject-libraries, in particular for its special-subject areas. These virtual libraries provide, i.a., access to electronic literature. The virtual libraries develop resources that allow for bibliographic research, inter-library loan, document delivery, and direct online-access to the holdings themselves in cases where they have been digitally converted. There are currently being developed or already functioning virtual libraries for Anglo-American literature, history, earth sciences, forestry, and mathematics.