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Just like the University, the Library also has a long and a short history. The longer one, not often documented, lasts almost a hundred years. It probably began in 1878 when the library was first mentioned in the founding of the “United Art, Industry and Handicraft School” and was managed by teacher and sculptor Ernst Vollhaber. The original stock of approximately 1,500 titles came from this period, including the luxurious book published in 1856 by Owen Jones, “Grammar of Ornament”, and the “Illustrated Catalogue of the Paris Industrial Exhibition” from 1868.

The shorter history begins in 1968 with the introduction of nearly 1,300 “new” books in a room on the first floor of the main building. The director of the bookbinding workshop, Theophil Zwang, managed the Library and kept a calligraphically noted record of the lending and stock in an inventory book and on catalogue cards. In 1974, the Library was appointed a part-time position and was open ten hours a week. In 1975, a library commission was constituted from all the University’s representative groups whose goal is to advise the Library in all areas of interest.

In 1982, the professionalization of the Library began with the appointment of a part-time trained librarian. The stock now consisted of over 12,000 volumes and the opening hours were extended to twenty hours a week.

In 2007, the wooden catalogue boxes are now long gone and replaced with screen work stations. The artistic-scientific stock built up variably over the years consists of over 35,000 media units including monographs, videos and DVDs as well as 70 magazine subscriptions – the whole stock can be searched using OPAC on the HfG website. Since 1990 the Library has two full-time employees and is open 38 hours a week.

The library rooms, located on the third floor of the main building, with their generous opening hours and a high level of service have become one of the most frequented places in the University.

Christa Scheld
M. A., certified librarian, is Head of the HfG library