About Us

As a modern information facility, we provide the members and associates at Kiel University with an up-to-date, needs-oriented supply of media for studying, teaching and research. We are also available for Schleswig-Holstein’s citizens to use. We provide modern services, rooms and resources for work in and among academic disciplines, as well as for the dialogue between science and society in a diverse, international environment.


  • Information supply & information skills

As one of the main service facilities at Kiel University, we guarantee a supply of literature and information to all members of the university for research, teaching and studies that is suitable for their needs, and we help the parties concerned develop their own information skills.

  • Place of learning

The library is the location on campus where many students prefer to learn and communicate. We accommodate the need for an integrated place of learning and working with library spaces which are open seven days a week and feature computer workstations, Wi-Fi, and scanning and copying technology.

  • Transregional information supply

As a service for academics, with the Specialised Information Service for Northern Europe, which receives support from the DFG, we make information and publication services available for Northern European research purposes and ensure a long-term, transregional supply of literature in this area.

  • Cultural Heritage & Digital Humanities

Preserve, utilise and communicate cultural heritage. Following this principle, as the Competence Centre for Digital Humanities, we support research and teaching through the development, digitalisation and provision of diverse resources.

  • Open Access & publishing

As a development partner for a sustainable research and information infrastructure on the campus in Kiel, we provide advice the topics of publication and Open Access, and our services help publish research results.

  • Services for Schleswig-Holstein

Owing to our library and information technology skills, we have performed tasks relating to the state, especially those concerning administration of the local library system for the university libraries in Schleswig-Holstein and exercising the right to collect deposit copies of printed and electronic publications from Schleswig-Holstein.


As a partner of the university and the state, a service provider for studies, teaching and research as well as our society, we provide innovative services oriented towards the current needs of our users. We regularly check and modify the focal points and goals defined in the scope of a strategy process in 2018. They serve as reference points for our further development and annual project planning. In that process, we consistently orient our efforts towards the requirements of our stakeholders, Schleswig-Holstein and additional important higher education and science policy committees, in addition to our contracting party, Kiel University.

The strategic goals we want to reach by 2024 are:

Further developing the information supply

Supplying information at Kiel University (agreed upon with the partners on campus and taking priority research areas into particular consideration) and in the transregional system of specialised information services (here the FID Northern Europe) and guaranteeing lasting usability of printed and electronic collections are among Kiel University Library's pre-eminent core tasks.
We are further expanding the range of e-media offered to improve user orientation and make information more readily available (taking new media formats into consideration as well), and we want to check new acquisition models in terms of value and efficiency and apply them, if relevant.

Expanding the Central Library as a learning location

Libraries are central locations that are used intensively. They are also places for concentrated work (individually or in groups) and exchanges for a variety of user groups and projects.
As the main place of learning and a meeting point on the CAU campus, we are increasing the range of ways people can work in the Central Library. We want to adapt them to different working needs and provide modern digital technology, and we also want to make them available to students, researchers and all citizens. We are further developing cooperative service offers with our partners from Kiel University and the region.

Further developing offers related to information skills

As one of the key qualifications of the 21st century, information skills contribute considerably to successful and efficient academic work.
We support the entire work process with custom offers on efficiently using and handling information - from researching and writing papers to presenting and publishing work results. With our cooperation partners at Kiel University and in the state, we are further expanding our digital offers and services directed at diverse target groups in this process.

Promoting Open Access and expanding publication services

Academic information benefits from digital dissemination and free provision in Open Access (OA).
By maintaining the OA publication server MACAU and providing our additional services (consulting, managing the OA publication fund of Schleswig-Holstein), we support the publication of academic information from Kiel University in OA. By further developing our publication services in OA, we are making an important contribution to increasing the amount of freely accessible academic information at the CAU.

Imparting cultural heritage / services for digital humanities

IT-based methods and tools are being used increasingly in the humanities and in cultural studies, especially for collaborative work with databases.
As the Competence Centre for Digital Humanities, we support research and teaching by indexing, digitalising and providing a variety of resources. When indexing our digitised historic collections, we will use IT-supported tools to involve researchers and interested members of the public in the sense of citizen science.
The organic connection of historic material, modern information indexing and technology is very important to us. We exercise responsibility for the original content of our collections as per the principles of the state concept for inventory conservation.

Services for Schleswig-Holstein

Kiel University Library has performed important tasks in managing the local library system for the university libraries in Schleswig-Holstein for many years and exercises the right to collect deposit copies of printed and electronic publications from Schleswig-Holstein.
As part of Schleswig-Holstein's digitalisation strategy, we shall contribute our infrastructures and skills in the areas of digitalisation and digital humanities to collaborations and projects with other commemorative institutions in the state that make important contributions to studies, teaching and research.


The University Library was established at the same time as the university in 1665. When it was founded, its initial holdings consisted of the hand-written and printed documents of the Augustinian Canon Community in Bordesholm, which was disbanded around 1566. The library received these documents through a decree issued by the Duke of Gottorf, Christian Albrecht, and they are still the library's oldest holdings. In the first hundred years of its existence, the library grew slowly (it had approximately 6,000 volumes in 1768). With around 40,000 volumes at the end of the eighteenth century, however, it was one of Germany's most important libraries.

In 1884, the university received the first building that was to serve library purposes only (the old university library, Brunswiker Str. 2). An annex was added to the building in 1907, but it was destroyed by bombs on 29 April 1942. Half of the book collection, which had grown to more than 500,000 volumes before World War II, was destroyed.

UB Kiel 1942
Die Universitätsbibliothek in der Brunswiker Straße nach dem Bombenangriff 1942Archiv UB Kiel


After the war, the university (except for the clinic at Schloßgarten) was transferred to the grounds on Olshausenstraße. The University Library was given a new building there in 1966. The Medical Department remained in the old university library. The new building at the intersection of Westring and Olshausenstraße quickly proved to be too small, which is why the university needed to establish an additional branch for the Department of Natural Sciences on Heinrich-Hecht-Platz in 1987. In the new building on Leibnizstraße, which opened in April 2001, the natural sciences collections could be reunited with the other collections.
Since that time, in addition to the main building on Leibnizstraße, the Medical Department for the University Medical Center has been housed in Breiter Weg, and the Engineering Library has been located in the Faculty of Engineering's building on Kaiserstraße on the Ostufer campus.
The departmental libraries began developing when departments and institutes were founded at the end of the nineteenth century. The number and size of the institutional libraries increased quickly. The Landeshochschulgesetz (Higher Educational Act) of 1973 created the central institution "University Library". Ever since, the departmental libraries have been part of the University Library; they no longer belong to the institutes and departments.