University Library Basel

The University Library Basel with its five locations is one of the most important public information centres in the region. With holdings of approximately 7.5 million books as well as e-books, specialist databases and journals, the library is one of the largest academic libraries in Switzerland. It is also the cantonal library of Basel-Stadt and is open to the public.  The library fosters dialogue through its numerous temporary exhibitions, events and presentations.

First attested in 1471, the University Library is the oldest secular library in Switzerland. As a memory institution, it carefully preserves its important historical collections, which date back to the 8th century, and thanks to a comprehensive digitisation programme, is making an increasing number of items available online. In its role as mediator between academia and society, the library offers various stakeholders an all-round learning and meeting environment.

Read more about the history of the University Library and its historical holdings.

Our vision

We connect people and knowledge!

  • We are the most important public information centre and thus the central meeting point for academia and society in the region.  
  • We are committed to ensuring access to the knowledge of yesterday for all and to promoting the ideas of tomorrow.
  • With our services, we support quality and creativity and are indispensable partners for teaching and research at the University of Basel.

Our mission

  • We are the public library of the University of Basel and of the canton of Basel-Stadt. We provide information, ensure easy access and promote the optimal handling of information.  
  • As a memory institution, we carry out the task of preserving our nationally and internationally renowned collections and making them usable.
  • We provide learning and research environments that promote encounters, the exchange of ideas and collaboration between students, researchers and information specialists across subject boundaries.
  • We base our actions towards stakeholders and employees on the values of reliability, respect, openness, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability.
  • We use our specialist knowledge and skills in cooperation with units within the university, other libraries and partners in and outside Switzerland, to provide first-class and innovative services.
  • We promote independent work by our employees through clear tasks, competencies and responsibilities.
  • For our employees, we are an attractive employer that promotes the training of young library staff and the further education of employees.

The University Library Basel is an academic information centre for the university and the region, as well as the cantonal library of the canton of Basel-Stadt. It is part of the national and international information network.

  • As the central library of the university, the University Library collects academic literature in all subject areas. Non-academic literature is only included to the extent to which there is an academic interest in it.
  • In its function as a cantonal library, the University Library collects Basiliensia in the sense of a non-legal deposit, provided there is an academic or local historical interest in them.
  • In addition, the University Library, which was mentioned for the first time in 1471, holds an extensive historical collection of manuscripts, early prints, music, maps and portraits.

The University Library’s holdings are supplemented by the libraries of the university’s institutes, a number of special libraries (see List of libraries in the Basel Library Network) and the Allgemeinen Bibliotheken der GGG.

For the specific foci of the collection of individual subject areas, click here!