The university library over time

The university library over time

How has the University Library of Basel changed over the last 50 years and what might it look like in 2072? Dr Alice Keller, director of the Basel University Library, is working with her team on a new strategy. She talks about what she takes with her from the past and how she would like to shape the future of the library on the Beast blog and on January 26 at a themed evening at UB.

With approximately 7.5 million books, e-books, scholarly databases and journals, the University Library of Basel is one of the largest academic libraries in Switzerland. What’s more, it is the oldest secular library in our country. It was first documented in 1471. Its existence dates back to the 8th century. Thanks to this, it has already undergone many changes and will continue to do so in the future, through topics such as digital transformation, the availability of knowledge or the preservation of cultural heritage.

vision for the future

The University Library in Basel has existed for an incredible 551 years. It is hard to imagine how it will develop for the next 551 years, i.e. until the year 2573. For the somewhat nearer future, Dr. Alice Keller, director of the UB, already has a clear vision: “Especially in the age of information overload and fake news, in communication between science, politics and society and in overcoming digital challenges, libraries can and should play an important intermediary role. take the role.”

Strategy for the university library

The director of the University Library in Basel graduated as an academic librarian in 1993/4, but today she is in demand primarily as a manager. He is currently working intensively on the strategic planning of the University Library for the years 2022-2025. This strategy sets out five priorities: helping to shape the digital transformation, making knowledge accessible and usable, preserving and maintaining cultural heritage, strengthening networks and cooperation, and being present and anchored in the Basel region.

A view of construction work during the construction of the new UB building in 1963 | Image: Basel University Library

In particular, the coronavirus pandemic showed how important the digital supply of information is, and in this respect it meant a big leap forward for the University Library in Basel as well. But it was also evident how important the University Library is as a place for students to work and meet. The public also depends on open libraries. This was evident from the tension on the postal media. Alice Keller and her team try to recognize the needs of the company in their strategy and meet them as best as possible.

Fortunately, the question of whether libraries are still needed at all no longer arises after it was widely debated in the 1990s. But what does the library of the future look like – at least in the next 50 years? Do you have specific visions or wishes? On January 26th, Alice Keller looks back and forward with stakeholders and invites everyone involved to share their ideas with her.

Event information

UB Basel: back and forward to the future

January 26, 2022, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m

The event takes place in a hybrid form. Participants who would like to be present must register at Log in. No Zoom registration is required for participants.

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Anya Iseli

“We should not read the words, but the people we feel behind the words” – once said Samuel Butler. Anja cannot judge whether this is actually true, but she would confirm the content exactly as it is. In addition to her enthusiasm for all things related to languages ​​and communication, her field of study, she is passionate about brunch, loves cozy cafes and is afraid of getting stuck with her bike on the tram tracks.

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