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A summary of the main events in the history of the University Library.

Ingolstadt (1473 - 1800)

In 1472 Duke Ludwig the Rich founded the first university in the land of Bavaria, the "High School" in Ingolstadt. A year later the University Library was born: the so-called Artistenfakultät (Faculty of Arts) began building a book collection. However the Jesuits appointed to the University made considerable inroads into the collections of the Faculty of Arts in order to expand their own library. The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Martin Eisengrein, therefore decided to found a new University Library. He appealed to contemporary scholars for donations for the library.

Soon it was established as a universal library of the humanities.

In 1589 the Library's collections were united with the remaining holdings of the Faculty of Arts. When the Order of the Jesuits was dissolved by the Pope in 1773, the Jesuit Library in Ingolstadt was transferred to the University Library. In 1776 the libraries of four seminaries and the library of the Medical Faculty, founded in 1720, were also integrated into the University Library.

Landshut (1800 - 1825)

In the year 1800 the Elector Maximilian IV Joseph (later to become King Maximilian 1st of Bavaria) relocated the University and its Library with almost 50,000 volumes from Ingolstadt to Landshut. An event of the utmost importance for the Library took place during this time: as a result of secularisation in 1803 the Library was able to double the size of its collections. Following the dissolution of the monastery libraries around 57,000 printed works and 400 manuscripts found their way to the University Library.

Munich (since 1826)

Not long after this the University was relocated once more. King Ludwig 1st transferred it from Landshut to Munich in 1826. In 1840 the Library moved into the newly erected University building on Ludwigstraße.

Increasing numbers of users and rapidly expanding holdings led to the erection of two further library buildings at the beginning of the 20th century. By 1925 the University Library of the LMU was already reckoned to be the largest university library in Germany, with holdings of around 830,000 volumes.

During the 2nd World War around 350,000 volumes, or about a third of the collections, fell prey to bomb attacks. A large part of the Library premises and catalogues were also destroyed. However, the most valuable works had been brought to safety in good time.

The return of the collections took until 1959. There was no significant improvement in the spatial constriction of the University Library until 1967, when a new three-storey building was constructed behind a historic façade on Ludwigstraße.

The first Subject Library to be established at the LMU was the Fachbibliothek Psychologie und Pädagogik in 1985. A further 13 Subject Libraries have followed to date, all of which have been integrated into the human resources and organisational structures of the University Library. Together with the Zentralbibliothek (Main Library) on Ludwigstraße and the Zentrale Lehrbuchsammlung (Central Textbook Collection) they formed the core of the University Library for a long time.

With its holdings of around 5 million media the Library is one of the largest university libraries in Germany. It has been transformed from a mere collections of books into a modern information services centre for scholarship, research and teaching.