Collection Profile of University Library Greifswald

Lehrbuchsammlung in der Bereichsbibliothek

The University of Greifswald´s library system encompasses in total approximately 3.2 million books, periodicals, databases and electronic full texts for online access.

With this offer the University Library provides the entire academic information for approximately 10,000 students and 2,080 academic university members as well as the general public in the region.
As a universal library of the university it is a general academic library encompassing the entire range of all disciplines. However, fields of study not offered at the university (such as civil engineering, veterinary medicine or Arabic studies) are not represented to the same extent.

A search through the entire collection can be carried out electronically.

Search in the collections of the University Library

Emphasis on Northern Europe

From 1998 to 2014 Greifswald University Library administered the special collection area 'Baltic Countries' of the German Research Foundation (DFG) by ensuring that literature from and about Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was continuously collected and indexed as comprehensively as possible pursuant to a dedicated special profile.

For a comprehensive overview of the literature for this subject the online service 'Virtual Library of Northern European Studies - vifanord' can be used. Although the special collection area 'Baltic Countries' was discontinued in 2015, the collections are still available.

Special Collections, historical prints

An extensive historical collection resulting from a collection history of the library spanning over 400 years is administered and utilised: approx. 110,000 printed volumes from the beginnings of book printing till the year 1850, 1,600 manuscript codices and bundles, including over 50 medieval manuscripts, and over 6,000 letters and autographs.

Particularly noteworthy are the multitude of valuable Swedish and Finnish prints resulting from the over 180-year period in which Greifswald belonged to Sweden (1648-1815), especially as the University Library of Greifswald even held the right to the legal deposit of all prints of the Swedish Empire for some time.

The wide-ranging acquisition of literature on Northern Europe and the Baltic area was also continued during the GDR era and has been significantly expanded today where it serves as a pillar for the core emphases of the University.

The historical prints include 313 incunabula (earliest prints from before 1500), almost 5,000 historical prints dating from the 16th century, nearly 16,000 from the 17th century and 25,000 from the 18th century. The historical collections up to 1850 are already listed in full in the catalogue database, OPAC. The historical collection is indexed in a group system (subject catalogue), in which all literature up until the year of acquisition 1959 has been listed. This subject catalogue is available on the Internet in digitised form.

Approx. 20,000 volumes are missing from the collections evacuated during the Second World War. At least a part of these can be found in the University Library of Torun. They include the Low German Department (1942: 14,300 volumes) and the library of the Greifswald Professor for Metaphysics and Logic Peter Ahlwardt (1710-1791) (over 3000 volumes) as well as the collection of works of Ernst Moritz Arndt, numerous copper works and maps.


The Pomerancia have a special place in the collection, which includes the literature from and about Pomerania and the Federal State of Western Pomerania. In its archiving function the University Library sees itself as the regional library for Pomerania. Pomeranica are acquired and made available in full if possible. The later Pomeranica (after 1850) are brought together in a special collection in the Old Library and the Departmental Library, while the earliest Pomeranica are kept within the collection of historical prints. The famous collection of personal writings Vitae Pomeranorum encompasses approx. 9,000 smaller prints from the 17th to the 19th century.
Altogether the special collection Pomeranica includes approx. 35,000 volumes (excluding newspapers).

Other Special Collections

The library also has several other special collections, the majority of which were created before 1945. The most important of these is the "Wolgast Library" with 554 remaining volumes from secularised monasteries in the surrounding region, which includes a rare printed bible from approx. 1460, the "B-36" from the Gutenberg age. An Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Collection was also created as well as a collection with editions of the works of the Swedish writer and scholar Thomas Thorild (Thorén). The collection of old newspapers up to the year 1945 includes over 470 titles. And finally the thesis collection consists of 65,000 titles published before 1900. The special collections also include numerous school and university writings as well as several bequests.

The historical book collections of the University Library are described in great detail in the Handbuch der historischen Buchbestände (Handbook of Historical Book Collections), Volume 16: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern/Brandenburg (1996).

Central University Library

Berthold-Beitz-Platz Campus

Felix-Hausdorff-Straße 10
17489 Greifswald
Tel.: +49 3834 420 1515