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uni'alumni 2016

Experiences with Four Libraries SURVEY The Freiburg University Library (UB) has been located in four different buildings in the past decades: Collegiate Building IV, the first UB on Rotteckring, the interim library in the former municipal concert hall, and the newly opened UB. What did students think about these libraries? Tanja Knapp asked around. Dr. Reiner Fuest, Central University Administration, Head of the Department of Knowledge Management: “Ah, the good old UB on Rotteckring had a lot going for it. When I started studying, a new world opened up before me with all those books, and those gloomy halls fit right in with the multitude of impressions I had and my initial lack of orientation. When retrieving a book in the open stacks, I found a lot of other interesting books illuminating completely different topics to the left and right of the one I had actually looked up. The catacomb-like computer labs had a certain appeal too. And now we have a new UB. I was there on opening day when the building was ‘stormed.’ It was fascinating to see how the new UB filled up with life within a half an hour. The first students sat at the tables or in the armchairs, and it looked like that was how it always had been. I only went to the interim library in the former municipal concert hall very rarely in the past few years. Now I’m looking forward to the new discoveries I can make 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” Dr. Michael Wehner, Baden-Württemberg State Center for Political Education, head of the Freiburg branch office: “The new UB is stylish and modern, and its location and architectural aesthetics are in line with the importance of this world of knowledge. On the inside, I find it still looks too much like a concrete bunker. However, the islands make it a more inviting place to stay and study than the old building was. To tell you the truth, I never stuck around to work in the old UB on Rotteckring. I always checked out my books quickly, searched for journals, copied the articles I needed, and got out of there. The building was any- thing but inviting. I do have fond memories of the nice man at the circulation desk. He was an institution and always had a smile and a friendly word for you. And looking back, the fact that you had to fill out an interlibrary loan request and wait three days to get the book you needed really does seem like something out of another century.” Prof. Dr. Renate Zoepffel, professor emeritus at the Department of Ancient History: “When I arrived in Freiburg in 1964, the neo-Gothic building of the UB – today Collegiate Building IV – struck me as very strange, as if it were from another world. On the inside, the large reading room with long rows of tables was well lit thanks to the glass roof, but the atmosphere there put me to sleep in a short time, so I started avoiding it fairly quickly. When the first new UB was built, people complained again, and after a time I didn’t like the exposed concrete facade anymore either. I mostly used the cheerless, usually windowless, seminar rooms – where it was virtually impossible to be distracted. The bridge over Rotteckring to the UB was convenient for getting to Milchstraße, the street I lived on. I like the current building: I really like the elegant form and the many reflections, and as for the inside, I think it was a good idea to dedicate so much space to group workspaces.” Photo: private Photo: private Nadja Wössner, History and German Studies major: “I never got to know the old UB building in the city center. When I arrived in Freiburg to study, the books had already been moved to the former municipal concert hall due to the renovations. It was inconvenient to go all the way out to Waldsee just to check out a few books. Besides, the interim library hardly had any group workspaces. My generation of students couldn’t wait for the new UB to open up, and now I find it much more practical to get things done at the UB. The techni- cal facilities and the division of space are well thought out; there’s no comparison to the interim library on this point. And although the municipal concert hall also had its charms and served the students well, it’s hard for us students to imagine daily life without the new UB even a short time after its opening.” Photo: private Photo: Sandra Meyndt Cover Story uni'alumni 2016 13 Cover Story uni'alumni 201613