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University Library Zurich (UBZH)

Project At Starting Gates

The Board of the University has approved the “University Library Development” project. Preparations to bring together the UZH libraries can now begin.
Marita Fuchs


The university’s libraries are of great importance to students, researchers and members of the teaching staff, and a daily place of work for librarians and other staff members


The Executive Board of the University has been looking into the idea of bringing all the university libraries under one organizational umbrella – the University Library Zurich (UBZH) – since 2017. The project team “UZH Library of the Future” drew up a draft proposal establishing what services a new university library might provide, what form its organization could take, and what building or room changes would be needed by 2036.

This concept was then opened up for across-the-board consultation. On the basis of the results, the Executive Board of the University decided in May 2019 to create a single university-wide library, and set out the project’s aims and context. The core team thereupon wrote a project application through a collaborative process of workshops involving students, researchers and library staff. The steering committee and the Executive Board of the University signed off on the project application in the fall. Yesterday the Board of the University also gave its approval. The project will therefore now start under the new title “University Library Development Zurich”.


The key points regarding the project are given below:

Aim: The aim of the project is to create the conditions needed to establish a university-wide library. The University Library Zurich (UBZH) will bring the subject-related library collections under one strategic and organizational roof, taking into account the needs of the different disciplines and subjects.

First steps: The library needs of different faculties and disciplines and of students and researchers will be assessed. In this regard, the following questions need to be clarified in collaboration with staff and users:

  • How can the management of the UBZH by a library board be ensured and how should the board be composed?
  • What form should the cooperation with the Zentralbibliothek Zürich (ZB) take?
  • What products and services should the future UBZH offer?
  • What form should the specific organizational structure and human resource planning take?

Setting up operations: The preparation and implementation of operations will form the concluding phase of the project. The UBZH is expected to be operational by January 2022.


Various parameters of the future university library are already set:

  • Strategic leadership: A library board will serve as a strategic steering committee at the interface between the faculties and the university bodies on one side and the university library on the other side. The board will also have the important task of ensuring the various interests of the faculties and university bodies are taken into account in library planning.
  • Management: Operationally, the university library will be run by one management team to which all employees in the library system will report.
  • Budget: Budget distribution and necessary innovation projects will be discussed by the library board. The budget for the university library will be allocated by the Executive Board in the university’s annual development and financial plan. The budget of the UBZH will largely consist of the current budget of the existing university libraries.


Some views of university members on the decision

Weiterführende Informationen

Further information