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Leiden University Library Opens in the Netherlands (1587) Options
Daemon
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Leiden University Library Opens in the Netherlands (1587)

The city of Leiden played a prominent role in the revolt that would create an independent Dutch nation. In 1575—a year after Leiden had survived a siege by the Spanish—Prince William the Silent founded a university in the city. Today, Leiden University is the oldest in the Netherlands. Its library, once housed in a single room, is now home to a monumental collection of books, manuscripts, maps, and letters—some of which are centuries old and very rare. What was the library's first book? More...
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Leiden University Library Opens in the Netherlands (1587)
The city of Leiden played a prominent role in the revolt that would create an independent Dutch nation. In 1575—a year after Leiden had survived a siege by the Spanish—Prince William the Silent founded a university in the city. Today, Leiden University is the oldest in the Netherlands. Its library, once housed in a single room, is now home to a monumental collection of books, manuscripts, maps, and letters—some of which are centuries old and very rare.
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Leiden University Library
Leiden University Library
Leiden University Library
Leiden 1610.jpg
Library in 1610 (print by Woudanus)
Country The Netherlands
Type Academic library
Established 1575
Location Leiden
Branches 5
Collection
Size 4,200,000 volumes, 1,000,000 e-books, 20,000 current serials, 40,000 e-journals, 60,000 Oriental and Western manuscripts, 500,000 letters, 70,000 maps, 100,000 prints, 12,000 drawings and 120,000 photographs
Other information
Director Kurt De Belder
Website http://www.library.leiden.edu/

Leiden University Library is a library founded in 1575 in Leiden, Netherlands. It is regarded as a significant place in the development of European culture: it is a part of a small number of cultural centres that gave direction to the development and spread of knowledge during the Enlightenment. This was due particularly to the simultaneous presence of a unique collection of exceptional sources and scholars.[1]

Holdings include approximately 4,200,000 volumes, 1,000,000 e-books, 20,000 current serials, 40,000 e-journals, 60,000 Oriental and Western manuscripts, 500,000 letters, 70,000 maps, 100,000 prints, 12,000 drawings and 120,000 photographs.

"Est hic magna commoditas bibliothecae ut studiosi possint studere"

—Josephus Justus Scaliger

"The greatest advantage of the library is that those who want to study, can study."

History
William I, Prince of Orange, main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish, founder of Leiden University, donated the first book to the library, a copy of the Polyglot Bible. Copy of a painting by Antonio Moro, dating from 1555.
Nomenclator autorum omnium, quorum libri vel manuscripti, vel typis expressi exstant in Bibliotheca Academiae Lugduno-Batavae (List of all authors whose books, whether manuscript or printed, are available in Leiden University Library), 1595.

The 16th-century Dutch Revolt against the Habsburgs created a new country with a new religion. Soon, the need for a seat of higher learning was felt and in 1575 Leiden University was founded with the spoils from a confiscated Catholic monastery nearby.

At the time the university was founded, it was immediately determined that a library in the vicinity of lecture halls was an absolute necessity. The library's first book was the Polyglot Bible, printed by Christoffel Plantijn, a gift of William of Orange to the library in 1575. The presentation of this book is regarded as the base on which the library is built (fundamentum locans futurae aliquando bibliothecae). The library became operational in the vault of the current Academy building at Rapenburg on 31 October 1587.

In 1595 the Nomenclator appeared, the first catalogue of Leiden University Library as well as the first printed catalogue of an institutional library in the world. The publication of the catalogue coincided with the opening of the new library on the upper floor of the Faliede Bagijnkerk (now Rapenburg 70) next to the Theatrum Anatomicum.

In 1864 the copy for the complete alphabetical catalogue of the library in Leiden from 1575 to 1860 was finished; it was never to appear in print. Readers were able to consult alphabetical and systematic registers of the Leiden library in the form of bound catalogue cards, known as Leidse boekjes. This remained the cataloguing system for the library until 1988.

The 22nd Librarian of Leiden University, Johan Remmes de Groot took the initiative for the Dutch library automation endeavor PICA (Project Integrated Catalogue Automation). Pica was started up in 1969 and was bought by OCLC in 2000. The first automation project in Leiden started in 1976, produced 400,000 titles via the Dutch PICA-GGC and resulted within a few years in a catalog on microfiche, which partly replaced the famous Leiden booklets catalogue.

In 1983 the library moved to its present location on Witte Singel in a new building by architect Bart van Kasteel. The first online catalogue became available in 1988.

According to Nicholas A. Basbanes, Leiden University Library represents "an essential benchmark [...] not only for the teeming collection of extraordinary materials it has scrupulously gathered and maintained over a sustained period of time, but most of all for being the world's first scholarly library in a truly modern sense. The litany of 'firsts' recorded at Leiden is dazzling - the first printed catalogue to be prepared by an institution of its holdings, the first attempt to identify and maintain what today are known as 'special collections,' the first systematic attempt to develop a corps of influential friends, patrons, and benefactors throughout the world, the first 'universal' library, the list goes on and on - and underpinning it all is a humanistic approach to education and discovery that has figured prominently throughout its history, along with an unbending belief in the limitless potential of human inquiry."

with my pleasure
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