The University Library

The University Library has many branch libraries, such as the church law library which is a quiet place to study. (Image: FAU/Christoph Ackermann)
The University Library has many branch libraries, such as the church law library which is a quiet place to study. (Image: FAU/Christoph Ackermann)

Specialist literature is an essential resource for any student. Knowing how to make the most of the University Library (UB) will help you get ahead in your studies.

You’ve already been given your FAUcard which functions as a library card. Before you can borrow your first book you need to activate your library user account at Your user number is on the back of your FAUcard under the barcode. One working day after activating your account you can start using the University Library.

An introduction

Seemingly endless rows of shelves hold the University Library’s books – around five and a half million of them. To make sure you know how to find what you’re looking for, you should take part in an introduction to using the library (German) – either in the Main Library at Schuhstraße in Erlangen, the Science and Technology Branch Library on the Southern Campus, or the Economics and Social Sciences Branch Library or the Education Sciences Branch Library in Nuremberg. This one-hour session will introduce you to the secrets of the UB. You will learn how to find the books quickly in the catalogue, what the different signatures mean, which books you can borrow or read online – everything you need to know for your studies. If you don’t want to visit the library in person you can find information on using the library on the learning platform StudOn.

How to find a book

You’ll find many of the books you’ll need as a new student in textbook collections. These are available in the three main branches, as well as in institute libraries. They contain several copies of textbooks and basic literature for a particular subject and are freely accessible. You can take a book directly from the shelf and borrow it immediately. If your fellow students got there before you, you can also find a copy of the latest edition of each book in the reading room of the respective library.

However, a large proportion of the UB’s stock is stored in closed stacks and cannot be collected from the shelves by users. You can order these books and journals via the online catalogue OPACplus in one click: simply enter your user number and password. You will receive an e-mail as soon as the book is ready for you to collect.

Studying at home

You can borrow books for up to four weeks. If that’s not enough, you can renew them twice via the catalogue. To be on the safe side, the library will send you an e-mail reminding you of the date your books are due back.

However, not all books in the UB are available to borrow and take home. Only books from the Main Library, the three branch libraries and some of the institute libraries can be borrowed. All other books can only be borrowed over night or over the weekend – or not at all.

If the UB doesn’t have a book that you need, you can request an interlibrary loan from another German library. This means you have free access to a few more million books for you studies. You can read the UB’s many e-books and e-journals at any time and almost anywhere. To access them from outside the University you must set up a VPN on your computer.

Space to learn

In addition to providing books for you to borrow, the UB is also the ideal location to study. If you need to meet other students to do group work, you can find a room using the Library Study Rooms Navigator at (German). When you have written assignments to do you may want to make use of the document delivery service FAUdok which allows you to have journal articles sent directly to your desk.

And because the range of media and services on offer is so huge and can be confusing for new students in particular, the UB has an online information service on its website. Just click on ‘ask a librarian’ and you’ll receive the answers to all of your questions about using the library in no time.

In summary, the UB is a huge source of knowledge. If you know how to use it, your studies will benefit greatly because, as most students quickly realise, it’s impossible to buy all of the books that you need.

More information for new students

frisch! – 2016 issue

The latest issue of frisch! explains almost everything that you need to know as a new student at the University, such as which services are available to help make sure you get off to a good start and how to find accommodation.

download frisch! in pdf format

Addition information