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Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Edinburgh Announce Library Collaboration.

Memorandum of Understanding sets out initial ideas for a closer collaboration between both university libraries

№ 161/2020 from Sep 17, 2020

On 17. 09.2020 the Vice Presidents and Library Directors of the University of Edinburgh and Freie Universität Berlin signed a Memorandum of Understanding which sets out initial ideas for a closer collaboration between both university libraries in order to share knowledge and professional experience, both good and bad, and to encourage best practice for the benefit of both libraries and their communities.

Librarians Jeremy Upton (UoE) and Andreas Brandtner (FUB) stressed the importance of making university libraries part of international relations and the benefits of strategic partnerships for fostering staff exchange on all levels especially in times of disruption and crisis.

With a focus on new and innovative library services, professional development and organisational change , the MoU introduces ideas of collaboration from a series of online events where staff can meet and exchange practical experience and prospective plans on new library services (i.e. the presentation and discoverability of collections in the digital space) or library-faculty co-operation, to short exchange visits (in person or virtual) including language learning opportunities, and annual visits of members of each library’s senior management team for a “light-touch review of the services offered by the hosts, in the manner of a critical friend”.

In order to facilitate the cooperation both partners will appoint a small team which will co-ordinate and organize the activities.

Andreas Brandtner said: “The MoU with our partner Library & University Collections of the University of Edinburgh constitutes the first international strategic partnership of our Library System at Freie Universität Berlin and therefore sets an important milestone for promoting staff exchange and closer international collaboration. We are very much looking forward to the first online event in October and further opportunities of knowledge exchange with our colleagues in Edinburgh to come!

Jeremy Upton said: “The University of Edinburgh is an institution which has throughout its history, nurtured and supported international collaborations and so I am delighted we have this opportunity, through this Memorandum of Understanding, to work with colleagues from the Freie Universität in Berlin. Our existing informal contacts have shown us how much we have in common in terms of priorities and a desire to experiment and explore. I am looking forward to working more closely with the Library at the Freie Universität and reaping the benefits that working with a European partner can bring."

About Library & University Collections:

Library & University Collections (L&UC) is responsible for the University of Edinburgh’s digital and physical collections. We work in partnership to deliver the services that bring our collections to the university community and the wider public. L&UC has an annual turnover of £10m and is supported by 150 staff. It provides over 3.5 million books, 1.4 million e-books and over 185,000 e-journals, along with over 60 kilometres of Special Collections, Museum and Art Collections. 

About The Library System of Freie Universität Berlin:

The Library System of Freie Universität Berlin comprises the University Library (UB), 15 department libraries, the University Archive and the Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS) with a total of about 400 staff.

While the University Library together with 15 department libraries provides 8,5 million books, 730.000 e-books and over 80.000 e-journals along with 2.000 academic databases and caters for the information services needs of its faculties and students, CeDiS provides services (software, consulting, training) and innovative approaches in the area of digital teaching and learning. Additionally, it supports faculty and researchers in the context of digital research and publishing by operating virtual research environments and e-publishing plat-forms, and by acting as digital partner in research projects.

Further Information


Dr. Andreas Brandtner, Email: Brandtner@ub.fu-berlin.de